Thinking With The Cork Out

Also known as the science of Ethanolics. I suspect that many of the business decisions that have shaped photography have been in the hands of people skilled in this.

Take the business of Kodak. No, really…take it. It is out there on the curb waiting for the council truck to come by. It used to be the biggest photographic concern in the world. Products, processes, scientific developments, retail empire…the whole thing. Now it is embarrassment in a yellow box. Who decided to do this? Who was in command of the firm? Who piloted the ship of commerce onto the rocks? Was it an accident? Was it deliberate? Were aliens or the illuminati involved? If it was the illuminati, were they illuminated by tungsten or halogen lighting? Can we blame Obama or Trump? Can they blame us? How come we have rarely seen Obama and Trump together in one place…are they the same person? Will this come as somewhat of a surprise to Michelle and Ivanka?

Okay, moving away from political bad decisions back to commercial bad decisions, let us look at the Agfa and Gaevert firms. If we can find them. No? We can’t find them? They shut up shop faster than Kodak and vanished in a puff of EEC smoke? Did their managing directors make it to Aruba ahead of Interpol or the hit-men from Credit Suisse? We’ll never know.

Closer to home and nearer to the present, think of the decisions taken by several of the Japanese camera makers in the digital era. Nikon decided to make a mirror-less camera system with a tiny sensor and an enormous advertising budget. And then they decided, when they found that they had made an embarrassing mistake, to issue a promise of a decent-sized sensor in a new mirror-less system. And then they decided to quietly kill it off and tell us that the DL line had died in the womb. The Japanese word for ” business decision”  may well be close to their word for ” lurch”.

Do sake bottles have corks?

Canon is no better. The school of Same – Same is a powerful one, and wields a widespread influence in the Canon boardroom. Buyers can barely tell one camera make from another in the broader marketplace and when they come to the Canon catalogue it looks very much like the pages are stuck together. What they are stuck with is anyone’s guess. I have been able to successfully differentiate a 1967 Canon Pellix from an 2017 1-Dx or S or some other letter, Mark whatever , with another letter at the end by dint of careful study…but I am an enthusiast and that means I am not going to buy it.

Neither, I suspect, will anyone else…

Ethanolics. The science of staking the whole future of an industry on ideas thought up in a Ginza bar at 4:00 AM…

Disclaimer: Most of this post was typed around a large mint julep.


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