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The Maverick: Dispatches from an unrepentant capitalist by Luke Johnson

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3. Winners

World-Beating, Single-Product Companies

If you want to denigrate a business, you dismiss it with the line: “Ah, but it’s a single product company.” Such a put-down consigns the enterprise to a limited future and a risky reliance on just one source of income. Surely it is better to enjoy a diversity of revenues and a balanced portfolio of goods for sale? Not always, perhaps. There are a few small, perfectly-formed multinationals that only produce one thing – but do it so well that they enjoy success in many markets over the world.

Perhaps my favourite example is Illycaffe SpA, the wonderful espresso coffee maker from northern Italy. They have been headquartered in Trieste, on the Adriatic, for over 70 years. This evocative port ...

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