A Two-Way Conversation with the Market

In 1975, a researcher named Steven Sasson, working in a lab at Eastman Kodak, built the first digital camera. It was a clunky machine, but Sasson’s vision was clear. He saw the potential: in fifteen to twenty years, he told executives, the technology would be ready to compete against film. You could hardly blame executives for their skepticism, though: the contraption needed a tape drive to operate and took nearly thirty seconds to produce a tiny, low-resolution, black-and-white image. Still, Sasson and Kodak kept at it. Indeed, by 1989, they had created a commercially viable digital camera. But Kodak executives never got behind it. In the years that followed, digital photography blossomed, ...

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