Out of the Woodwork: Don’t Fiddle With Success


In some professions, innovation can sink you.
By Alan Coggins
Page: 96

From the February 2008 issue #167
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Working from home, I get to hear a lot of radio talk shows and I am invariably frustrated when the day’s guest is a small-business expert giving out advice on how to succeed in your latest venture.

They always roll out phrases such as “keeping ahead of the competition,” “the need for constant innovation,” “investment in research and development,” “a willingness to be flexible,” “the importance of thinking laterally and never standing still” and so on.

All generally useful advice, I’m sure, but completely irrelevant in my case.

I am involved in a business where my competitors have been dead for 250 years and still they outsell me. In my work, any attempt at innovation would be financial suicide; doing something radical would see most of my customers desert me, and even the slightest deviation from the norm is looked on with disdain. In fact, I am ideally expected to carry on doing things in pretty much the same way as they have been done for the past three centuries.

Most people believe that my craft was perfected by a man in Italy named Antonio Stradivari and since then it’s basically been all downhill.


From the February 2008 issue #167
Buy this issue now