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Saturday, 25 April 2015


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I've heard basically the same story about Kodak from several former Kodak engineers, as I live in the Rochester NY region. All of them regretfully told tales of brilliant technology innovations, from electronic imaging to cheap-but-excellent molded glass lenses, with lots of promise, that were quashed by management because they threatened the existing revenue stream and promised to disrupt a cushy think the company had going.

Until others did it for them, and the lumbering colossus finally collapsed.

You met Eli Harary (LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6735322), google the correct spelling and you will find Eli the Mysterious, who does in fact resemble the Dr. Harari from Sandisk.

Re Kodak: It is sad to see a company do what Kodak did, but I've seen it before.

Some decades ago I worked for a lead-acid battery company that essentially invented the market, back in the early days of electricity usage. They had predominant market share. They had comfortable profit margins. And they sat on it, loafing along in a "no one can touch us" attitude while their facilities decayed. They eventually were the subject of a hostile takeover, and like Kodak, exist now mostly as a brand name.

I've heard Revel speakers - they are astonishing AND expensive. But "best" is a description that will just lead to arguments...

+1 on LaGuardia. Every time I have to go through it, I think of "The Worst Toilet In Scotland" scene in "Trainspotting."

Maybe it was Eli Harary?

What if the rest of the story is, they're twins ?

Perhaps the person you met was the Eli Harary mentioned below:
The profile seems to match (40 years in the audio industry), and he does look a bit similar to Eli Harari of Sandisk.

They were smug....and liked the cow they were milking....

Mike, there's a video of him speaking, off Princeton U's site

Fascinating story, BTW.
I actually happen to work 5-10 min from SanDisk :-)

Should have got his SD card, hee hee ...

We are told there are 6 real doubles in the world Mike. You may have met one?
Interesting nevertheless.

From my Google searching...

"Merchandising is key to driving the category and retailers that are able to properly place the speakers around a television and use good source material from either a laser disk, DVD player or VCR will be able to sell the product, said Eli Harari, JBL Consumer Products' senior vice president of marketing."


"Hi Amir, I see you have the setup already with the JBL, yes I would try. I was personally trained by Eli Harari and Floyd Toole when I became Synthesis dealer number 2 for system Phoebe many moons ago. I understand and respect the phillosophy but was not pleased with the screeshing sound I was getting with the first generation system."

I'd guess that was your man of mystery. By the way, Harmon International (Harmon Kardon) bought JBL a while back.

I do believe it was this guy you sat next to:

(google is amazing sometimes!)

+1 for the Indy airport...I hate Indianapolis for so many reasons (now that I'm living here), and it's cultural and sociological attributes are NOT going to make it a future city, but they built a nice airport! Of course, if you're trying to fly out of here instead of just laying over, it's got some of the highest ticket prices I've ever seen! I can get cheaper airfare by driving to St. Louis, Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwaukee, virtually anywhere really...

His name was Eli Harary of AudioXperts. Sounds exactly the same as "Harrari" but spelled differently.

LaGuardia airport is, in fact, one of the worst airports in the country.

Hey Mike, try googling Eli Harary.

"The most telling phrase of that quote: "[Kodak] had everything they needed to displace themselves, but they didn't have the guts to do it, and it was done for them."

Why did Sony not make the iPod, when they had the Walkman? Because they had the Walkman.
Apple realized phones would swollow iPods eventually, so they made sure they themselves were the first to do it. They became the world's richest company partly by being the biggest cannibal.

Re: Kodak ... From the back cover (via Amazon) of The Innovator's Dilemma:

Focusing on “disruptive technology,” Christensen shows why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. Whether in electronics or retailing, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. Using the lessons of successes and failures from leading companies, The Innovator’s Dilemma presents a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.

One of Christianson's strong recommendations is to put a disruptive technology into a new business unit physically separate from the big old cash cow.

Dear Mike,

Well, we are all really vision-impaired individuals trying to divine an excessively large pachyderm, but I'll stick with my old analysis:


(people should note that it was written five years ago, but it's not like the history changes)

Honestly, though, Kodak was such a huge enterprise that I don't think any one individual will have a full and accurate take on their last couple of decades as Ruler of the World. Not even their senior execs and corporate overlords.

pax / Ctein

Your story reminds me of the time a friend and I were perusing the photography section at the Portland Art Museum while waiting for a seminar to begin, and were approached by an elderly gentleman who claimed to have invented digital photography. He showed us a little blurry pixelated picture of his baby son, and claimed it was the first digital photo.

I'm grateful to have been courteous and not dismissive of the man -- self-introduced as Russell Kirsch -- who could have easily been dismissed as a batty old coot. While waiting for the seminar to begin, a bit of Googling showed him to be exactly who he said he was... baby picture and all!


Meiloon is the name of the company. From Eli's public LinkedIn profile "Meiloon Industrial is the worlds leading ODM/OEM of premium audio products."

Okay, so the pilot shared his opinion of the best and worst airports, and the loudspeaker guy shared his opinion of the best loudspeakers... What did you share about cameras?

Eolake's comment about Apple and cannibalism rings true (that they're willing to cannibalize their own product line) today, but it wasn't always so.

I worked at Apple during the earlier period, 1979-85, and cannibalizing their products was a secret terror, probably mostly of marketing. And that panic hurt them more than once. For example, the Apple/// had an Apple][ mode internally. It worked just fine, except that it was crippled intentionally by being limited to 48K of memory. There was no good reason for doing that, in fact it was more complicated to set that limit to the hardware, but whoever dictated it was afraid that if it wasn't limited in function, that sales of the $3K+ Apple/// would cannibalize sales of the $2K Apple][.

They've gotten over the issue.

JBL oem'ed the drivers for Revel, and Harary apparently worked for JBL at one time, so no surprise he was pimping Revel.

Ya know, people like to jump on Kodak. I'm sure there were some folks inside the company dragging their feet, but Kodak was a tech leader and a sales leader in digital photography. At the time Kodak decided that digital photography wasn't their future, they held about the same position in sensors that Sony does today, and their EasyShare cameras were the top-selling brand in the US.

There simply wasn't enough money in digital photography for a company of Kodak's size, and there never was going to be. Kodak was a $14B company. According to CIPA, all of the Japanese digital camera manufacturers put together only shipped $8.1B last year, and in Kodak's market of point-and-shoots, only $3B. Next year's numbers will probably be well below that, especially for point-and-shoots.

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