i Editor's Letter: To all start-ups everywhere, may you have a prosperous 2013


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The Independent Online

Thanks for all your kind new year messages. Your general encouragement for what we are trying to do here at i really matters to us, especially those at work during the festive period.

As it is my third launch in a decade, I know this third year is a crucial 12 months for i – a period in which we must capitalise on the amazing start we have had in the vicious British newspaper war. So, whenever I see a business launched, I have to wish it well, because start-up stresses are common across sectors.

Excuse my indulgence, but I wanted to wish Artisan, a new coffee shop that opened close to my home yesterday, the best of luck. There is surely room for an independent to thrive alongside the Starbucks and Caffè Nero down the road. It is the second Artisan to open. I don’t want it to survive because it is independent, but because experience suggests it is good. We get overly het up about independent shops versus chains when we should worry more about good versus bad.

Caffè Nero was once a germ of an idea in the brain of Gerry Ford, a whip-smart MBA. Ford agonised about the quality of his coffee, its temperature and the store environment in his desire to bring continental-style cafés to the UK. This was before the first one in 1997 (there are now almost 500 in Britain). I know, because he is a friend of mine. I don’t know the Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, but I read that he had a similar idea to Gerry about cafés as meeting places when on a buying trip to Milan in the 1980s.

From small acorns, oaks are born. To all start-ups everywhere, may you have a prosperous 2013.