Originally Posted by Bounder
Sorry for my limited English skills, but this discussion seems to have turned on its head. There was no "nuance" in your original definition. For you, "flexibility" means, well, meant, "the ability to do exactly as well what others are doing." Through the thick haze that separates me from a couple of hours ago, I seem to recall that I was arguing in favor of nuance. My suggestion, more or less, was that Chan is flexible because they do a decent job at many things though not as good a job as a house that specializes in whatever it is.
Your reasoning lacks nuance in the sense that you seem to be calling any tailor "flexible" who is merely willing or very basically capable of doing things other tailors do, without accounting for how well he is able to do them, and how well certain things need to be done to be worthwhile. For example, you don't want shirt-set sleeves that are "okay"-looking--as a flourish of sorts, there is little point in having them unless they are done very, very well. Open quarters can be clearly open, yet swept apart at an awkward angle. While nobody would disagree that they are open, they are ugly unless done absolutely correctly. Chan's open quarters are a good example. I'd rather not have them! At the end, the very fact that we are spending thousands of dollars on bespoke clothes that are ostensibly more sophisticated and refined than what one can get off-the-rack implies to me that, in many cases, only
excellent execution should ever be good enough.
Originally Posted by Bounder
Maybe you agree with me now. I don't know. Just for the heck of it, consider this hypothetical. Suppose you ran a company and had to hire a law firm or law firms to advise you on various aspects of your business, e.g. tax law, corporate law, securities law, human resources law, etc. You could hire a top expert in each of these fields or you could a single firm to do all the work. The single firm while not recognized experts in any of these fields, still did competent, even good, work in all of them and they only charged 1/4 as much as the top experts would. Wouldn't you give serious consideration to hiring the single firm to do your legal work even though they did not have "the ability to do exactly as well as" the top experts? Or would you reject the single firm out-of-hand and hire the experts because only the best will do?
Of course I would consider using a "flexible" expert. I do understand that flexibility has value. My point is that it is a very vague descriptor because it does not indicate how well one is likely to execute the desired tasks. The finer and more acute the details in question, the harder it will be for an expert to be usefully flexible. In tailoring, the details are very fine and acute. We are talking about inherently small differences, not earth-moving ones. Also, as I've pointed out before, developing baseline flexibility requires an expenditure of resources that could have been used to increase proficiency at specific tasks. That's why there tends to be an inverse relationship between one's "flexibility" and one's ability to do particular things well. Whenever people argue that Chan is willing to do whatever a client asks for, yet do not concede that there are probably serious setbacks attached to that flexibility, I am admitted immediately dubious. It's not that I think Chan is garbage, but that I don't think Chan tailors are working with pixie dust.