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Identity Crisis

One of the best things I learned during college (or at least during the internships I did during college) was not to become a generalist. A much better strategy is to find something you can do best and specialize in it. If it works for people, it ought to work for businesses.. and yet, since moving to Arlington, I've found more places than I expected that apparently act as "jack of all trades, master of none".

There are coffee shops that also want to be gourmet restaurants and upscale bars. There are restaurants that try to be brunch-mecas on Saturday morning and the hottest dance club by Saturday night. There are bars that come across as laid-back places to watch sports during happy hour and attempt to transition into upscale lounges after sundown.

I feel like many of these places are mediocre at the few things they do and great at none of them.

(from Flickr user wallyg)

If I ever own a coffee shop or a restaurant or a bar, I want my business to be known as the best place in town for something; whether it's the best cup of coffee or the best wing night or the best tap of draft beer.

When I visited New York, I think what appealed to me about Williamsburg is that many of the bars around the neighborhood have some kind of gimmick. There's the place with the awesome 25-cent old-school arcades games; the place that gives you a free pizza with every beer; and the place that's known for its skeeball league. It's a business model I can get behind.

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