Jerry Seinfeld On The Perfection Of The Coffee Meeting
Seinfeld’s talks to us about his next act, the web series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and why coffee is the perfect, er, vehicle for communication.
Coffee meetings are perfect, weird little things. Jerry Seinfeld, the Gandalf of little weird perfections, explains why five years ago they became a part of his working life:
“I got married and I had a family and my entire day was not free for social interaction,” he tells NPR. “And eating is annoying and difficult to arrange, [and it’s] hard to choose places. And meeting someone for coffee suddenly seemed like a wonderful, compact, accessible and portable social interaction.”
As Seinfeld and NPR host Steve Inskeep discussed, coffee’s so great because it gives us something to with our hands: Seinfeld says that not having a cup to play with is like a comedian without a microphone—using a clip-on thing makes the audience feel uncomfortable. The coffee is a prop, giving you something to look at when you need to think, which is a key to communication, whether workplace or not.
“It also obviously gets people talking,” Seinfeld says, “You have coffee and for some reason it makes you talk a lot.”
The talking has an effect: As an MIT Media Lab study has found, teams that go on coffee breaks are more productive and have stronger social bonds, making it a stimulating—and low cost—management tool.
And whether you didn’t get enough sleep, you don’t know how to get through the afternoon, or you need a pause in conversation, Seinfeld observes that coffee’s that little help.
“Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup,” he says.
[Image: Flickr user Aurimas]
The Genius Marketing Idea That Put Maxwell House On Every Passover Table
If you’ll be attending a Passover Seder this year, chances are you’ll be reading from the Maxwell House Haggadah—which is the perfect example of how to do branded content right.
Over 90 years ago, American Jews celebrated the Passover holiday by eating matzo and unleavened treats, but when they reached for a beverage they shunned coffee in favor of tea. It seems there wasn’t a coffee brand certified kosher for Passover. In 1923, Maxwell House saw an opportunity and introduced the first kosher for Passover coffee; others soon followed. Looking to solidify the brand in the minds of Jewish consumers in the early 1930s, Maxwell House’s ad agency employed an innovative marketing tactic for the time: branded content.
Well, that’s what we call it today. In fact, Maxwell House decided to publish a book, specifically a Haggadah, and offer it to customers for free with the purchase of a can of coffee. (A Haggadah recounts the Exodus from Egypt, comprised of prayers, songs, and stories which guide the Passover Seder.) The Maxwell House edition was an instant hit. Today, it’s the most popular Haggadah in the world, with over 50 million printed.
Starbucks Responds To Square Criticism: Innovation is Messy
Starbucks’s response to yesterday’s criticisms about the messy process of paying with Square-
“We do not want to sit on our hands. If we feel excited about something, we’ll get it out there, learn our lessons, and then correct the mistakes. That helps us be a leader.”
Starbucks just spent $35 million dollars teaching its employees about coffee at its “Leadership Lab.” Fast Company asked some of Starbucks’s head people why…
I am loving the 3D printed espresso cups we got for the USV office on Shapeways (at Union Square Ventures)
A change of environment stimulates creativity.
Even in the most awesome of offices we can fall into a routine, and a routine is the enemy of creativity.
Being surrounded by awesome team and officemates means being interrupted for water cooler chats and work questions. Being interrupted kills productivity. The coffee shop environment combines the benefit of anonymity with the dull buzz of exciting activity.
Community and meeting new people.
Meeting new people always provides me with new ideas, a different perspective at existing problems, or an interesting connection to a new person doing something awesome that inspires me.
Rotate coffee shops.
Avoid the stifling feeling of routine you were trying to avoid in the first place.
Coffee shop workers are awesome, and they’ll be awesome to you if you are a good customer. That hidden power plug will be revealed, an extra free refill will be given, an introduction will be made.
Don’t sit near the door or the register, if you can avoid it.
Come with a full charge.
[Image: Flickr user Kyle Hale]
Where will you work today?
What’s missing from this Starbucks store? The branding.
Starbucks has been trying to translate its brand into other cultures this year to help it expand beyond the U.S. Here’s a look at one store they’re opening in Japan.
I’m a huge fan of Cafe Grumpy, and have had their espresso many times. Happy to see this article giving them some props.
Oliver Strand, T’s resident coffee connoisseur, takes on the 1.5-ounce shot in his most recent Ristretto dispatch. The bird’s eye images of finished espressos are from Mike White’s Tumblr “My Daily Coffee.” Bellissimo!
Starbucks is testing a new store concept that sounds like a radical departure from the latte version you visit here in the United States.
Located in the former vault of a historic bank on Rembrandtplein, the new shop will be a showcase for sustainable interior design and slow coffee brewing, with small-batch reserve coffees and Europe’s first-ever Clover, a high-end machine that brews one cup at a time. But the most radical departure is in the aesthetic: the multilevel space is awash in recycled and local materials; walls are lined with antique Delft tiles, bicycle inner tubes, and wooden gingerbread molds; repurposed Dutch oak was used to make benches, tables, and the undulating ceiling relief consisting of 1,876 pieces of individually sawn blocks. The Dutch-born Liz Muller, Starbucks concept design director, commissioned more than 35 artists and craftsmen to add their quirky touches to the 4,500-square-foot space.
I buy many cups of coffee and habitually cringe when reaching for a plastic lid. It’s pretty hypocritical to make a point of avoiding Styrofoam, only to slap a petroleum disc on a paper cup. (And yes, I know that carrying a travel mug would obviate the issue.) Fortunately for me (and my eco karma), a designer named Peter Herman has come up with a greener, all-paper disposable cup that folds closed like a takeout container to form a sipping spout.
After 13 years of existence in the U.S (it has been around longer in Europe), Fair Trade is finally going mainstream. As the label becomes ubiquitous, CEO Paul Rice is taking the standard into new industries and to new heights. Read more on The Mainstreaming Of Fair Trade