Innovate, or Die

‘The Apple II took the company from Jobs’ garage to the pinnacle of a new industry. Its sales rose dramatically, from 2,500 units in 1977 to 210,000 in 1981. But Jobs was restless. The Apple II could not remain successful forever,’ -Walter Isaacson


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (p. 84)

Word count: 670

Estimated reading time: 5-6 minutes


  • Kodak was a dominant force in film and photography in the 20th century, but filed for bankruptcy in 2011
  • Their failure to adapt and innovate led to their eventually decline
  • As coaches, the utility to our clients can be next to obsolete depending on client goals
  • To be of constant value, we must diversify and innovate our skillset

Do you remember Kodak? Kodak was a famous brand once synonymous with film and photography. Their tagline ‘Find your Kodak moment,’ was used to describe instantaneous, amateur snapshots of everyday life – likely with a Kodak camera. When a company’s name enters the lexicon of daily life, you can be assured that a) their marketing has been successful and b) they’re likely to have a strong position within their industry. This is in fact, true, because they held a dominant position during the 20th century in photographic film.

The next question that should be asked is, where are they now? It would not be outrageous to say that most of you reading this have not seen a Kodak advertisement or even heard the name ‘Kodak’ in the last week. So again, where are they now? Or perhaps if we shift our investigative gaze onto ourselves – why don’t I have a Kodak camera? Why don’t I have Kodak film?

The simple answer is… because I have my phone. It has a camera and all my photos can be viewed at the touch of a screen. Using ourselves as evidence, we may hypothesise that Kodak is not in our periphery anymore. Unfortunately for Kodak, they filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, after almost 100 years as a dominant force in the photography and film industry.

Using Kodak, and the excerpt above, we can extrapolate a meaningful lesson – that what works well, may not always continue working. This is true for business, and true for our role as coaches. As coaches, our clients come to us because of a certain skillset. The assumption made is that our skills will assist their journey to reach a certain goal. But what if our client’s change their goals? What if instead of wanting to build muscle, they are now interested in improving their Vo2Max?

Unfortunately for Kodak, the emergence of digital cameras (and eventually, phone cameras) made their strongest products – almost completely obsolete. What’s important here is that all businesses will face a recurring problem… at what point will my product or service become obsolete? The warning signs for Kodak were there well before they filed for bankruptcy in 2011. They saw the threat of digital cameras but were unable to adequately adapt. Their main competitor, Fujifilm were able to act in accordance with this threat and responded more positively than Kodak.

As coaches, our client’s goals will be everchanging. Picture this. Your client undergoes six weeks of weight loss successfully. At the next goal setting session, your client says: ‘I want to do a powerlifting competition.’

If you do not possess the skillset to accompany them on this journey, your impact as their coach becomes disappointingly minimal. It is an unfortunate and harsh reality. If Apple computers did not have internet capabilities, if your phone did not have a mobile network – their value in contemporary life would be next to zero.

The solution to this problem is to diversify and innovate. Diversify your skillset. Learn. Acquire new skills. Integrate them into your already existing skills. Take what you know and make them even better. Innovate. The more you know, the more you can offer. Not only are you able to up-service your existing clients, but also tap into new types of clientele. This is why at M3 we have created a diverse range of courses to prepare you for the now – and the future.

Yours in Health and Movement,

The M3 Team