October 22, 2011

Saturday Learning Series - Death of a Technology

Continuing with the Yale course from professor Douglas W. Rae, moves away from some of the economic discussion and moves towards a more real-world analysis of a corporate situation but looks at it in relation to capitalism in general.

There was another lecture between the previous one and this one that featured a guest lecturer Sharon Oster.  It was a quality lecture but I found it a bit off focus for inclusion here (having less of a view on capitalism and more on MBA style business discussion). Nevertheless, it is a good lecture if the topic interests you.  If you are indeed interested, you can see it here. It deals with barriers to success in the medical equipment field.

The Yale course description of this lecture explains the look at Polaroid and the mortal life cycle of a technology;

Professor Rae uses the case of Polaroid cameras to highlight key features of the capitalist system. Polaroid's business model, corporate culture, and firm trajectory are discussed. Important firm decisions are analyzed, including product offerings and mergers. Professor Rae explores factors that led to Polaroid's demise, including the company's relentless focus on scientific innovation at the expense of market research and product development. Polaroid was unable to keep up with market changes, such as the advent of the one-hour photo processing and the revolution in digital photography.

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