The Kodak Story
I apologize for taking a bit too long since my last posting. I have been incredibly busy – as always – and there is a lot I want to share with you. For starters, I’ve just returned from an incredibly rewarding and exciting week at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. Duracell Powermat showcased both our new line of product that will be available this Spring and our upcoming plans to build the Wireless Power Nation ecosystem to an international audience. The reception was extraordinary, with countless numbers of show attendees, press and industry insiders wanting to know where/when they could get their hands on our new line.
In addition, we unveiled our first embeddable solution; The WiCC wireless charging card. WiCC is a wafer-thin card that can be inserted into compatible phones or cases to instantly upgrade for wireless power delivery. It even comes with a bonus for OEMs because it allows them to utilize “real estate” already allocated in their phones for an NFC antenna to combine both NFC and wireless charging in one solution. Basically, it lets the OEM double the efficiency without increasing bottom line costs. How’s that for an offering they can’t refuse?!
One of the most surprising (and yet not so surprising) announcements that I have heard recently is the demise of a 131-year-old institution, Eastman Kodak. An industry giant, Kodak had long ago become synonymous with the notion of capturing those special times in people’s lives (“the Kodak moment”) but, in the end, like many giants it just couldn’t keep up. Despite attempting to implement several turnaround strategies and cost-cutting efforts in recent years, the company eventually became a lumbering relic of its former self and was forced to file for bankruptcy in January. The announcement reminded me of a very simple yet key learning that is sometimes lost on big companies: innovate or die. And it’s not enough to innovate just for the sake of innovation itself. You’ve got to always provide their customers what they want in a way that is user friendly, cost effective, and can reach a large audience.
Ultimately, in business (as in life) it’s easy to ‘go along to get along’ and there are those companies that are fine doing that for a while. But in the end, the most successful and admirable companies are those with both good sense and vision enough to get behind a good idea when they see it coming down the pike and adopt it as their own before anyone else does. Starbucks did it with WiFi by becoming one of the first retail chains to offer free WiFi to their customers and Procter & Gamble (Duracell) recently did it by becoming half of the wireless power team of Duracell Powermat.
While I’ve never been quiet in singing the praises of our new Duracell partners, I am once again reminded of just how rare our great fortune is, to be able to work with them as our partner. Duracell is easily one of the most recognizable and respected brands in the world. They have been well-known and established since the 1920’s and are in no danger of having that change anytime soon. And yet, they have maintained (against the odds) that rare quality that sets them apart from other well established brands. They are not afraid to innovate despite success. They are both grounded and visionary at the same time.