I brought my Prius to the Toyota dealership today for a regular check-up and a recall repair (some pin thingamajiggy in the steering column). I said to the service guy that Toyota sure seems to have a lot of recalls these days -- four in the past three years for my car. He said,

"Sometimes it's tough to keep track of all the little things when you're the world's largest car company."

Okay, he was proud of Toyota's growth, but really, that was a disappointing response.

Consumers don't care if you're the largest car company, heart transplant clinic, or high-cholesterol salty snack food producer. They only care that you're the best. Period.

Much of my work is done in the outdoor industry, where products are, by and large, guaranteed for life. No one will buy a tent or a carabiner that isn't backed by the full confidence and credibility of the company. No consumer will buy a tent because it comes from the largest tent maker; that's totally irrelevant when you're hunkered down in a hail storm in the Wind River Range, or anchored to the side of El Cap. The only thing that matters is the value and the quality of the product.

Size doesn't matter. If you can't keep track of "all the little things," you won't be the largest company in your industry for long.

Focusing on quality and value will get you size. Focusing on size will get you trouble.

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