Not even Jim Garner could save it in the end…
2007 marks the 70th anniversary of Polaroid.
70th anniversary, if they were still in business.
They aren’t. They filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
(See the details of their bankruptcy filing and subsequent reorganization below in the ‘Comments’ section).
Which is too bad, but a great object lesson in the power of technology.
Anyone who is old enough (and that is getting pretty old these days) will remember the absolute magic of seeing an ‘instant’ photograph appear when pulled from the back of a Polaroid Land camera (named for Edwin Land, the company’s founder).
In a time when we all sent our rolls of film off to be processed, and waited days or weeks for the prints to come back, notion of ‘instant photography’ was truly amazing.
Polaroid stock was a hot ticket in the 60s and 70s. Hard to believe now, but the company was once the ‘google’ or its time (or perhaps Yahoo would be closer).
It was a company made by technology.
And as it was made by technology, so it was destroyed by technology as well.
When digital photography first surfaced in the 1980s, Polaroid made a conscious decision to stick to its instant print – chemical – mechanical technology.
It was a mistake that cost the company its life.
From being the dominant powerhouse of instant photography it rapidly became worthless. Not because of anything they did; rather because of what management did not do. They did not embrace new technology – even if that new technology meant overturning everything they knew, and everything that had been the very foundation of Polaroid until then.
It was too unsettling. Too upsetting. Too traumatic.
“Survival belongs not to the strongest or the swiftest, but rather to those who adapt fastest to change” wrote Charles Darwin.
In the world of business, and in the jungle, the competition for survival is ruthless and final.