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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Vision and Uniqueness

Today, I visited Toronto to interview people at two very different companies, who will be profiled in the next issue of Ontario Construction Report.
Because these interviews were conducted as advertising features -- in which the profiled business an review and approve the interview contents before publication -- I am bound not to report on the interviews, even positively, until I have their permission.
But I can address something important; the fact that both of the businesses I interviewed have successfully developed unique niches, and connected the dots in surprisingly creative ways.
One is a developer -- but its source of funds are largely pension funds of unionized businesses. So it conducts its affairs with an exceptional degree of respect for workers, 'ordinary people' and the labour movement. Yet don't think these guys are push-overs. They still require their projects to meet the highest competitive standards and they must ultimately operate within the open, free market for products, services, and clients.
I walked a few blocks to an entirely different business -- an architect that combines two very distinctive, but unrelated specialties. The result is an intriguingly eclectic international practice -- one that competes on the highest levels, and in fact sets the standards for its industry segment.
Both of these businesses, of course, practice the 'standards' of business discipline -- they get the basics right (something I failed to appreciate as we expanded carelessly a few years ago). But they combine the normal processes with the exceptional creativity of building their businesses within well defined niches, creatively diversified, but always within their core values.
Once I have their permission, I'll disclose more. Of course the stories I was writing are part of our own niche, which allows us to be truly viable as print publishers in the Internet era.

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