Is it time to pivot or double down?
In the last two articles, we discussed how to manage your money during the pandemic. If you haven’t read them yet, click part 1 for those earning stable income and part 2 for those with unstable income.
The last tip in part 2 is about determining whether it’s time for you to pivot or double down.
The tale of Kodak and Fuji
One of the best stories on the ability to pivot is that of Kodak and Fuji. As stated in an article by Oliver Kmia, “The Kodak moment is gone, but Fuji thrives after a massive reorganization.” To the young readers born into a digital world, once upon a time, we took photos with film, finished up the roll (can be 12, 24 or 36 shots) and then had them developed in a processing shop. On top of its game was Kodak, so much so that the Pinoy would say, “Kodakan tayo!” meaning “Let’s have our picture(s) taken!” Even if both Kodak and Fuji sold cameras, their bread and butter was really film, processing and printing. I still remember the days when the photo shops would be full during Christmas and summer seasons, the peak of demand for films and photo developing/processing.
Then the digital cameras became popular. The core business of Kodak and Fuji was threatened and started to shrink. Now here’s the difference between the response of the two leaders in the industry. After Kodak’s CEO was quoted saying, “Digital cameras are a ‘crappy business,’” it later went on to produce its own digital cameras. It sold a good number of units ranking high among Japanese brands at the start. It also went on to have printing kiosks for digital cameras. Unfortunately, it didn’t make money on these efforts. Eventually, Kodak had to file for bankruptcy in 2012.
On the other hand, here’s how Fuji responded to the situation. Seeing the decline in its film and processing revenues, it acted swiftly and carried out a massive six-year plan to diversify. It realized that the digital camera business will not replace its former cash cow and worked on how to use existing Fujifilm technologies to adapt to the emerging markets such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, LCD screens for TV, computers and smartphones. So, while Kodak eventually filed for bankruptcy, Fuji revenues even grew in the long run. In fact, it is at the forefront in the manufacture of anti-flu drug which is being tested as treatment for COVID-19.
Pivot vs double down
It is hard to pivot when you try to defend your past glory as the industry leader and when the change in economic environment is not too drastic, at least in your perspective. On the other hand, when things drastically change as what we’re experiencing right now, there is also that tendency to overreact. “It’s time to pivot!” may actually be misunderstood in the sense that everyone will abandon their pre-pandemic business or profession and join the bandwagon of whatever seems to be doing well at the moment. We may be prone to do this without considering what we are gifted with, what we are called to do. Share this on Twitter.
Writer Jeff Goins said, “In this time of crisis people are telling you to do something new. But what if the right thing to do is not to pivot but to double down?” He challenges us to double down on our strengths, take our familiar skills deeper, focus on our fundamentals, and get better at what we do. Share this on Twitter.
This is the time to really focus on what our work really is. What are our resources? What industry do we belong to? What is our calling?
In the above example, Fuji was able to recognize that it was a chemical company and this paved the way to its successful diversification to other fields it can serve. Its response to the changing times was well thought out and definitely took into account what its existing strengths and resources were.
We have been in this enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for over two months now. It has been an interesting period for our family as we all readily jumped into WFH (work from home) mode, sometimes busier than pre-pandemic days. This mother of adult sons has been very happy to be with all family members at home 24/7. We have worked out our schedules and work spaces, enjoyed the new version of “eating out” on weekends by ordering from both our all-time favorite restaurants and new food providers, and most especially, enjoying unhurried conversations more than we’ve ever experienced in the past.
As I give myself time to reflect on what I’m being called to do, I realize that I have to give more time and attention to the completion of Book 2 of the FQ Trilogy. I have also been receiving messages asking when it is coming out, and I decided to double down on it. The past two and a half months have proven to me that I need to pare down on some activities and distractions to get the momentum of my unfinished task back.
I will take a two week leave from June 1 to 14, 2020 and with this comes shutting myself out of my social media channels. I’m pretty excited about this self-imposed challenge. I wish to leave you with this quote that nudged me to finally do this. It’s from Toni Morrison, a multi-awarded African American female writer who received the Pulitzer in 1988, the Nobel in 1993, and many more.
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”
As we face one day at a time during this pandemic, I wish you all the best in figuring out whether it’s time for you to pivot or to double down.
Cheers to high FQ!
1. Listen to our Mom and Son Podcast episode this week! Click here.
2. Reading is another coping mechanism for the lockdown. If you haven’t yet, may I invite you to read any of the FQ Mom books?
3. If you haven’t yet, now is the time to start your FQ journey. If you’ve taken this six or so months ago and you want to check how you have improved, you may take it again by clicking the link: https://forms.gle/tSHBiGtwpWHaKVzU9