I can tell you where you went wrong, and I’m going to tell you how to fix your problems. You’re going through a tough time right now. Most businesses are, but you in particular haven’t been doing well. You can’t move cameras like you used to. Worse, your nearest competitor, Canon, is still out-selling you, despite making inferior DSLRs. You aren’t part of the ‘big two’ anymore, and there may not be such a thing in the future. But let’s not worry about that right now. Remember Steve Jobs? Remember? Yeah, he only died ten years ago, so you ought to. Actually Apple was founded before you launched the F3. So you know very well who he is. He taught us all, to some degree, about branding and focus. You, Nikon, have forgotten what branding is. You think it’s just a label that you stick onto an arbitrary product. You use the Nikon brand as a shield, but it should be the cavalry. A brand has a meaning. Branding is a promise; branding is a story. When someone says “Nikon,” you ought to know exactly what they mean. Every product with the Nikon label must have certain characteristics that the customer expects. And there should be no doubt about it. But, you have messed up here, and it doesn’t take an MBA from Wharton to see it. Remember the FM10? It wasn’t a bad camera per se. It was a simple, yet reliable, generic design that was used by Ricoh, Cosina and maybe others. You took that generic camera and put an F mount on it. Bad idea. That’s not a Nikon, and you know it. (Oh, and I also remember the rebadged Sony Video8 camcorder. Bad idea.) Yeah, yeah, you wanted to get a Nikon into the hands of more people. But whoever came up with the FM10 did’t even understand their own company’s branding. You know what GM did so badly after the 1970s? The brand managers lost focus. Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac and Oldsmobile have specific meanings. You can’t mix-and-match core features between brands. But lots of manufacturers made this mistake. Jaguar did, with the X-Type and the S-Type. Those weren't terrible cars, but they weren't Jaguars. You seem to have confused two concepts. You wanted to create an affordable Nikon. But Nikon cameras were always affordable. What you actually made was a cheap Nikon. And there should never, ever be a cheap Nikon, ever. Canon makes cheap cameras. They sell crippled DSLRs to soccer moms and minimum wage hipsters. You do not want this market. A Nikon has to be a little bit more special than that. A Nikon is something that has some kind of allure without being out of reach. When you started making digital cameras, you only had a couple of models, and they were for professionals only. Fair enough, too. The D1, D1H and D100 were all great cameras for their time. Then you released the D70, which was very well received. And then… eventually you started to release a slew of soccer mom cameras. I have used one of those. I think it was a D3200 or something. Honestly, what’s the point? Yes, I’d maybe choose it over any other DSLR in that price range. But there should not be a Nikon in that price range in the first place. Let’s go back to the D70. Notice something about it: it wasn’t innovative. Yet it was a great product. And that’s a key point I want to make here. As far as DSLRs go, there is no innovation left to implement. Well, no, that’s a lie - Sony did innovate with SLT, but that does have its issues, too. But that’s not something you need to worry about. Really, as far as DSLRs go, innovation isn’t really possible anymore. What is possible is continued improvements in established features. You know how to do this. And you must realise that the ‘Made in Japan’ label means something to the customer. Soccer mom cameras can be made in China. But Nikons must be made in Japan, just as Ferraris are made in Italy. You could easily add useful and unique features to any of your camera lines that don’t require huge development costs. Just one example: you could have implemented JPEG 2000 many years ago, at least in your high end cameras. Only now are some manufacturers implementing HEIF, which is better again. But even JP2K would have been enough if you had started using it in the early years. Some might argue, not without reason, that nobody needs JP2K. That old-fashioned JPEG (and TIFF) is all that anyone needs. Well, nobody needed a Walkman, but everybody wanted one. Here's another idea you could have implemented: T stops. With the Z mount system you could have made all the lenses marked with T stops instead of f/ stops. This wouldn't necessarily be better than the way that everyone else does it. But it would be unique. You don't need to be innovative to be unique. You tend to think of yourself as a conservative company, and you hide behind this notion while almost every other brand zips right past you: Olympus, Panasonic, Leica, Fujifilm, Sony, and even Pentax. I wonder sometimes if I would choose a Pentax DSLR over a Nikon. But you are not conservative. You are anally retentive and timid. Leica is traditional and conservative - and they are also bold. They make both the M and the SL, not one or the other. And with the exception of certain applications, their SL series is superior to any DSLR yet made, Nikon or otherwise. Your attitude is, well, if it’s selling, we don’t need to change it or improve it. One of your executives said that the reason why you didn’t create a mirrorless system earlier was because of concerns over the number of exposures per charge: DSLRs can give 1,000 frames per charge, where as DSLMs can give only 500. But this attitude is not worthy of anyone who runs a business. Did you have that attitude when you launched the D1? 35mm film was better in every way except convenience, and yet you made the D1 regardless. You didn’t wait until digital sensors could match or beat film. Steve Jobs made the point which should be obvious: if you don’t cannibalise yourself, someone else will. Remember the iPod mini? It sold so well that Apple had a supply shortage for months. And yet they killed it and released the nano. But there is hope. That Z mount - stupidly named, as there are two ways to pronounce the letter Z in English - looks to have been designed to accomodate a medium format sensor. This is, I think, what you are planning: one mount for DX, FX and MF (MX?) sensors. Leica seems to be planning the same thing for the L mount, but we will see. One of the most satisfying cameras I’ve ever owned was the F3. I’d argue that it’s perhaps the best 35mm SLR ever made. It wasn’t innovative, and I’m glad it wasn’t. Innovative SLRs were cameras like the Ricoh Mirai - they were forward-looking ideas back then, but they were too limiting for professionals. The Konica AiBorg was also innovative, but that's not really what serious photographers want in a camera. Canon made the unwise choice to eliminate the removable prism and the manual film rewind, from the T90 onwards. If that’s innovation, I don’t want it. A few of your DSLRs are still the best in their class. The D500, the D850, and the D4/5/6. Some pros will be using their D4’s until their shutters break. Even the D700 has its adherents. That’s something to be proud of, n’est-ce pas? You have two choices. Believe in yourself, or continue to manage your decline. You can choose between being boring or being unique. It’s up to you.