One failure doesn’t reflect the wider sector

Darryl Danielli
Monday, November 9, 2015

The demise of digital doyen 1st Byte sent shockwaves through the industry that in many ways seemed out of proportion to its relatively modest size.

It goes without saying that it’s terrible for the staff involved when any company is forced to close, but so strong was 1st Byte’s reputation that it seems most of the staff have already been snapped up.

However, the real shock seemed to stem from the question of how could a company that was at the forefront of digital innovation for decades, winning multiple awards in the process (including its fair share of PrintWeek Awards), and was respected by peers and clients alike, apparently topple over so quickly?

This seems to have led some in the industry to simply assume that if it can happen to a company like 1st Byte then it can happen to anyone, regardless of how good they are, what they do or how well they are run.

I’ve no doubt that more detail on the reasons behind its closure will emerge over time, but the likely truth is that those reasons probably won’t be dramatically different from those of any number of similarly driven business closures.

Of course, it’s true that any business can close for reasons either within or outside of the directors’ control, but we should resist the urge to view what happened to 1st Byte as being a sad indictment on an industry where no business is safe.

It’s a sad indictment on one business, no more, no less and there are still hundreds of other companies continuing to lead the industry’s charge for innovation – and we shouldn’t forget that.

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