“Trump Soho would be the first new five-star hotel downtown since the Ritz-Carlton opened near Battery Park in 2002, and the first one ever in Soho. In some ways, the project would be vintage Trump. For one, it would be tall. Very tall. Taller, notes Trump’s daughter and business partner Ivanka, “than everything else in the area by a factor of four.” The neighborhood’s zoning rules allow a building’s total floor area to be up to ten times its lot area. Taking advantage of various loopholes (buying the air rights to a neighboring building, earning a bonus for adding a public plaza), Trump and his partners jacked up that ratio to 1:12—and managed to squeeze 42, 45, and finally 46 stories, or 405,000 square feet of floor space, out of a 34,000-square-foot lot. There would be no architecturally forward design: It would be a simple, approval-friendly box, the way Trump likes it. “In New York,” he says, “I can build a box as-of-right [within existing regulations]. Or I can get a creative design, go through ten years of community boards, and still get refused 32 to zero. Given that choice, I’ll build a box.”
This is a perfect example of the "good enough” concept that plagues so many businesses and is the reason why Dell, Wal-Mart, and Microsoft deliver miserable experiences (that people tolerate just to save a buck). A truly remarkable business is one that goes that extra distance (often time it’s very cheap and simple to do) to provide that little perk at the end of an experience that lets customers know you thought about every aspect of the consumer experience surrounding your business. It’s the very pleasant candles in that beautifully designed restroom in that diner on the corner. Since many people use the restroom just before leaving the restaurant, making such a mundane thing as urinating such a pleasurable experience is truly magic and solidifies your continued relationship with that business. They acquired a lifelong customer for a 50-cent candle and a few other little subtleties.
Trump, being the typical American business man, follows the “good enough” principle. He tried, at one point, to invest a bit of money into making something great, but the average person in that community shot it down (because we’ve all become accustomed to the “good enough” principle as patrons of Dell and Wal-Mart). He’s since learned his lesson and now only develops mediocrity in order to maximize his dollar and leech off the ignorant, gaudy people who have no problems plunking down millions for a piece of crap.
If you think hard enough about the little subtle things that make an experience magical, it doesn’t take much money or effort to do so. For anyone who has ever bought a Mac product, the magical experience of opening the box is something that can’t really be described in words.
It’s pure genius.
And I sound like a Steve Jobs snob.