EP# 021: Edwin Land and Polaroid

Edwin Land was a Harvard dropout, a tech genius with a relentless drive for perfection. Before there was a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, or Mark Zuckerberg, a Silicon Valley type story was created in and around Boston Massachusetts. Land was a tech genius with amazing ideas, who was relentless and obsessive, and cwho hanged the world.

He was a modern pioneer who ran Polaroid for over 50 years, longer than Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and George Eastman ran their famous companies. The company was a truly innovative tech and marketing company. Polaroid and Land also worked with famous artists and musicians such as Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorp, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne from The Talking Heads, Ansel Adams, and Lady Gaga. Polaroid supplied them with film for photos and technical feedback, as well as the publicity the connections created.

As any great inventor, Land would note:

“You must expect failure after failure after failure before you succeed”

Show notes (with time stamps)

Introduction: 00:00 - 02:46

The Beginnings: 02:49 - 20:17

WWII and the Cold War: 20:20 - 28:48

Instant Photography: 28:52 - 46:57

Kodak and Instant Photography: 28:52 - 46:57

Polavision: 51:07 - 58:48

Decline of Polaroid: 58:53 - 1:04:12

Current: 1:04:16 - 1:09:21

Conclusion: 1:09:24 - 1:16:03


Artist: Scott Holmes

Album: Road Trip

Track: Indie Rock


Edwin Herbert Land (1909-1991): A Biographical Memoir by Victor K. McElheny

Instant: The Story of Polaroid by Christopher Bonanos

Land’s Polaroid: A company and the Man Who Invented It by Peter C. Wensberg

Insisting on the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land by Victor K. McElheny


The Man Who Inspired Jobs by Christopher Bonanosoct. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/opinion/the-man-who-inspired-jobs.html

What Steve Jobs Learned From Edwin Land of Polaroid by Chunka Mui. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/chunkamui/2011/10/26/what-steve-jobs-learned-from-edwin-land-of-polaroid/#513b1ac47221