Remember, Remember (an ode to Niccolo Machiavelli)

For some reason, in college, I ended up reading Machiavelli’s The Prince in about seven different classes. The treatise is very short, but in being short it gets to the point very quickly. I like and dislike many principles in work, but I believe it can be used in the present day world.

Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.

I’m going to just throw this out there. The three of use are young and have never owned a business. Is that stopping us? Of course not. Hell, we think it’s a big advantage. We don’t have the bad habits that we see other owners have. We can see businesses from the outside and observe what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. We want and need to succeed. In our youth, we may have far flung dreams and high hopes, but what we do have is a firm base in reality. We know this will not be a cakewalk, but we will use that to our advantage. Our place shall succeed, but only because it will be done with intelligence and dedication.

I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.

The wheel needs to be reinvented. It’s stuck in the mud and all it’s doing is spinning without any direction or will to move forward. We are not trying to make cocktails better than anyone in the city – we’re trying to make cocktails right. We will use proper and fresh ingredients. We will educate the consumer. We want to be that movement that changes the Boston cocktail scene. We will look to the past for amazing cocktails, but we are living in the present. We want to invent cocktails that will be in books two hundred years in the future and from there will inspire those to make drinks that will last two hundred years beyond that. It is quite easy to make a tasty beverage, but it is quite another matter to make something timeless. We will do that.

We will not base our wines on Cabs and Pinot. We will find a little known red grape known only to a village in Hungary. We will find a Swiss white varietal that will blow riesling out of the water. The world is huge, my friends. There is so much to see and experience and we want to take you on that journey without leaving your barstool.

But we are not chastising all things from the past. We want you to come in and enjoy a shot and a beer. We want you to feel comfortable in doing this and not pressured to have a cocktail because that’s the thing to do. I will happily give you a gin and tonic. Damnit, I love a gin and tonic on a hot summer day.

We will just have a bar that does it right. We want to be that movement that everyone follows.

He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.

Machiavelli is, of course, relating this to a standing army, but the same can be said about the army one hires to man an establishment. This army can make or break you. You can have the best group of servers in the business, but untamed talent can go awry. In The Prince Machiavelli has a quote which I do not agree with, “The answer is of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved.” I believe that you have to be feared and loved. It is a necessity to be able to walk that razor’s edge in order to have a successful workforce. It’s kind of like being that parent that you can always have fun with, but when you get detention you don’t want to tell them – not because they’ll be angry, but because they’ll be disappointed in you. That’s the way, I believe, a staff should be managed.

Before all else, be armed.

…with knowledge and ambition.

Published in: on November 5, 2009 at 4:48 am  Leave a Comment  

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