Founded in 1880, Eastman Kodak Co. was the synonym of photo imaging technology. Kodak products, both the cameras, the films and its processing, were indispensable whenever and wherever people wanted to take pictures. In 1969, American Astronaut Neil Armstrong used Kodak films to transmit the first images of the mankind on the Moon to the Earth. In 1975, it invented the first generation digital camera; however, considering the impact on its film business, Kodak did not want to go further onto digital photographing, a fatal decision that has been plunging its business ever since making the total value of its stocks dropping from the peak US$31.1 billion to US$150 million and the employment shrinking from 70,000 to 6,000, which led to its filing for bankruptcy protection to secure its US$950 million lifeline yesterday. For any line of business, vision plays a vital role in its future development, and the ability to visualize what the business would become tomorrow is the kungfu the decision makers must constantly practice.
Kodak’s painful lesson must be learned by political leaders. On the election last Saturday, DPP failed to retake the regime because it was tied by its anti-China anti-commerce ideology as it tried to please its hard-line supporters. Although KMT won by its mild and peaceful policy toward the relationship with the mainland China, it must tender something more prospective to win the supporters again four years from now. The re-elected President Ma must draw a good picture of the future to show the people he and his party can be trusted. Otherwise, the voters would definitely prefer digital cameras instead of film ones.