The Power of The Paradox Mindset A paradox mindset will change you and your company. Here's how.
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Everyone knows what a Polaroid is. If you're of a certain age, you might have even owned one of the boxy cameras yourself, snapping pictures of friends and gathering around while the photo developed like magic before your eyes. For younger generations, Polaroid's retro, blown-out aesthetic became a foundational Instagram filter.
Polaroid was launched in 1948 by the inventor Edwin Land, who created the company in answer to a question posed by his 3-year-old daughter: "Why can't I see the picture now?" Polaroid has been frequently compared to Apple in its design-driven approach to technology, and Steve Jobs himself has cited Land as an inspiration to his own big-idea ethos.
But for all of his great ideas, Land was not a businessman. In his book Instant: The Story of Polaroid, author Christopher Bonanos points out that Land's emphasis on ideas outshone his interest in profits. Land was a purist and a perfectionist, and his inability to marry his artistic vision with a strong business sense — what Jobs did so well — was a crucial handicap. He handed off the company in 1982, just as digital photography was gaining popularity. Without a visionary CEO at the helm, Polaroid was ill-equipped to keep up with the times.