Why having coffee is the foundation for everything I do

Why having coffee is the foundation for everything I do

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I used to dislike coffee. I thought it tasted awful, probably because the average cup of coffee in the UK was made from instant granules.

The first entrepreneur I ever mentored was a boutique coffee roaster named Chris  – and it was his enthusiasm and expertise that got me into coffee, and also taught me something about passion in business. This association seems fitting, because much of my business these days involves ‘going for a coffee’ – around 20 times each week. You would be amazed how versatile the format is: for mentoring, coaching, brainstorming, catalysing, networking and hanging out with friends. In fact, it is the foundation of what I do.

I love spending time one-on-one. I love spending time with small groups. I love spending time in interesting surroundings. Great coffee shops are so much better than ‘doing’ lunches, dinners or meetings in the boardroom and infinitely preferable than sitting at a desk bouncing emails around. They are quick, low cost, personal and informal – and moreover, effective.

It is amazing how much you get done by being out there, talking to people; how it pushes you forward, proactively. Your ideas, projects and relationships develop through conversation and the value you can create out there in the field is incredible. It’s a great investment, not least because it feeds my need for human connection, which makes me happy. It is win-win.

That’s a good job, because I invest a lot in this, and have developed processes to increase my coffee count without creating a huge administrative burden. My wonderful virtual right arm, Jayne, organises everything I do and I use a meeting platform called Timetrade to radically speed up the coffee-organising time. I do this all over the world, wherever I am.

I even do ‘overlapping coffees’, where I spend 10 to 15 minutes introducing my previous coffeemate to my next coffeemate. A new connection is always valuable, and whatever sparks from these interactions and relationships always delights and surprises me.

Let’s take this to new heights and scale it up further. My great friend and master productivity coach, Jason Womack, travels the globe and sets up Coffee Meetups wherever he goes. I love that he arranges them with no idea who will turn up. He swears by the interactions and the connections they bring. I love the idea so much that I will organising them myself.

You see, great connections are not built on social media or in the office. Great connections are built in the field – one great conversation at a time. People who foster and build relationships succeed and make great things happen.

No matter what your story is, or what you are trying to achieve, there are huge opportunities to be gained from spending real time with people. (click to tweet)

So, as the man who spends his life hanging out in coffee shops. I say you can change the world, one coffee at a time.

Tell me your coffee stories. Has the coffee shop culture improved your life? How have you used it to positive effect? How do you fit this into what you do? Do you do something different to achieve results?

Take care.


PS: If you want to make the perfect cup of coffee at home, read this

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  1. The City of London was founded on exactly the same premise; in coffee shops. In small communities like Guernsey you get to see a lot of like-minded people doing the same thing which allows you to catch up in the time between meetings. Saves hours of bouncing round e-mails to fix a time and place.

    The other benefit if you are a wage-slave in an office is that it allows you to escape control-freak middle managers who judge people on the time spent at the desk rather than getting things done in the real world. It might even make you realise that there is a world of opportunity on the outside and that many entrepreneurs are living and working the way they want to.

  2. Defiantly agree with this, nothing can beat a good coffee meeting. Look forward to our next one! 🙂 R

  3. So timely, Marc — thank you! I was just thinking it’s been a long time since I had a coffee…

    But I bet it works just as well for green tea. The benefit of time spent directly with a human being, no technology enhancement/interference is unquantifiable and irreplaceable.

    And if it all goes well, there’s hugs at departure time — icing on the cake!

  4. I agree that coffee is at heart of connecting with other people. Drinking coffee helps me in starting conversation with new people because we talk about coffee when we drink coffee.
    Everyone have their own stories about how they began to drink coffee. For me I started to love coffee in college life (after high school). After my story is told, all other stories flow nicely and so we get to know each other better.

  5. Hey Marc,
    I totally agree about COFFEE being the boost my business needs!

    Here’s my version of the LATTE FACTOR:
    My basic calculation for the annual cost of my Latte Factor:

    $4/latte x 5 days/week x 50 weeks/year = $1,000/year

    My spin on 7 benefits of “the Latte Factor”, especially for people who work remotely or from a home office:

    1. Going to the coffeeshop gets me up, showered, and dressed for the day. (No working in my PJ’s all day for me!)
    2. I see what’s new in the world; skim a few newspapers, post to Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter on my phone.
    3. I get introduced to people I might not otherwise socialize with.
    4. I share what events I have scheduled, talk about my business, hand out business cards, and listen to their questions.
    5. I schedule back-to-back-to back meetings there. (*Super efficient: I save tons of time by not driving all over town.)
    6. I’m visible and in person, in an otherwise virtual company.
    7. I caffeinate!

    I hope we get to meet up at one of Jason’s #CoffeeChats someday soon.

    All the BEST,

  6. In Albania, but the same rule applies in the whole region, coffee is more than a need, is an institution. This because of the Ottoman background we have. To us, all things are discussed in “kafene” (coffee shops), even during the monism when the communist pointed this as habit as decadent.

    When you go to the office of a business person, meet a director or a civil servant and have to discuss smth with him, even if the host has his own office, both go and discuss in the bar downstairs. To this we owe the numerous cafe our cities have. Every western citizen who visited Albania can confirm :).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Marc.

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