Further to the decline of some of our current and iconic trading empires that I touched on in my previous blog it seems appropriate to comment on those other companies that are in the ascendant.

With Bose (said to be now totally hanging for a huge Xmas selling season result...) and Harley (whose supplier of wheels in Adelaide are closing their foundry this week) wearing fewer clothes these days it would appear that Sonos and Triumph are taking their positions in the marketplace.

Sonos will offer some interesting presents for us in the new year. John McFarlane the CEO isn’t telling but I’m betting a software driven multi channel upgrade with an HDMI input unit and a transceivable capability between boxes. This could be a form of delocalised surround sound that potentially could make a conventional surround amplifier appear prokaryotic.

Mr McFarlane has an absolute grip on his marketplace, he knows exactly which 400,000 homes are using Sonos and has an assay of what streaming services they are using when. One might consider their spy in the cab approach to client feedback invidious were it not for the fact that Sonos has the highest satisfaction index of any related product by literal orders of magnitude.

Triumph under John Bloor have completely reinvented themselves with a stunning range of three cylinder motorcycles that have not only acquired cult status amongst people who otherwise would have fallen into place as Harley devotees but also have acquired rapid footholds into adventure sports and street markets. In a period when Motorcycles over 500cc have suffered a decline in sales of 50% they have seen a 10ish per cent per annum increase under the leadership of John Bloor their very entrepreneurial plasterer CEO.

One of our TV brands has shown a similar sales performance being Loewe … at a time when Television companies have been in the midst of a mass extinction and we have lost household names such as Pioneer, Fujitsu, and NEC from the flat panel game this innovative German company has gone on to become the largest purveyor of TV’S over 2000 Euros in Europe with a massive 33.4% market share. Oliver Seidl the CEO, being German, is not in the T shirt and Jeans style of McFarlane or Bloor but has that ability to clearly communicate ideas and innovation to his stakeholders. It is worthwhile noting that Mr Loewe was one of the people behind the very first TV broadcast in 1931.

Another company very much in the ascendant with t shirt individualism leadership after years of being a rebellious fringe is the British manufacturer Rega. Driven by the natural force that is Roy Gandy this is the company that has always refused to supply review samples and refused to publish specifications of its kit and refused to supply brochures with the glossy application of flimsily clad young women draped across its product. It has in fact only insisted on supplying good quality purist audio at the most reasonable price.

Whilst many other UK manufacturers have shifted their manufacturing process offshore or suffered hostile takeovers from China, Rega has stuck to its principles and maintained a dedicated workforce and factory in Southend. Whilst the UK is falling in a fiscal heap generally Rega has doubled its workforce in the past 18 months, not just driven by the renewed vigour of vinyl but also the demand for their CD Players, Amplifiers, and now D to A converters as well.

Mr Gandy is a lover of traditional minimalism … which as an entity is largely immune to the whims of fashion that predestines the fate of so many other lesser consumer products. He professes to love the idea of a BSA Goldstar as the ideal vehicle … however I gather he actually rides the push button hyperspeed minimalism that is the carburetted Honda Fireblade (if any of you have ever had a DBD34 type motorcycle you will know that whilst they are beautiful they are a terrible frustration to have a relationship with … bit like a girl I once knew)and probably will be riding a Triumph soon.

Some characteristics that these rising star companies share is that they are led by clearly principled and transparent individuals who are not afraid to innovate, who will not sell their companies and their workforce to the highest bidder of the time, who do not kowtow to the prevailing theorists of economic and management fashion, and have a very clear vision of their organisations place in the overall scheme.

Their proprietors do not receive massive unaccountable bonuses and the organisations are indivisible from themselves as individuals. It seems very unlikely that even in the most dire of economic times that these companies mentioned will fall down as they are forever riding the wave of their clients passions rather being linked to the rational faceless marketplace that appoints directors salaries linked to an expectation of next years turnover and redundancies

These companies will never be bailed out by desparate politicians convinced that the economic future of a nation is about to be undermined ... yet they mark that transition beetween the army of unsupported ants that is the small business heart of the western nations and those capitalist institutions that have become inextricably linked with our rise and fall,

Not long ago a man called Mr Jobs ran a company called Apple with concurrent ethos to those herewith ...


Rab Turner