Polaroid is the old Digital

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to take instant photos, you’d have to use Polaroid. That clunky camera with instant film was awesome, if you just had to have your photo right now. With a regular camera, pictures were of higher quality, but it took for ever. During the past decade, digital cameras completely took over the market, leaving both film and Polaroid cameras in the dust. It happened, because digital cameras provided us with a good compromise between quality and time.

Polaroid had this market niche. They should have been ecstatic. Their niche was becoming mass market. Here’s somewhat outdated usage statistics I’ve found. What a terrific opportunity! Polaroid should have been first in line to mass produce these babies.

Polaroid wasn’t the only one holding back on innovation. Kodak tried to save  its film business from the perils of digital. Too late, it declared that it too is moving forward:

You don’t have to be a dying dinosaur

Amazon started out in the business of selling books. It has built an infrastructure to make shipment fast and easy, much better than the competition. The Kindle fits nicely in the core competences of Amazon, as it is the fastest and easiest delivery mechanism for books. Amazon did not worry about a future where people didn’t buy paper books. It embraced it.

Newspapers are in the business of spreading news (as misleading as their name is). How could they deliver news faster and easier? If you sum the amount of money spent each day on producing and hauling paper around the country, you’d reach the conclusion that it is cheaper for newspapers to send you a Kindle for free, and then charge you for the news each day.

The music industry has tried to sue away the new facts of life, but failed. CD sales diminished. However, the music market is rich and vibrant. Digital sales and live show fees have gone up, up, up, matching quite well the reduction in traditional sales. If  the big label companies had embraced the change, instead of going against the consumers, they could have the money Apple is now making on iTunes.

How can you take advantage of your market’s tomorrow? Because once you are out, you become nothing but a fond memory. A Kodak moment. A scene from our past: