I’m not really sure why, but if you want to watch the Fanboys go completely insane, the simplest thing to do it is throw out “your brand is probably going to be out of business in a few years.” But the simple reality is that’s what happens to most companies eventually, especially technology companies. Photography companies, since, oh, about 1850, have basically been technology companies.
I don’t really need anything for Christmas this year. But I would appreciate if you would bring some gifts to my favorite photography manufacturers.
Once upon a time there was an industry largely dominated by two companies. Their domination, over some 30 years, was so nearly complete that they became understandably a bit arrogant. After all, their products were the biggest, the best, and by far the most popular.
Photokina 2012 came to an end in Cologne, Germany today. If you weren’t able to make the show this year and are wondering what the show was like, we’ve collected some photos of the fancy booths set up by major camera makers. Hopefully they can provide you with a glimpse of how the big brands went about showing off their latest and greatest wares.
The photo above shows the gigantic photo globe found between two of the halls. Called “the world’s largest photo globe”, it measures over 19 feet in diameter and was created as a collaboration between companies in the Photographic Industry Association.
Over the past year, Instagram has been the most talked-about photo sharing service and one of the most talked about social networking services. Logically, more and more brands are joining it and trying to figure out ways to reach potential customers through filtered photos.
Social media analytics company SimplyMeasured published an interesting report earlier this week that explores how popular Instagram currently is among the world’s most valuable brands.
Kodak’s fall from grace is an interesting case study that modern day companies can learn from. Even though the world’s first digital camera was invented by one of its engineers, the company was unwilling to cannibalize its film business that, at the time, was making money hand over fist. By the time digital cameras started catching on, Kodak had missed the boat.
If you think about it, there are many parallels between Apple and Polaroid: both companies introduced innovative products that redefined markets in their time, both were founded by college dropouts, and both emphasized design and usability in their products. What you might not know is that it’s not a coincidence. Christopher Bonanos wrote a fascinating article for the New York Times on how Steve Jobs idolized Polaroid founder Edwin Land and modeled his career after Land’s:
The two men met at least twice. John Sculley, the Apple C.E.O. who eventually clashed with Jobs, was there for one meeting, when Jobs made a pilgrimage to Land’s labs in Cambridge, Mass., and wrote in his autobiography that both men described a singular experience: “Dr. Land was saying: ‘I could see what the Polaroid camera should be. It was just as real to me as if it was sitting in front of me, before I had ever built one.’ And Steve said: ‘Yeah, that’s exactly the way I saw the Macintosh.’ He said, If I asked someone who had only used a personal calculator what a Macintosh should be like, they couldn’t have told me. There was no way to do consumer research on it, so I had to go and create it and then show it to people and say, ‘Now what do you think?’”
The worldview he was describing perfectly echoed Land’s: “Market research is what you do when your product isn’t any good.”
Both men were also kicked out of the companies they built, but that’s where the stories differ. Jobs returned to Apple a decade later and his company went on to become the world’s largest tech firm, while Land died a decade later and his company has filed for bankruptcy twice since 2001.
The Man Who Inspired Jobs [New York Times]
Logo designer Graham Smith has a neat project called “Brand Reversions” in which the logo styles of famous companies are swapped with their competitors. Canon and Nikon swap styles in the logos above, while Leica’s famous red dot takes on Panasonic’s Lumix brand name. Check out the rest on Smith’s website.
Brand Reversions (via My Modern Met via Laughing Squid)
Things aren’t going very well for Sigma these days — just days after the world balked at the $9,700 price tag it’s attaching to the upcoming SD1 DSLR, Nikon is announcing that it’s suing Sigma for $150 million over the vibration reduction technology found in Sigma DSLR lenses. Furthermore, it’s demanding that Sigma put a halt to the manufacturing and sale of lenses that infringe on the VR patents, which might be a large number of OS (Optical Stabilization) lenses.
(via Nikon Rumors)
Image credit: Fighting Topis by Stuart Barr
Since we first covered its launch back in October 2010, Instagram has become one of the fastest growing photo-sharing companies and iPhone apps. This week founder Kevin Systrom announced that they now have 4.25 million registered users, and that users are posting 10 photos every second, or around 900,000 photos per day. Not bad for a seven month old service, eh?
(via TechCrunch via Small Aperture)
P.S. Just for comparison’s sake, after 5 years Twitter has over 200 million members that post about 2,000 Tweets per second.