• The Rochesterian in Your Inbox:

    Join 642 other subscribers

Links of the Day:

City of Rochester Communications Burear

– More than a few columnists blamed Rochester for Kodak’s demise. We’re “cloistered” and “sleepy” and lack a culture suited for innovation.

That’s total crap, as our many tech companies – both large and small – indicate.

I had the pleasure of visiting Vuzix today, a firm competing with Google to develop augmented reality glasses. The company is making eyewear that can translate street signs, send a text message, give directions and recognize your friends. It has 40-50 workers, 95 patents and production facilities in Rochester. It sells $30,000 camera-equipped monocles to the military.

Why is Vuzix here? Because Rochester is an optics center. There are really smart people and access to numerous technology resources.

The only downside is access to capital. This is a frequent complaint of our small start-ups. They have the technology, but they struggle to find the money to make the most of it.

Vuzix has hit on a product that may one day be as ubiquitous as the iPhone. Wouldn’t that silence critics of the Flower City?

– Kodak’s employment has fallen below 5,200, reports the Rochester Business Journal. Despite ongoing job cuts, this is surprising, as we were last reporting the number of workers hovers around 7,000.

This moves Kodak out of the top five area employers. As of about six months ago, the top five are now the University of Rochester, Wegmans, Rochester General Hospital, Xerox and the Rochester City School District. Unity Health is next, making Kodak the seventh largest employer.

Kodak released its 2011 earnings report this week, showing a $764 million loss in 2011. Sales in the U.S. of consumer products fell 51 percent, so it’s no wonder the company stopped making cameras. The numbers spelled out a sad tale leading to bankruptcy.

– Kodak has discontinued three films used to make slides. Die-hard film users are not happy, if the comments to Kodak’s Facebook page are any indication.

– A retired city school teacher said Jada Williams’ school missed a teachable moment. In an op-ed, Beth Vercolan questioned why this escalated and what the girl learned:

It might have been more helpful to the situation if the adults who are involved in the fracas had taken the time to think why a white teacher might say she felt offended by what Jada had written, rather than jumping to the conclusion that Jada was being persecuted for her views and making the whole thing a cause celebre. Jada is still a child. She depends on the adults around her to guide her and explain to her the difference between right and wrong. Unfortunately the opportunity of the teachable moment — for all — has been lost, and harm has been done to our progress towards a more racially neutral society.

– Here’s something Rochester can do with its potholes!

3 Responses to It’s Not Us. It’s the Money (or Lack of It)

  1. March 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm Ben C. responds:

    I always had a hard time getting the slide projector to line up square to a wall from the dining room table.

    Also, business slide show hosts never remembered to bring a second projection bulb creating an awful lot of downtime in company.

  2. March 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm Dave Tyler responds:

    Having covered Vuzix for years, its been a really tough slog for them to make it in the consumer market, even though they’ve made some progress. They have to be watching the Google developments with a lot of trepidation.

    • March 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm Rachel responds:

      Excuse the pun, but they clearly had “vision.” They’ve been working on the augmented reality glasses a long time. I hope their partnerships with Nokia and other big players ends up helping.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *