The New York Times Effect

Last Wednesday, the Times ran an article (okay, it was more of a puff piece) about a new gelato shop in New York. (It hadn’t even opened yet). This little shop, called Grom, was the first US outpost of a successful chain in Italy.

I took a few friends on Saturday night, which was opening day. There were more than 50 people waiting in line on the sidewalk. It had been that way all day. While we were waiting, they completely ran out of product. All gone.

Gluttons for punishment and always eager to do research for my valued readers, we went back Sunday afternoon. Another 40 people in line.

Is Grom a purple cow? Or was it a combination of perfect weather, the perfect street, the perfect time of day and the best buzz rollout ever? If they’re busy in February, it means they’ve got more than just buzz.

Which brings us to the Fugees, a refugee soccer team in Georgia. These are kids who were lucky enough to find a wonderful coach… it’s a great story. The team got a write up in the Times a few months ago. Which led to a book deal, and a movie deal and a guarantee of more than $2,000,000 for the movie alone. That’ll put a lot of kids through college.

There’s no denying th power of this effect. The real question is this: can you count on it? Plan on it? Scale it?

The answer is no. It’s a little like planning your retirement by hoping to win the lottery. Nice work if you can get it.