There were two main incentives for me to learn French in the 1970s.
The first was that the annual school exchange visit to France attracted three girls for every boy. The prospect of two weeks in another country, away from my parents and surrounded by French girls, was worth learning a few irregular verbs.
The second aim, and probably the one in which I made more progress, was that I wanted to read the Asterix books in the original French, rather than in translation.
Looking through market statistics for consumer electronics sales in the UK recently reminded me of the famous opening of each Asterix book.
My translated version reads: "In 50 BC all Gaul was divided into three parts. All? Well, not exactly. One small village is still fighting the Romans."
Sales of consumer electronics seem to have declined year on year from 2012 to 2013 in all categories.
All categories? Well, not exactly. One small distributor has found some categories that are still growing.
I wrote last month about the "wearable computing" market, particularly in activity-monitoring devices like Fitbit and GPS-enabled watches, such as those being launched this summer by TomTom.
The second growth area Widget sees is around improvements to the sound quality associated with television. In the past 10 years most people I know have upgraded their television for one with a larger, flatter and higher-definition picture.
But as the picture quality has improved, the sound quality has got worse.
Adding a soundbar or a surround sound system not only improves the experience of watching a concert or a film, but also makes the dialogue clearer in complicated dramas. Have you ever had to rewind a television show because you failed to hear a vital snippet of dialogue? You might get it first time with a soundbar.
Orbitsound, for example, is a British soundbar capable of supporting astonishing surround-sound effects, without taking over your whole front room with cabling and speakers.
The new M9 and M12 compete on quality with brands such as Bose or Sonos. The older T12 and T9 products will be coming back into mass merchants later this year at keen prices.
More than 2000 years later, the Britons could still win.
Mark Needham is founder and chairman at Widget
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