My dad is a piano technician in Northeast Ohio. This morning he was telling me a story about a guy he went to piano technicians school with who never actually went into the business of tuning pianos. Instead he went into the family business — home remodeling.
His family business was very specialized, focused primarily on repair of tub and counter tops, especially Formica and polyester substances. Apparently he is very good at it. Well, after all these years he decided he wanted to get back into the technician business. He went out with my dad and apparently he has no ear for tuning at all. Really bad.
So they got to talking and it turns out that his skill set is perfect for a very specialized piano technician skill in high demand: piano refinishing. The high gloss coating on a piano is made of polyesters and this guy’s background in mixing, blending, etc., is perfect for this.
This was very interesting to me. We always talk about businesses pivoting, where it focuses on a chunk of its expertise and builds that into a full-scale business. Here’s an example of a people pivot.