Wie gehts? After three years of German in high school (many years ago) I’m afraid that might be the extent of our conversation in that language. So it’s probably best to continue in English.
First of all, congratulations on your new job. I’m sure you have many exciting and interesting challenges ahead as you move forward in your new position. Kodak is a brand that has touched the lives of people throughout recent history and across the globe. That must be very exciting for you.
I’m writing in response to a recent video and interview with you posted on the +Kodak page of Google+. During the interview you said, “We will continue the film business as long as there’s a profitable market out there. Film is still in demand. We’re happy to provide this … as long as it makes sense for us. And at the moment it makes sense for us.”
The interviewer goes on to say, “Given the trend lines you’ve undoubtedly been looking at, is this a business that has three years? Five years? Ten years? How long does this last?”
“You never know. Maybe next year there’s kind of a retro, how do you say ….”
“That’s a good example. They are coming back right now.”
I agree with you that film is making a comeback. But within the photography community, certainly the professional community, there appears to be a resurgence like no other art/technology/medium has experienced before. Film shooters are a passionate bunch. We believe in the results we get from using your products. What concerns me about your comment above is it indicates that you might be out of touch with your customer. And frankly it worries me that the new head of a company that produces one of the finest film products available perceives its use as some “retro” experience. Film can help shape how and what photographers create. It changes how we look at a subject/scene/experience. Film by its very nature creates an image that is somehow better than real life. (when applied with skill) I was a Grammy-winning audio engineer. While I can fully appreciate the sound quality of a great recording delivered on vinyl, the format had little impact on how I executed a recording (short of making sure the recording could be properly cut during mastering).
I would challenge you to begin a one-on-one dialog with your film customers. Ironically, on the Kodak Google+ page, there is a post saying that you personally were inviting people to the Kodak LinkedIn page to post comments and questions. I was encouraged by this, yet I wonder if anyone at Kodak has noticed that 1) currently all but 2 of the posts are about film and Kodak’s production of it and 2) no one from Kodak is participating in that conversation. Personally, I would like to see Kodak Alaris begin an active conversation with the film community. We are certainly a chatty, opinionated bunch. You will find thousands of people more than happy to tell you how great your products are. That would be encouraging to you, I’m sure. They will also have intelligent, probing questions, that would certainly be useful in continuing to support and develop your film products. And most likely they would challenge you to deliver a concise, proactive message about the company’s plan for film long term.
Other companies would kill for the position that Kodak Alaris is in….a strong client base that is verbal and passionate about their product, virtually no competition, and HUGE brand awareness. Go ahead…I challenge you to task your social media folks with compiling and comparing the numbers on customer interaction between your film, apps, kiosks and other products. I think you will be quite surprised.
Better yet…come out and shoot some film with us. When was the last time you photographed something with Kodak Portra 400? Seriously. There are many very talented photographers who would jump at the chance to share their love of your product by going out and shooting with you. Why not take a film workshop? At the bottom of the article you shared some of your passions… “a motorcyclist, he owns a Harley Davidson and a Triumph and said he has talked with local Kodak Alaris riders about doing a Finger Lakes bike tour later this year.” Photographers organize trips like this all the time…all based around shooting film. Heck…many of us would love to come along with you to document your trip, teach you about film, and to connect with you and Kodak Alaris.
When was that last time, by the way?