The history of innovation is littered with brands that had it all, and lost it all. Sadly, Polaroid has just become one of the victims. The iconic instant photography brand announced this week that is was shutting down film production, bringing to an end the era of Polaroid photos.
So what went wrong? In short, Polaroid backed the wrong innovation pony. In the late 1970s, sensing that some kind of seismic shift was coming, it invested heavily in Polavision, an instant movie camera system. Not only was the product a complete turkey, Polaroid missed the real market shift: digital. In 2001, Polaroid filed for Chapter 11 and in 2005 was bought by a private investment firm. The brand isn’t completely defunct – it will now focus on producing flat-panel TVs and digital photography gear – but its time as an innovator is. Expect a buying and selling frenzy of dead stock on eBay – we’ll be there.