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The Customer Trap: How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake in Business by Andrew R. Thomas, Timothy J. Wilkinson

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CHAPTER 6

The STIHL Story

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

—Mark Twain

Fred Whyte, president of US-based STIHL, speaks about the outdoor power equipment produced by STIHL with the same kind of care and deliberation you would expect from someone who was clearing trees with one of the firm’s legendary chain saws. He has been with the company for 42 years—the last 25 as president of US operations. Before that, he was the president of STIHL Canada for 10 years. Whyte remains a Canadian citizen, a fact concealed by a Midwestern accent that avoids even the occasional “eh.” When we met with him, we started with this question: “Was there ever a moment that you were tempted to sell through the big-box stores?” ...

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