Kicking the anthill

No guts, no glory.

When you are a late entrant on a market, you learn from your precursors' mistakes, or at least shake up the existing norms they have instored. You are forced to think different if you want to emerge. Virgin does it every time they launch a new venture, and that is also what Kodak has done when finally entering the home printing industry.

Having "slightly" missed the momentum of the digital photography revolution, the Rochester manufacturer has learnt the hard way that me-too can be a difficult strategy to sustain, so they decided to change the rules. And it all started with this now famous video which was the signal that a wind of change had started blowing: a big American company decided not to be politically correct anymore...

"Wind of change"

Forget the blades

As you might have read in the press (here or here), Kodak has indeed decided to step on HP and Epson toes as they launch their new all-in-one printer, the Kodak EasyShare 5300. If the technology behind it seems to be aligned with the expectations you can have from such a name, the greatest innovation does not lay inside the machine though, but in its business model. The tradition in the home printing was to replicate the famous razor and blade model: an affordable hardware balanced by high-priced supplies... Well, this time, the machine is slightly more expensive than the competition, but you are due to save on the ink which is marketed at a lower price than the competition. Kodak claims that you can save up to 50% on everything you print.

Kodak EasyShare 5300 - www.printertherapy.comThe new Kodak printer with its accessories. More pictures and videos available here

Out of the (soap) box.

Obviously I will let other people the opportunity to comment on the product performances. I am not qualified to do so, and one might consider my opinion as biased. However what interested me in this approach was that what was once seen as a norm could be reconsidered, and by a big player even.

It reminds me the Ford T story. When Ford decided to launch its people's car he changed the paradigm of the car industry, turning an elite vehicle into a mass market product. No philanthropy here, don't get me wrong. The intention was to answer the consumer needs to make a commercial success (i.e. less expensive cars and higher wages, the demand meets the offer). Sounds like a marketing 1.01 lesson, but it was not that obvious at that time.

There are some people who are inspired and make things change. They are philosophers, manufacturers, economists, politicians, scientists, writers, artists and sometimes very common people like you and me. They contribute to political changes, to easier and richer lives, to research breakthrough... Potentially we are all vectors of change, even if we are not necessary propelled by the above-mentioned wind:)

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