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So- You are Leica's New CEO - What to do ?
Old 04-14-2015   #1
CameraQuest
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So- You are Leica's New CEO - What to do ?

Within the next 30 days or sooner, we will likely see some new directions from Leica's new CEO.

If you were the new CEO, what would you do ?

Stephen
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Old 04-14-2015   #2
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I'd make sure Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, JayZ, Kanye, Beyonce and Pharrel Williams and Sean P. Diddy Combs had really nice M-240s or Monochromes hanging from their shoulders at all times.
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Old 04-14-2015   #3
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I wouldn't have a clue what to do. It's a miracle that it is still around and with so many camera models.
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Old 04-14-2015   #4
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i've read that when steve jobs re-took apple that he refused to use an apple notebook because they were not good enough...
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Old 04-14-2015   #5
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I wouldn't have a clue what to do. It's a miracle that it is still around and with so many camera models.
are we talking about sony?
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Old 04-14-2015   #6
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Create a second brand to allow "Leica" to become an even higher priced luxury camera-jewelry product.
Commit to the 1% with a true luxury oriented line that may include a social media portal to let those folks show off their Leica bling images.

In the mean time produce a second line of no nonsense professional oriented products more in line with the legacy of Leica optics.
Pros don't care about red dots, sapphire glass, and, celebrity endorsements that inflate the cost of doing business.
Maybe even bring back the Leitz name for this second line.
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Old 04-14-2015   #7
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I suppose it all boils down to one question: what is the customer base of Leica cameras and lenses and what are they prepared to pay for. I suppose the findings are going to be scary to any CEO. The ''Mechanical Precision'' marker is outdated and stale. Most of Leica aficionados are tired of the specialty cameras. Popular brands such as Fuji are moving in to steal the Leica thunder.
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Old 04-14-2015   #8
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From a B-school perspective:

1. It's all about branding, right? So what exactly is the Leica brand?

2. Who is the customer for that brand?

3. What is the desired customer experience?

4. What products deliver and propagate that desired customer experience?

5. Define the 7 p's of Marketing (there only used to be 4 p's when I was in B-school ) for those products.

6. Develop a strategic product roadmap.

7. Execute against that product roadmap.
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Old 04-14-2015   #9
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Oh, I think f16sunshine and Peter both have it right. I've long wished Leica would go back to what it was in the 50's through 80's? Target the market that desires excellent gear oriented toward making images with the best tools possible. Lately, Leica lenses have been better at doing this than the bodies. Still, if the M line was actually marketed (and I do dare say priced) toward serious *photographers*, maybe it could retain the reputation, and persistence I hope for.

Interesting idea: a luxury line and a photographers line of products. Worth mentioning to the new management.
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Old 04-14-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
Create a second brand to allow "Leica" to become an even higher priced luxury camera-jewelry product.
Commit to the 1% with a true luxury oriented line that may include a social media portal to let those folks show off their Leica bling images.

In the mean time produce a second line of no nonsense professional oriented products more in line with the legacy of Leica optics.
Pros don't care about red dots, sapphire glass, and, celebrity endorsements that inflate the cost of doing business.
Maybe even bring back the Leitz name for this second line.
While I do not disagree, creating a new pro line requires enough differentiation from Canikon to wean away pro shooters, and implementing a production infrastructure for the new products. I doubt that they would build from scratch, so in a build v. buy decision, they would have to buy another company that already has the production infrastructure. Again, I do not disgaree, but if it were me, I'd probably keep Leica a niche brand with niche products.
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Old 04-14-2015   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
Within the next 30 days or sooner, we will likely see some new directions from Leica's new CEO.

If you were the new CEO, what would you do ?

Stephen
I wouldn't change a thing about the Leica M.
Its all about the "experience" - Market the living daylights out of "the experience". not from a historical perspective but as an antidote to the present day "me too" cacophony of present day cameras.
Apple did this brilliantly with the "Think Different" campaign

Regarding the rest of the line, change strategy as needed.
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Old 04-14-2015   #12
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Sell it to Fuji and let them transform it into a business with a focus on photography and service to photographers!
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Old 04-14-2015   #13
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Originally Posted by back alley View Post
are we talking about sony?
Sony is doing quite well with its A7 models. And has one of the better low end APSC cameras out there (a6000). If they get out of the camera game, they still can do something else. Different than Leica's situation. Leica camera without unique and luxurious cameras won't do so well. Especially since it cannot compete on price.
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Old 04-14-2015   #14
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The Fuji Instax series cameras outsell all of Fuji's other digital products combined.

Leica should introduce a high end instant camera taking the instax film. Call it the Leicaroid. Or Leicalax..

Oh, and introduce a high quality dedicated film scanner to go alongside Leica's real cameras.
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Old 04-14-2015   #15
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Overhaul quality control. Iron out all problems. Customers want service. They've got the products, but if they're unreliable or there are delays in rectifying problems, customers may look elsewhere. To stay number one, act like you're number two.
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Old 04-14-2015   #16
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I would seek out some unknown artist who secretely has been a great ambassidor for Leica and reward and recognize his service to the Leica brand. I think everyone roots for the underdog and the unsung hero and everyone except the celeberties are kinda tired about see the same guys and girls winning over and over again.

