Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.
Over at Eater.com, Ryan Sutton scored a big scoop:
Union Square Hospitality Group, the force behind some of New York’s most important restaurants, will announce today that starting in November, it will roll out an across-the-board elimination of tips at every one of its thirteen full-service venues, hand in hand with an across-the-board increase in prices. It’s a radical move — while many individual high-end restaurants have eliminated tipping, this is surely the first time zero-gratuity will be the universal policy for a major American restaurant group — casual restaurants included. Never before have so many diners been faced with such a sea change in how they pay for a full-service meal, and what they are expected to understand a fair price (and a fair wage) to be.
That’s all you need to know about the story right there, but it’s worth knowing why Danny Meyer is doing this:
Under the current gratuity system, not everyone at a restaurant is getting a fair shake. Waiters at full-service New York restaurants can expect a full 20 percent tip on most checks, for a yearly income of $40,000 or more on average — some of the city’s top servers easily clear $100,000 annually. But the problem isn’t what waiters make, it’s what cooks make. A mid-level line cook, even in a high-end kitchen, doesn’t have generous patrons padding her paycheck, and as such is, on average, unlikely to make much more than $35,000 a year.
[Meyer] relishes the opportunity to challenge the fundamental way that things are done, and hopefully to make things better in a sustainable way. “Let’s not just use this moment to raise prices and keep the system the way it always was,” he said to me, “and then blame the system for this disparity between the kitchen and the server. I hate those Saturday nights where the whole dining room is high-fiving because they just set a record, and they’re counting their shekels, and the kitchen just says, ‘Well boy, did we sweat tonight.’”
Related: Eater.com features editor Helen Rosner Committed Tweetstorm yesterday to explain how this story came together behind the scenes, both editorially and visually. I’ve Storified the whole thing here, and you should read it if you want a glimpse into how storytelling and design can (and should) come together beautifully.
Alexis Madrigal of Fusion wonders (like I have, many times) if the extreme weather events happening around the world are simply our new baseline:
We don’t give enough credence to the strangeness of living through a baseline change. The experiences that our minds and bodies bound into knowledge stops squaring with the air and sky around us. The most fundamental things in our lives as organisms—the seasons, the temperature, the wind, the rain—suddenly come with question marks attached. To live through climate change is to question whether a warm day or a flower blooming is a nice thing or an omen.
VFX artist John Decker — whose work you’ve probably seen at some point — took a bunch of cool photos of the reference model for the EVA suit worn by Matt Damon’s character Mark Watney in The Martian. I love getting a close-up look at all the little details you don’t necessarily get to see on the big screen.
Here are a few more of my favorites:
Jason Fried of Basecamp offers sage business advice:
Bootstrapping puts you in the right mindset as an entrepreneur. You think of money more as something you make than something you spend. That’s the right lesson, that’s the right habit, the right imprint on your business brain. […]
Don’t raise money, raise prices. Sell sell sell. Get as much practice as you can. Force yourself to practice. Force yourself to learn how to make money as early as you can. You may hate it in the short-term, but it’ll make you a great businessperson in the long term.
[Via our own editor-in-chief Shawn Blanc’s Fantastic Friday newsletter.]
Nathan Barry’s ConvertKit is an email marketing tool designed for professional bloggers. Think “MailChimp for power users” and you’ve got the idea. In this post, Nathan lays out how he turned ConvertKit from a failing service to an “overnight” success:
Too many posts about building startups read like an instant win. They built a prototype, found customers, and then BOOM! They had a million dollar business. Even posts that share some of the struggle gloss over (or hide from their charts) the most difficult parts.
It would be easy to talk about ConvertKit from October 2014 onwards and pretend that we just took off. But that’s not true.
Worse, it doesn’t help other founders who are struggling right now. If that’s you, know that many companies succeed when the founders get close to the decision of shutting down and decide to push through anyway.
If you’re in that spot just ask, “Have I given my company every possible chance to succeed?” If the answer is no (as it was for me), then truly give it everything you have.
[Warning: Video contains NSFW language.]
Speaking of “overnight” successes, Gary Vaynerchuk recently put out this video describing how he got to where he is today. It wasn’t luck, it was work.
Design studio ustwo — whose name should be recognized by fans of the iOS game Monument Valley — wrote an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how they developed their Android watch face Bits (the dark face in the photo above):
We had two insights that drove our initial brainstorm:
- Wearers wanted to have more contextual data displayed on their watch face, beyond simply telling the time.
- Wearers interacted with their watch expecting it to behave like their phones.
But how were we going to show more data whilst still staying true to our principles, which suggested not overwhelming one’s users and remaining glanceable? Consequently, our team sat at a crossroads.
I don’t even own an Android watch but I always enjoy getting a peek into the design of neat products.
Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.