"Here’s a current example of the challenge we face,” he writes in the book’s prelude: “At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 14,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?"
Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class - Salon.com
I like Jaron Lanier a lot, but this illustration as some sort of evidence of the internet hollowing out the middle class is, forgive me for saying so, idiotic. A child could figure out where those jobs went.
1) Instagram SHOWS the photos. We have to include all of the people who work on the cloud that supports that.
2) Kodak made cameras and film. Cameras are still being made - even moreso. At the very least, we should include the current #1 camera maker’s employees. At this point, that’s apple. Fifty thousand employees. Pro rate it to only the apple devices that have cameras, ignoring their mac business. 30,000 employees.
3) The film business still exists. It was just lost to Fujichrome, who still makes film and has over 30,000 employees. This has nothing to do with the web, but rather something called “Globalization.”
The internet didn’t kill a single job in photography. There are more cameras now than ever. There are still tens of thousands of people making film.
Take the market cap of JUST these three companies - facebook, apple, fujifilm, and we’re looking at $500 billion market cap, and nearly 90,000 employees.
Think that’s unfair? Canon has nearly 200,000 employees. Nikon has 24,000. 10,000 more than Kodak. Shit, ZEISS has 24,000 employees.
Never mind every single camera in an android phone.
Those jobs went overseas, and they went to computer companies, Mr. Lanier. They still exist. The internet didn’t kill a single one of them.
Huzzah, plus Kodak’s consumer film executives went out of their way to line their pockets on the way down, at the explicit and afaik knowing expense of the nascent digital businesses. They killed Kodak, probably knew they were doing so, and showed no signs of caring at all.
I was the first internet PM for Kodak Hollywood. My product line was one of their victims.