Article 121: Pick one thing and do it well

In New York City, there is no shortage of restaurants that serve just one meal. From mac and cheese places to peanut butter sandwich shops to milkshake bars, so many restaurateurs pick one food item and serve it very well. They concentrate their efforts on one dish to make it the very best it can be. The niche allows them to stand out among a plethora of restaurants with extensive menus that overload the diner with choice. Moreover, customers automatically assume that if a restaurant specialises in just one thing, they must be pretty great at making that one thing.

Focusing on a niche isn’t just reserved for restaurant owners. The software company Basecamp owes its success to this model. Basecamp’s co-founder Jason Fried developed the products for a very specific niche – project managers who don’t know how to use software. Fried then worked to make Basecamp as simple as possible, and the company was a massive hit. Years later, Basecamp’s users reached out to Fried and asked him to add more features, but Fried refused. He had a niche he was passionate about and knew that if he made his software more complicated then he would no longer be serving the userbase that made his company so successful. He was right – to this day Basecamp has been used by 16 million people around the world. In 2014 the company was valued at $100 billion.

Rebel entrepreneurs work to make their products simple, knowing that if they cut back, they can pour all their attention and focus into one product, or a small line of products that are distinct from each other. They live and work by a very straight-forward but effective philosophy: pick one thing and do it well.




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