Taking a picture today is as simple as point, shoot and drive to the nearest processing center for developing. Hard to believe that there was a time when photographers lugging heavy cameras on tripods using flash powder were the only way to have one’s picture taken.
George Eastman changed all that when he registered the patent for the first personal camera and roll film in 1888, under the trademark Kodak.
Today, Kodak is considered a mega brand, a company whose stature all business leaders strive to achieve.
George Eastman – a Pioneer and Visionary Among Business Leaders
George Eastman was born in Waterville, New York to George Washington Eastman and Maria Kilbourn. Eastman’s invention of the roll film revolutionized the photography industry by making picture taking a simple process.
In September 1888, Eastman registered the name Kodak (which according to him was a combination of his favorite letters) and the Eastman Kodak Company was born. Eastman eventually controlled 75 80 percent of film production in the US, and his invention of the roll film was the basis for the development of motion picture filmmaking.
Over the years, Eastman showed the style of a true business leader by involving himself with other projects. The University of Rochester received an endowment and put up the Eastman School of Music, which became one of the most prestigious music schools in America. George Eastman himself became a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national men’s music fraternity.
Like other successful business leaders, Eastman eventually became a philanthropist. After relinquishing his role in the day-to-day management of Kodak (though still active as Chairman of the Board)
Eastman was reported to have donated close to 100 million dollars to several institutions, mostly to the University of Rochester (of which he also bequeathed his estate upon his death) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The Rochester Institute of Technology dedicated a building to Eastman in recognition of his support. Other institutions that benefited from his generosity were the Tuskegee Institute and Hampton Institute. The life of this great business leader ended tragically.
In his later years, Eastman suffered from a then-unknown degenerative disease affecting his spine. Fearing that he would end up in a wheelchair, Eastman grew depressed and, in 1932, committed suicide. His suicide note read My work is done. Why wait?
The George Eastman Quick Bio
Full Name: George Eastman
Birthdate: July 12, 1854 (deceased March 14, 1932)
Birthplace: Waterville, New York
Company: Eastman Kodak Company
Industry: Fabricated Goods
Key business leader success traits: had faith in his own abilities, valued his employees immensely
Eastman was a strong belief of the fact that business success is directly related to the goodwill and loyalty of its employees. In 1919, he gave one-third of his personal stake in Kodak (an estimated worth of $10 million) to his employees.