Archive for January, 2012
Alistair Crane is 25-years-old and co-founder of startup Grapple Mobile, which builds custom mobile apps for big companies. He’s living proof that startups don’t need VC money.
He and his co-founder, Jamie True, said no to a $10 million offer to seed Grapple in the early days, a mere two years ago.
“We framed the offer letter from the bidder and it sits in one of our toilets in our U.K. headquarters,” he laughs.
Crane and True wanted to live poor. They wanted to watch their pennies. They wanted to construct a business that had to be profitable. Most of all, they didn’t want to have to give their profits to an outsider and have that guy telling them what to do.
We all had them: times you reached for a camera to stop life for a second, to grab a memory. For decades, Kodak was the rock solid standard in photography and as the 131-year old company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, “Kodak moments” may be all that’s left of what was once one of the most powerful companies in the world. Kodak can’t compete let alone survive in this new world. The only thing keeping them alive is a trove of 11,000 patents, and even those don’t seem to be piquing anyone’s interest.
From household name to also-ran in a few years. This isn’t a story of a stubborn buggy-whip manufacturer going out of business for refusing to change. This is a carriage maker making a seemingly successful transition to the automobile and then, just as quickly, failing catastrophically.
So what happened?
2012 has not gotten off to a great start for Eastman Kodak. Three of the company’s directors quit near the end of last year, and word recently emerged that the company was on the brink of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The easy narrative is that Kodak is a classic case of a company blind to the disruptive changes in its marketplace. Like many easy narratives, this one is not quite right.
In the 20th century, Kodak was truly one of the world’s powerhouses. Its rise to prominence began when it launched its affordable Brownie camera in 1900. In the decades that followed Kodak established a dominant position in the lucrative film business, with its “you push a button, we do the rest” slogan demonstrating its commitment to making photography accessible to the masses.
Of course, being a dominant film provider became increasingly irrelevant in light of recent technological shifts. Today people turn to digital cameras embedded in their mobile phones, share pictures over the Internet, and eschew prints altogether.