The Wall Street Journal says Rochester has “reinvented itself.” The paper asks why the unemployment rate isn’t higher, given the enormous number of jobs shed by Kodak and other major employers. The answer? Entrepreneurship.
Many of the people laid off by the large companies in Rochester are highly trained engineers who have started their own companies and live in the upscale neighborhoods of Pittsford, Penfield and Brighton. Some have left the engineering world behind as they made the transition from company man to entrepreneur.
But the article also notes wages have declined and unskilled workers are worse off.
Reuters contrasts thriving Eastman Chemical and struggling Kodak. Eastman Chemical doesn’t spend lavishly on benefits and CEO perks and managed to keep up with the changing industry.
Interviews with former executives, retirees and analysts describe two companies that were polar opposites in many ways, despite their shared heritage: where Eastman Chemical was swift to move into new markets, Kodak rested on its laurels for too long; where Chemical had a management team obsessed with the bottom line, Kodak retained cushy employee benefits even when the advent of digital cameras caused film demand to crater.
“George Eastman’s legacy will be Eastman Chemical and not Eastman Kodak,” said Willy Shih, a Harvard Business School professor who ran Kodak’s digital imaging business from 1997 until 2005. “I am absolutely convinced of that.”
Fox News reports film projectors will be out of use in theaters within the next four years. How will that affect Kodak, which still makes a lot of film for the movie industry?
Is Kodak, the company that single-handedly pioneered much of the film industry getting involved in the rush? Not so much, the company said.
Kodak recently told Variety that its film business was still profitable and quite viable.
“We’re still making billions of feet of film and will continue to do so,” Ingrid Goodyear, vice president of marketing said. “For the foreseeable future we still see film to be an important part of Kodak’s business.”