The Fast Eat the Slow

– Robert Kiyosaki –

In the Information Age, anyone can get wealthy because everyone has access to the same information via the Internet. It’s simply a matter of who can think the most creatively and act most quickly upon the information available to them.

In the Information Age, Industrial Age companies — and those who operate like them — are toast, and entrepreneurs, and those who can think like them, are winners. An example of this concept is Kodak, the company who pioneered personal photography. They are now undergoing bankruptcy.

The definition of insanity

This week, I read in The Wall Street Journal that Kodak “is seeking permission to pay about 300 executives and other employees a total of $13.5 million in bonuses to persuade them to stay with the company as it reorganizes under bankruptcy-law protection.”

Why does Kodak want to reward executives that oversaw the company’s voyage to bankruptcy? “The targeted employees have knowledge and skills critical to help the business emerge from Chapter 11 and would be difficult to replace if they left to pursue other offers.”

As the old saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Only in old-world, Industrial-Age thinking, does a company seek to reward the employees that ran it into the ground in an attempt to retain them to fix the problems they created.

Such thinking betrays a lack of understanding that the world has changed and that Kodak, if it is to survive, must change with it.

Understanding the what but not the why

The reason that Kodak, once the leader in the photography business, is going out of business is not because they are losing talent but because the talent they are seeking to retain has failed them.

Kodak lost its edge and failed to innovate. As a result, they first lost market share to Japanese competition and then became unable to keep pace with the shift from film to digital technology.

While Kodak understood the need for digital technologies (the what), they failed to understand how people would use them (the why). Instead, they opted to rely on digital technologies that pushed people to printing photos — an Industrial Age way of thinking.

Kodak was so focused on what they made, photos, that they failed to remember why they made them, to be shared. Rather than focus on technologies that made sharing easier, they chose to focus on technologies that made creating photos easier while keeping up the roadblocks to sharing.

Building for the why

Recently, I also read of another photography company that is much different than Kodak. You may have heard of this company. It’s called Instagram.

Instagram’s philosophy is very simple. They created an app that enables people to take pictures on their phones, doctor them up a bit, and share them online. It’s free, has been updated countless times in the last few years to accommodate users’ demands, and has millions of users.

Instagram was focused on meeting people’s why, not just their what. As a result, they were hugely successful.

On April 9, 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion. It has thirteen employees.

Kodak? 7,600 employees and about 16,000 Medicare-eligible retirees. It’s undergoing bankruptcy.

Apparently, size really doesn’t matter—agility does.

Think like an entrepreneur

This isn’t to say that small companies are better than big ones. Rather, big companies must still think like small ones, especially in this day and age of ever-changing information.

Innovation is key. Only those who have the agility to change with the market and innovate quickly will survive. And most often, it is entrepreneurs who lead in this category. The best companies are the ones that continue to think like entrepreneurs, and the richest people are entrepreneurs.

Thinking like an entrepreneur takes a strong financial education. The Rich Dad Company was created to help train and raise up entrepreneurs.

Instagram is a company founded by an entrepreneur that acts like one. Kodak is a company founded by an entrepreneur that now acts like a dinosaur.

Which one are you? An entrepreneur or a dinosaur?