December 31, 2013

Sacrificing personal space, overemphasizing common areas

London, last leg of our year-end Family holiday.  Yesterday, we arrived at the Citizen M Hotel Bankside.  Cool check-in process all automated, borrowing a chapter from curb side check-ins at airports or ATMs.

What I thought was very interesting was the pod bedroom concept, which I had already experienced at the Pod 51 Hotel in NYC.  More and more, I seem to see a trend in urban boutique hotels that are sacrificing personal space and overemphasizing on the lounge experience that fuses canteen-style dinning, bar, working stations with Mac computers, with a fantastic attention to design that feels very socially inviting. It reminds me of how Virgin Atlantic re-conceptualized airport lounges decades ago and created a new industry standard.

I wonder if this hotel movement has any correlation with so many news articles I've been reading on how families are leaving suburbia for smaller living space in more centrally-located urban locations to be closer to work and study but also taking advantage of many urban renovation projects.  Speaking to friends from around the World, I keep hearing that many don't actually need such a large house in a place that requires commuting by car everyday, taking out the SUV just for latte.  High street versus suburban mall.  Running through century-old parks versus treadmill in the two-car garage.

This is exactly what happened to our Family this year.  We moved from a large house in a Sao Paulo suburb to an apartment with half the living space in Madrid's downtown that allows us to walk to the wonderful Retiro Park, Mercado de La Paz or the Prado Museum.  Sacrificing personal space to be able to live close to fabulous common areas.

It's another example of Adam Morgan's 'Sacrifice and Overcommit' principle from his book Eat Big Fish.  Make sure you obsessively focus on the things you really value, or in business, on the things you can execute better than anyone else and de-emphasize the rest.

Coming to think of it, what a nice thought as we move into 2014.  London is always so inspiring...

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