How about recognizing the guy who eats nut butter sandwitches so he can shoot a Leica.

How about the guy on RFF who posted about the rumored Monochrom as being a good idea when others called it "stupid."

How about the guy who now owns a black R8, a black SL2-MOT, a Wetzlar M6, a black paint MP with 0.85 VF'er, a Canadian MD-2, and a Monochrom even though he is an unknown but serious photographer who works a day job he hates?

How about the guy who has moderated the NYC Meet-Up for the past 6 years and who even started an anual Camera Beauty Contest.

I know that Leica already kinda made the Monochrom especially for me, but how about making it official with a "Calzone" version of the Monochrom with a 0.85 finder sold with a LeicaVit with an extra heavy brass barreled lens set of a 28 Cron and 50 Lux ASPH featuring evil scalloped hoods.

Where is the love? I hope Leica does not forget the struggling artist and does somethimng to support him. Anyways this is like my version of the documentry film "Twenty Feet From Stardom" about the unsung heros that do really matter. BTW I don't have a publicist like many of the celebrities.

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Old 04-14-2015   #17
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Separate yourself from the herd. Make a rangefinder that you can't get anywhere else but Leica and make it for photographers that are fed up with camera's that push the photographer farther from the process. There are plenty of those kind of DSLRs and mirror-less options already out there. The first MM is a great example of how to do digital rangefinders right.
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Old 04-14-2015   #18
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^^Cal, your level of enthusiasm is what they had better develop over in the QC dept.
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Old 04-14-2015   #19
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Kill the M and concentrate on lenses for other camera makers, including AF models.
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Old 04-14-2015   #20
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Maintain optical and mechanical excellence and keep designing compact, expensive optics leading in the world-championship races.

For the camera bodies, buy in low-noise- good colour filter- high resolution sensors, make certain that the software is perfectly matched to the filters and make the cameras tolerate being dropped and rained on. Make a model that can go on for years and do save tooling costs.

Then, target retrophiliacs with cash to spare. Shrink the fat M9 etc. down to IIIc size, cut manufacturing costs drastically by making the VF electronic with suitable manual focus aids, and a minimum of dials. No menu, except for setting up on your own computer. Keep a token screen for brief checks on results, but store RAWfiles and leave all processing to the user.

The real pictorialists may come on board, and some funds have to be spent on the flavour-of-the-month photographers, even if their work is rubbish, but do keep the propaganda machine well fed. Facts to the knowledgeable, drivel to the more easily impressed. Maybe PR-cost can be cut by astute blogging instead of large print spreads. Also in-house ideas plus social science advice may work instead of ignorant and expensive copywrites.

Sooner or later the fashion victims will catch on. They will have to face a waiting list like everyone else, but can pay a suitable muliple of 1000 Euros to have theirs personalized.

No easy task to run the worlds first 35mm ("double frame") film company if they wish to serve their investors while also providing useful services to people who actually need simple but excellent tools.

p.
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Old 04-14-2015   #21
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Stop wasting time listening to people on the internet, who make a lot of noise but seldom buy new Leicas and rarely have any idea about the difficulties of camera design (e.g. full-frame IIIcs).

Focus on things like portfolio reviews at Arles. Most wannabees will never get there; nor will most other Leica reviews; but many will fantasize about it.

More Leica publications: books of top-flight Leica pics like they used to do in the 30s.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 04-14-2015   #22
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Originally Posted by pete hogan View Post
^^Cal, your level of enthusiasm is what they had better develop over in the QC dept.
I have not had any issues with quality control, and have owned my Monochrome for over two years. So far no sign of corosion. Never had to send a camera back to Leica, but know that I have sent many-many used Leica cameras to Sherry for service, upgrades, and mods.

The R8 that I now own I believe should be a trouble free camera, even though some early ones were plagued with problems. Funny how say a camera like a M3 can get legendary status, and a SL or SL2 can get slammed for having VF'er issues.

Like Leica I embrace original thinking and recently bought both a R8 and a SL2-MOT for no money due to the disfavor of others. I'm also very happy how Leica intends on honoring a repair on the recognized corosion problem.

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Old 04-14-2015   #23
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•*Produce a full-featured M at <$4500. With a current-spec sensor. Buy them from Sony if necessary, and infuse the "Leica glow" with fairy dust in the covert bunker.
• If they must continue with the 'tribute' special edition BS, pay tribute to actual photographers who built the historical heritage, or contemporary photographers who are actually doing real work. Get those models photographed around the necks of celebs, and use that PR/those images to market to the celeb-worshipping crowd.
• Produce lenses at competitive price points. No reason why a 50mm should cost three grand.
• Make AF SLR lenses for Canon and Nikon? Start with the glass they've already engineered — the 28 Elmarit and 50mm E50 Summilux.... There might be a market for this, but i'm actually skeptical these lenses would match the performance of even the recent Sigma Art line....
• Reduce the price of the S2>S3. When there's a Canon 5D-something at 50MP, the older S2 with only a slightly larger sensor is going to look like a bit of a waste of money. If it doesn't already.
• Customer Service. Actually HAVE some.
• Stop creating marketing imagery featuring White Gloves. You're essentially saying, "this isn't even a camera anymore. We're above that." You're not. Get over yourselves before your client base dies (literally).
• Create traveling exhibitions of vintage photography. Display them in high-end shopping centers. Build the brand through the legacy.
• [Eventually] Make an eye-controlled (EOS3-like) AF camera in the same form factor as the M.
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Old 04-14-2015   #24
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New CEO looks like not having experience with camera industry, rather a manager from Microsoft Germany. Link

