Lessons for Artists from Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table
Web3, with its decentralized platforms, NFTs, and digital art, might seem light years away from the bustling restaurants of New York City. However, the core principles of hospitality, authenticity, and community-building, as championed by restaurateur Danny Meyer in “Setting the Table,” are as relevant to this space as they are to brick-and-mortar establishments. Here’s why:
1. Enlightened Hospitality in the Digital World
Meyer’s concept of “enlightened hospitality” revolves around making guests feel that things are happening for them, not to them. Artists can achieve this by creating immersive and personalized experiences for their audience. Whether it’s through interactive art pieces, personalized digital galleries, or engaging directly with fans on social platforms, the key is to make the audience feel valued and unique.
2. Building a Community, Not Just a Following
Meyer’s restaurants became landmarks because they integrated with and gave back to their local communities. Similarly, artists can foster a sense of community by engaging with their audience, collaborating with other artists, and supporting causes or initiatives that resonate with their values.
3. Word-of-Mouth in the Digital Age
In the age of social media and instant communication, word-of-mouth has taken on a new form. Positive experiences, just like Meyer’s story of the maitre d’ saving a customer’s Champagne, can go viral and significantly boost an artist’s reputation. On the flip side, negative experiences can spread just as quickly. So, ensuring a positive and memorable experience for every interaction is crucial.
4. Laying a Strong Foundation for Expansion
As artists consider expanding their reach, collaborations, or venturing into new platforms, Meyer’s advice to ensure a strong foundation and not rush into opportunities is invaluable. Expansion should be strategic, with a clear understanding of the artist’s core values and vision.
5. Timing and Context in Expansion
Meyer emphasizes the importance of timing and context when considering expansion. For artists, this could mean understanding the right moment to launch a new collection, enter a new platform, or even diversify into different forms of digital art. Being attuned to the pulse of the community, technological advancements, and market trends can guide these decisions.
6. Giving in Abundance
Meyer’s principle of giving first and giving abundantly can be a game-changer. Artists can adopt this by offering exclusive content to their loyal followers, providing free mints, or even providing educational resources to budding artists. This not only fosters goodwill but can also build a loyal and engaged community.
7. Accountability and Continuous Improvement
Meyer’s restaurants thrived on a culture of mutual respect, accountability, and learning from mistakes. Artists can create a similar culture by being open to feedback, acknowledging errors, and continuously iterating on their work. This approach not only enhances the quality of their art but also builds trust within the community.
8. Engaging with the “Press” and Influencers
Just as restaurants value critics and press, artists should recognize the power of influencers, bloggers, and critics within the digital art and crypto space. Engaging with these individuals, inviting them to review or showcase their work, and even collaborating can amplify their reach and reputation.
9. Personal Touch in a Digital World
Meyer emphasizes the importance of personal connections in the restaurant business. For artists, this could translate into engaging directly with their audience through platforms like Discord, Twitter Spaces, or DMs. Personal interactions, even in a digital space, can foster loyalty and create a tight-knit community.
10. Adapting to Feedback
Restaurants thrive on feedback, both positive and negative. Artists should be open to constructive criticism, using it as a tool for growth and refinement. The decentralized nature of Web3 platforms often means direct and immediate feedback, which can be harnessed for continuous improvement.
11. Building a Brand, Not Just Art
Meyer’s restaurants are not just about food; they represent a brand, an experience. Similarly, artists should think beyond individual pieces and consider their overall brand identity. This includes their online persona, the narrative behind their art, and the experience they offer to their community.
12. Consistency is Key
Just as diners expect a consistent experience every time they visit a restaurant, the audience expects consistency from artists. This doesn’t mean producing repetitive art but maintaining a consistent quality, engagement level, and brand voice.
13. Educate and Elevate
Meyer believes in educating his customers about the intricacies of the dishes, wines, and more. Artists can take a similar approach by educating their audience about the art creation process, the technology behind NFTs, or the story behind specific artworks. This not only adds value but also elevates the audience’s appreciation of the art.
In Web3, the principles of hospitality, community, and authenticity remain timeless cornerstones. While the mediums may differ, the essence of creating memorable experiences, forging genuine connections, and building a brand with integrity remains unchanged. As artists chart their course in this digital frontier, they’d do well to remember that the wisdom from a New York City restaurant’s bustling floor might just hold the blueprint for their success in the virtual realm. By embracing these tenets, artists are not only poised to thrive but also to redefine the very fabric of digital artistry, creating spaces that resonate, inspire, and endure.