If you pay for a cable bundle (antiquated, I realize), you’re paying for hundreds of channels you’ll never watch. If only you could pick the 5 most important channels or shows, surely you could pay less. Yet the “must watch” anchor shows are different for everyone. People pay for great bundles, sometimes kicking and screaming, because there is no substitute for ESPN or Game of Thrones.

The same applies to great cities. A great city typically has one or more anchors. These anchors can be built by humans, like a great school or successful business, and can also be more natural like a beautiful view or proximity to a beach or mountain.  You might grumble at the laundromat, bike lane, and funeral home you never use, but at the end of the month still shell out the rent.

What does this mean for cities who want to become irreplaceable? One strategy is to woo existing anchors, like a famous business. Another is to develop them yourself, which means nailing a remarkable experience.

A bonus feature of bundles is that they remove barriers to discovery. You don’t need to pay to stumble upon Narcos after watching Orange Is The New Black. Similarly, it’s cheap to try out a new bar when you already live in that city. 

One final note. It’s not just cities that are bundles. Neighborhoods like the east village and regions like the bay area have the same opportunity to become indispensable.