Posts tagged new york
“ The men sweated a lot in those lofts, and I remember one worker who had a peculiar way of dripping. He was a tiny fellow, who disdained scissors, and, at the end of a seam, always bit off the thread instead of cutting it, so that inch-long strands stuck to his lower lip, and by the end of the day he had a multicolored beard His sweat poured onto those thread ends and dripped down onto the cloth, which he was constantly blotting with a rag.”
“ Part of the problem with the place is that there’s absolutely nothing in the culture that puts the brakes on people’s narcissism. It is, by its very nature, an infinitely gentle, endlessly indulgent place that encourages people to believe at every turn that they are exceptional human beings for having been enlightened enough to make their home in God’s perfect paradise at the dawning of the Age of the Technological Aquarius.”
While I agree with his assessment, I disagree that San Francisco’s over-tolerance is purely a bad thing. In fact, it’s almost certainly it’s best asset, as David Cole asserts, creating an environment where it’s okay to try new things and fail because the risks are so low. This leads to lots and lots of little annoyances while nurturing very few honest gems. I’ll gladly endure 100’s of gimmicky, also-ran start-ups in exchange for Twitter and Google (though I almost certainly could not endure Buzz’s own experience immersed in all those start-ups).
Blue Bottle Coffee represents both the gift and the curse of San Francisco’s lack of narcissistic brakes. Here’s a company driven by the belief that coffee isn’t good unless it’s perfect, a wholly impractical, elitist view that’s able to fly in San Francisco. Blue Bottle invested in prime real estate, flew in $20,000 mono-tasking coffee brewers, and charged upwards of of $4 a cup for straight drip. This is both ridiculous and wonderful.
But the same lack of brakes also enables their maddening refusal to serve me an ice coffee without milk or sell me a 1/4 lb of ground beans for my Melitta at work (where a grinder would probably not be a good idea). In the end, their narcism is an annoyance I’ll gladly support.