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As Eastman Kodak begins to adapt to the challenges of bankruptcy, David A. Glocker's company, Isoflux, is expanding -- thanks to technology he developed in Kodak's research labs. He didn't steal anything. In fact, before he founded Isoflux with Kodak's blessing in 1993, Glocker approached his managers at the company and suggested they market the coating process he had developed.
"In a nutshell, I went to them and said, 'I think this is valuable technology and it's not being commercialized.... I'd like to do that if Kodak is not interested,'" he recalls. "And they said, 'Fine, do it.'" So he did, in his spare time, for five years while still working at Kodak, then full-time after leaving in 1998. Today, several patents and innovations later, Isoflux is a growing company in Rochester, N.Y., that coats a range of three-dimensional products, from drill bits to optical lenses to medical devices.
The technology is one of countless innovations that Kodak developed over the years but failed to successfully commercialize, the most famous being the digital camera, invented by Kodak engineer Steven Sasson in 1975. Digital technology has all but done in the iconic filmmaker.
When new technologies change the world, some companies are caught off guard. Others see change coming and are able to adapt in time. And then there are companies like Kodak - which saw the future and simply couldn't figure out what to do.
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