1) I stated that being a large company CAN lead to unfocused efforts, not that it always will. But the example you give of Trek perfectly proves my point. Their Speed Concept is a great effort, not miles ahead of the rest of the world as they claim but slightly behind the best bikes on the market according to TOUR. At any rate, a good product. Then go back in time and see when the previous good TT bike (technically and commercially) was launched. You'd have to go pretty far back, because the focus wasn't on that niche in the years in-between.
2) Of course a large company can have different pots on the stove and focus on all of them, in theory that is possible. Especially if they run them all as separate divisions. Unfortunately, that's not what usually happens. In the end, it's often one board that signs off on projects. Take the basic idea on whether or not to spend money on developing a new project. It's not that project's division that decides that, it's usually the overall company's board. Which means that if they are really hurting in one area of their business, the focus is on that and is diverted from other areas.
3) Bike companies aren't as big as you make them out to be, there is no TT/Triathlon division at any large company that can function as an independent mini-company taking on Cervelo. There are the same or more engineers at Cervelo as there are in the big bike companies, and the latter have to be spread over many more projects so they get shifted around from one project to the next. Sometimes that's in triathlon, often it is not. Compared to engineers who are always focused on the same type of project, that warrants the analogy of the pots on the stove.
4) The big companies are relatively so understaffed with engineers that for example the lay-up optimization work that Cervelo does in-house, Specialized cannot do themselves. They have to go outside to McLaren to get engineers to do it for them - ironically with the same software tools that Cervelo has in-house. Don't take my word for it, just read Specialized's marketing materials.
Regarding the idea of showing new products in advance, We usually don't do that and I'm completely comfortable with that. It does sometimes work out negatively in individual cases such as your own, but overall it is the best strategy for us.
As for being late to the market, I think that's all relative. Having the newest bike is not that interesting, we know a certain company will always win that race because they bring out a new but essentially identical bike almost twice a year. The key is not to have the newest but to have the best bike, and independent tests show that Cervelo still wears that crown despite the advent of "newer" bikes. I personally believe more in introducing bikes when they are ready and when they offer a significant advantage over what is currently available, not when "the market" demands them regardless of whether a real improvement is offered. The latter may work in the short run, but eventually consumers figure out that these new bikes aren't better and it will turn against those companies.
Gerard Vroomen 3T Cycling OPEN cycle