The Real Meaning of FINAO

What’s in a Name?

If you are like many of our customers, Finao is a word you don’t recognize.
It’s pronounced Fin-ay-oh (long a, long o, emphasis on the second syllable for anyone who is old enough to have learned phonics in elementary school). This year, with so many challenges in the photography industry, the message behind it is more important than ever.

The name was inspired by our boss, Tony’s, favorite movie, Apollo 13.

In April 1970, Apollo 13 was the seventh crewed mission in the Apollo Space Program and the third lunar landing. This crew never got to walk on the Moon, because three days into the mission there was a critical accident.

One of the liquid oxygen tanks exploded, emptying its contents into space and sending the craft tumbling. The other tank was leaking. This moment was the origin of Jim Lovell’s (Tom Hank’s) infamous declaration,

“Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

All of the craft’s systems were interdependent. Soon battery power was critically low, and carbon dioxide approached dangerous levels. In Houston, lead flight director Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) rallied his team to come up with a plan to bring the astronauts home safely, declaring

“Failure is not an option.”

They literally had to fit a square peg in a round hole and make the command module’s square filters work in the lunar module’s round receptacles. Together the NASA ground control engineers devised a way to bridge the gap, using whatever was available in space – plastic, covers ripped from procedures manuals, duct tape, and other items. The improvised device allowed Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) to restart Odyssey for the safe landing on Earth.

On Tony’s desk in Michigan

Failure Is Not An Option. That’s what we believe, and how we roll. The photography community will persevere, this industry will rebound, and we will do it together. After all, isn’t that what teams do?

If you’d like to read about what the problem-solving philosophy of this inspiring NASA team can teach business owners, check out this recent article by Entrepreneur.