Am somewhat doubtful there is any kind of big visionary directing Leicas future now.
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Old 04-14-2015   #25
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Leica makes nice lenses. Maybe do one thing well and make them for other mounts.
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Old 04-14-2015   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Stop wasting time listening to people on the internet, who make a lot of noise but seldom buy new Leicas and rarely have any idea about the difficulties of camera design (e.g. full-frame IIIcs). Focus on things like portfolio reviews at Arles. Most wannabees will never get there; nor will most other Leica reviews; but many will fantasize about it. More Leica publications: books of top-flight Leica pics like they used to do in the 30s. Cheers, R.
Do you really think Leica brass spends any time at all listening to people in the Internet ?
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Old 04-14-2015   #27
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Make AF SLR lenses for Canon and Nikon? Start with the glass they've already engineered the 28 Elmarit and 50mm E50 Summilux.... There might be a market for this, but i'm actually skeptical these lenses would match the performance of even the recent Sigma Art line....
I like your idea of remaking new versions of the 28 Elmarit-R second version and the 50 Lux-R "E60" for use on other makers DSLR's. I would even say this is a good idea if if they were manual focus lenses, but had a working auto diaphram on the other makers DSLR's.

As far as auto focus goes, is this where you are skeptical about the performance? Optically the 28 Elmarit second version and 50 "E60" are kinda great and some may say unsurpassed.

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Old 04-14-2015   #28
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Do you really think Leica brass spends any time at all listening to people in the Internet ?
Andy,

I think they do. I've talked with Leica representitives at PhotoPlusExpo's.

I also think that Leica got the idea for the M60 right here on RFF from one of my friends. He was even contacted by someone from Leica's R&D.

Perhaps Leica top brass may not be concerned so much with the chatter, but know that someone in Leica is lurking at our posts.

The world is not that big. You'd be surprised.

Cal
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Old 04-14-2015   #29
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Do you really think Leica brass spends any time at all listening to people in the Internet ?
Leica management regularly looks at the Leica forum. Stefan Daniel will comment on an issue too, on occasion.

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Old 04-14-2015   #30
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Leica makes nice lenses. Maybe do one thing well and make them for other mounts.
I second the idea. Even manual focus works for me.

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Old 04-14-2015   #31
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If I were Leica CEO I'd have my IIIf serviced for free.
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Old 04-14-2015   #32
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Well how about that!
So they get their bad ideas from us.... Where should they look for good ideas ?

Just kidding
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Old 04-14-2015   #33
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Pros don't care about red dots, sapphire glass, and, celebrity endorsements that inflate the cost of doing business.
I'd have to disagree with you about the sapphire glass. That is one of the things I loved about my M8.2, the fact that the rear glass screen was nearly bulletproof. The camera got beat around when I took it on jobs, and I never had to worry about that LCD screen getting scratched. I'd pay extra for a camera with sapphire glass over the LCD.

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Old 04-14-2015   #34
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Leica should read this very thread!
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Old 04-14-2015   #35
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Hm. He could start out by emailing me, to engage RFF members in their views and wishes for Leica products.
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Old 04-14-2015   #36
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Hm. He could start out by emailing me, to engage RFF members in their views and wishes for Leica products.
Raid,
I hear you.
The problem is that the vast majority of the folks who responded to your poll don't buy new Leica equipment.
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Old 04-14-2015   #37
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I'd make sure Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, JayZ, Kanye, Beyonce and Pharrel Williams and Sean P. Diddy Combs had really nice M-240s or Monochromes hanging from their shoulders at all times.
I would make sure they don't.
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Old 04-14-2015   #38
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Do you really think Leica brass spends any time at all listening to people in the Internet ?
They actually do - those who have demonstrated an ability to buy new equipment.
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Old 04-14-2015   #39
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Do you really think Leica brass spends any time at all listening to people in the Internet ?
Not so much think, as know. Yes, they do. It is however regarded as something of a penance or possibly punishment.

They tend to listen only to those with good ideas that can be realized. Imagine how much drivel they have to wade though in order to find these tiny nuggets, and you can see why I refer to it as a penance or possibly punishment.

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Old 04-14-2015   #40
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Raid,
I hear you.
The problem is that the vast majority of the folks who responded to your poll don't buy new Leica equipment.
It is not about that poll at all. Stephen gave me an extensive list of excellent questions for the CEO. The CEO emailed me that he would chat with me after April 1, which is now.
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