How do you stay at the top of the ladder?

February 17, 2018

I’d like you to conduct a 10 second experiment with me. Please take out your phone, open your gallery, take a glance at how many photos you have taken, and simply post the number below this article.

I’m interested to tally up the results, because what you have just recorded is your contribution to the explosion in digital photography that saw us snap an estimated 1.2 trillion digital photos in 2017. In figures, that unfathomable number looks like this: 1,200,000,000,000. I’d like to compare this to the year 2000, when Kodak set a new record by announcing that consumers around the world had taken 80 billion photos, which looks like this: 80,000,000,000.

Somewhere between 80,000,000,000 and 1,200,000,000,000 photos, an astonishing growth of 1,400% over 17 years, Kodak lost its way. In 2012, the company that had dominated the photography industry for the greater part of the 20th century and brought ‘Kodak Moment’ into the common lexicon, declared bankruptcy. Polaroid, the pioneer of instant photography and a vivid cultural symbol of the 1970s, had already suffered the same fate in 2001. These blue chip companies were once as globally renowned as Coca-Cola and their products were staples of my own childhood and early family memories.

So how did they manage to fall off the ladder?

When the digital era began in earnest, a combination of complacency and narrow-mindedness stifled growth and innovation at Kodak and Polaroid. While Kodak put a decade-long digital strategy in place, it was not implemented and the company’s executives mistakenly believed they could stem the tide with aggressive marketing. Meanwhile, Polaroid launched a sole digital camera in 1996 that could never have hoped to secure a large market share. Both companies failed to grasp the big picture — that digital photos would become an integral part of everyday life and that we would one day be carrying our cameras around in our pockets.

They fell off the ladder because they stopped climbing.

While Kodak and Polaroid have both since emerged from bankruptcy and attempted to revive some of their faded glory, they are still both cautionary tales about the high cost of slow change. In the business world, new rungs are constantly added to the ladder and for companies pursuing long-term success, there is simply no end to the climb. At MAG Lifestyle Development, we stay on top not only by keeping abreast of digital transformation and changing consumer trends, but also by proactively adding our own new rungs to the real estate ladder.

This is why we are proud to have achieved regional firsts like MAG Creek Wellbeing Resort, the region’s first and the world’s largest wellness-inspired residential development, and our MAG Alliances division, which is the first-of-its-kind to offer exclusive real estate discounts and promotions in partnership with leading companies across the globe. Just as Sony added new rungs by launching an affordable range of digital cameras and licensing its camera software to phone manufacturers, we are raising the benchmark by introducing fresh real estate concepts and new levels of opportunity for our customers.

Our ambitious attitude stems from our promise that our customers can expect more from us. Led by this core philosophy, we are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities, pioneering innovative concepts and introducing new ways to fulfil our customer’s desires. The only way is up.

– Talal M. AlGaddah is the Chief Executive Officer of MAG Lifestyle Development and CEO Middle East Awards’ ‘Young CEO of the Year’ – 2017.