Polaroid – a testimony to bad management

Polaroid – a testimony to bad management

Is there a brand name that is better than Polaroid?

I am sure that there is but not too many.  Coke and Pepsi come to mind.  Mac is probably more popular.  Perhaps Levi’s and Mercedes.  There may be a dozen or two others but to be honest, if someone says Polaroid you instantly know what it is: a camera that takes a picture and spits it out immediately to be enjoyed by you and others.  What a perfect idea for the US where we are known for our lack of patience and need for instant gratification.

Today, multimedia dominates the Internet and the computer industry.  The ability to interact with and use images and movies drives the sale of most computers.  In fact, a recent Apple v. PC discusses the ability of the Mac to manage volumes of digital images.

Mac VS PC Stacks

So how did a company that was synonymous with instant gratification and images fail so miserably?  Below, I have a Wall Street Journal article where the company was just auctioned off for a miserable $53M.  It was only a decade or so ago that this would have been about a week’s worth of sales!

I am sure the business schools of the world have case studies on Polaroid.  At least they should.  It is a testimony to a management that just plain messed up.  I sometimes wonder if some companies actually try to fail since they do it so well and convincingly.  GM would probably fall into this pool of companies!

I feel sorry for everyone that trusted this screwed up management.  I am sure that Mr. Land has been rolling over in his grave so much that his skeleton is likely is ground to dust.  Rest in peace, Mr. Land.  Hopefully the new owners of this icon will do better and preserve your legacy.

Private-equity firm Patriarch Partners LLC bested other bidders in a court auction to buy Polaroid Corp.’s assets out of bankruptcy for $52.7 million in cash and stock.

A Patriarch-controlled holding company will acquire Polaroid’s assets, including the Minnetonka, Minn., company’s intellectual property, name and brand, according to papers filed Thursday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in
Minneapolis.

Patriarch offered $44.9 million in cash and a 12% stake in the newly formed company, which will hold Polaroid’s assets. That proposal topped lead bidder Genii Capital S.A., which offered $42 million for the company that invented instant photography.

“We look forward to reconnecting Polaroid with its history of innovation in photography,” Patriarch Chief Executive Lynn Tilton said in a statement. “We intend to continue rebuilding the brand of this great American company on a worldwide scale.”

Patriarch intends to position Polaroid as the “leading brand in digital instant photography,” and will continue to sell other consumer electronics under the brand name.

A hearing to approve the sale is scheduled for Monday.

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