> It seems that Campy was slow to shake off the exclusively Italian mindset
> and understand what foreign markets wanted in terms of touring and later
> mountain bike equipment. The French companies , of course, had an equally
> hard time looking beyond French attitudes and traditions.
Campagnolo is a family owned company. Their only business goal was to allow the
shareholders, the Campagnolo family, to enjoy a better than average standard of
living. The company has done this in spades since its creation. Contrary to
most Americans who are never satisfied, no matter what they have, most
Europeans and most definitely Italians recognize that more is not necessarily
always better. The Campagnolo family has always known their market and their
results have always satisfied the family's standard of living goals (this also
reflects the TA attitude). The same can definitely not be said about the
Shimano, Trek, Cannondale (add almost any other bicycle industry company)...
shareholders' needs. Personally, I would far prefer to have been a Campagnolo
shareholder than one in any other bicycle company.
> Of course, to make tradition
> into an asset, Campy and TA first had to adapt enough to actually survive,
> which most other Italian and French manufacturers didn't manage to do.
Campagnolo and TA have not had to adapt to survive, as neither has come close to perishing. Family companies do not need to follow public company economics. As perfect evidence of this, a former Italian employer of mine turned down a contract that I had arranged for him that would have ensured him net profits of close to a million dollars per year. He simply said, "I don't like the business partner!" To most Europeans, being able to say something like that is worth much more than the 5th house, the 10th car, the bigger bank account... Valentino Campagnolo has never suffered a day in his life and probably never will. It should also be noted that many of the former bicycle brands of the past have disappeared, not out of financial failure, but simply because the needs of the owner family changed or were completely fulfilled. The Nieddu family, of Vittoria fame, retired from the bicycle business in florid financial shape, the same goes for the Bozzi family of Legnano fame, the Ghelfi family of Frejus, the Dei family of Umberto Dei, the Ganna family... Simply because the company no longer exists does not indicate failure.