This story starts with history. With an idea. A dream. A passion. It starts over 60 years ago across oceans and continents and generations. Because this story isn’t just about a business, or a business owner. It’s about a craft, passed down for generations. It’s about creating for a community. But, more than that, this story is about making a difference.
The Heritage of History
The violin can trace its roots to 16th century Italy. And, four centuries later, Paul Prier can trace his roots to Germany and to the violin—a passion that flows through his heart, and his blood. But, to understand his passion, and his story, we have to know his history. And that history begins over 60 years ago, at the tail end of World War II.
Those aren't just pretty words. Lenovo engineering yields tangible, measurable results. Lee Highsmith, senior worldwide competitive analyst for Lenovo, offers one example: "When we became Lenovo, IBM at the time led the industry in service rates. Since then, ThinkPad’s warranty claim rate has dropped by over 60 percent. Rethinking and, when needed, reengineering the entire notebook makes that possible."
Paul’s father Peter was born and raised in Germany, where he fell in love with music, and the art of violin making. Peter decided to pursue his passion, and attended music school in Munich, followed by violin making school in Mittenwald, Germany—a town renowned across the globe for their expertise in violins.After completing his training, Peter Prier emigrated to the United States, where he opened the Violin Making School of America. As Peter’s reputation grew, alongside his family of six children, he opened a retail store, Peter Prier & Sons Violins. And today, fifty-five years after opening, Peter’s son Paul is carrying on his torch.
Like his father before him, Paul Prier grew up surrounded by a love for music. From the music itself to the art of the instrument. But, while he was dedicated to carrying on his father’s passion, Paul was determined to make his own mark.
At the age of twenty, Paul left the comforts of his family, their shop and school, and set off for France, determined to learn the art of bow making. For Paul, the beauty of violins and their music, comes from the dependency on something as small as the bow. For the bow controls the sound of the music, the tempo, the soul of the music itself.
Paul spent four years in France, alternating his apprenticeships between the west coast of France, and Paris, learning from two separate masters of the craft, Benoit Rolland and Stephane Thomachot. But, after his apprenticeships ended, he knew. It was time to come home.
Cut from Carbon
Paul returned to his father’s store with expertise in bow making, and together, they opened the Bow Making School of America, where Paul Prier introduced an invention set to transform the world of violins.
“The violin world is slow to change. In fact, the biggest change in 300 years has been the strings. And this? This was revolutionary.”
During Paul’s studies, Benoit Rolland, began developing a revolutionary new bow. A bow made of carbon fiber. And, upon his return to the United States, Paul Prier knew that the carbon fiber was the bow of the future. Paul Prier began producing the carbon fiber Spicatto® bow at home in America. And, from there, he improved upon Rolland’s original design, perfecting it.
Today, the bow designed by Rolland and perfected by Prier is called the JonPaul bow and is known throughout the violin community for its strength, it’s lightness, and its ability to withstand hostile environments without suffering damage.
Different by Design
Much like Paul, who has been building carbon fiber bows for twenty years, Lenovo has been dedicated to developing stronger, thinner, lighter devices optimized for the end user. For makers. Doers. For business owners just like Paul.
Today, Paul and shop depend on technology to help further their work, ultimately relying on devices comprised of the same materials they use in their own designs. Carbon fiber machines, like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. And, much like his bows, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is built to survive hostile environments, while allowing its user to produce the optimal end product, thanks to its innovative design.
Beyond the innovative materials and design, for Paul and his shop, the defining note of their work is quality. Because, simply put, “you can’t fake that.” And for Paul, the hand-crafted quality, the precision, and the time, expertise, and years of perfection poured into each and every violin, every bow, is what sets them apart.
And, that same expertise is something Paul values in his technology. Like Paul’s work, Lenovo ThinkPads are expertly designed and crafted with the highest quality materials, technical precision, technological expertise, and years of knowhow, therefore creating machines that power businesses like Paul’s—businesses who are making a difference in their industry, community, or even the world.
Art Begetting Art
For Paul, and his father before him, it was never about making the perfect product. It was about the service. The experience. And most of all—the impact.
“My father’s dream was always to open up his own store, and to share the gift of music with others. My dream has always been to carry on my father’s legacy, to spread his love of music, and to make music accessible to everyone.”
And that’s exactly what Paul Prier is doing today. Making music accessible to everyone. Because for Paul, the most beautiful thing about what he does, is the impact his art has on others.
“For me, the coolest thing, is making art that other artists will in turn use to create their art. Because a bow or a violin, is a work of art itself. Using the arts of woodworking and sculpture and the science of acoustics, you are creating a tool, a piece of art, that helps musicians create art. And that’s what I think is really cool, and really special.”
Like Paul, the importance of creating a product that can help others create has always been a goal for Lenovo and the ThinkPad line. By developing a line of expertly engineered products that can then help other businesses, and business owners to bring their dreams to life.
A Care for Customers
But, for Paul, the ability to help artists create their own work wouldn’t be possible without technology. And, his continued success, has a lot to do with his relationship with tech.
“There’s a fear in the violin world that technology will reduce the ability to make these instruments by hand. And I’m not on that train. I think that, in fact, technology and our ability to communicate will put us in touch with what people around the world want. Machines can do a lot of things, but they can’t perfectly interpret a bow the same way a bow maker who has studied for years can. And a true musician will appreciate the finesse and precision a maker can put into the bow in the way a machine can’t. Technology can only help us create a more perfect product for our customers.”
And, when asked, how Lenovo, as his technology provider has helped him stay true to his mission, he said, “having a technology partner I can depend on means I can get back to focusing on what I care about most—our customers.”
This is Paul Prier. And this is his Difference Maker Story.
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