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September 09, 2007

Surprisingly, Eater doesn't have a clue about wi-fi in coffee shops

In a really snotty post about the opening of CooperBricolage, Eater shows its pretentiousness and cluelessness full bore.  Instead of examining the concept of opening a co-working space where people are encouraged to take up residence at tables and work together, and providing an open environment to do so, they ragged on the place and suggested that people that wanted coffee and wi-fi head over to a coffee truck that has an ev-do to wi-fi router or a starbucks.  Part of the problem that cafe owners have with wi-fi is that people who want to work in a cafe type environment and use wi-fi take up too many tables for too long, and they wind up losing revenue or having to rush customers out or turn off the wi-fi.  CooperBricolage provides a community space for these people, a super-low rent incubator.  The Cafe Fuego space is unused during normal working hours, so it's a win for the Fuego people, because they get to bring in some more revenue during a time that they would not otherwise.  The rates that CooperBricolage charges are pretty reasonable, especially in light of the comparison that Eater makes. 

If one of these co-working types were to setup shop at a normal cafe, the cafe owner would lose more than the daily rate that CooperBricolage charges, because they would lose many table turns during the time the co-working type was there, especially if a flock of them descended.   CooperBricolage is not in the cafe business, it's in the incubator business, and reliable wi-fi is a necessity there, the cafe environment is an amenity, just as wi-fi is an amenity in a cafe.  It represents an excellent alternative to being chased out of a cafe for taking up too much space for too long.   It seems that Eater has a good eye for the front of the house, but no clue about what goes on in the back, the business end of the business.

I tried to post the following comment on Gotham Gal's blog entry announcing her Angel Investment in Curbed, of which Eater is a part, but comments are closed on that blog entry.

Joanne, you might want to use your position to educate some of the folks at Eater about the concept of co-working spaces, the kinds of places that may help Fred find some new portfolio companies.  They were pretty clueless about the concept when they wrote this post. It would have been good for them to illustrate the  difference between a co-working space and a cafe with wi-fi.  The post crossed the line from hip to snob, and an uninformed snob, at that.  Be an Angel and take some of the Devil out of Eater.

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