The Eastman Kodak company in its heyday was like the modern day Google. As the chart below shows, its success was thanks to the dominance of film cameras – at one point, Kodak captured 90% of the film and 85% of the camera sales markets in the US. Then, digital cameras entered.
Were digital cameras a surprise to Kodak, then? Absolutely not. The digital camera was invented in 1975 by Steve Sasson – a Kodak engineer. However, when Sasson showed his invention to executives, management squashed the idea. While it is easy to criticize Kodak executives given hindsight, they did the rational thing and protected their highly profitable business line. Kodak, like many companies, was more focused on growing at 10% than by 10x.
While this note could be one about companies learning to disrupt themselves, this idea can be applied just as easily to personal productivity as well. Very often, we focus on 10% improvements over changing the way we approach things – simply because the small change feels easier. If we can’t bring about massive changes to our own habits, how can we point fingers at Kodak?
If Kodak executives had asked what it would take for the world to snap one trillion photos a year, a new understanding would have emerged. Clearly, you wouldn’t get there by selling film. – Ken Norton
Source and thanks to: Ken Norton’s essay – 10x, not 10%