Espresso: it’s just more efficient 

IMG_0742As I’ve written about in other posts, in this new phase of my life, I’m really seeing how precious time is.  It’s our most valuable resource.

I’m also a huge coffee lover. I’ve perfected my setup to make a great pour over coffee. But that takes time. And let’s be honest. 99% of the time we drink coffee for the caffeine. It’s caused me to get into drinking espresso.

Espresso is the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee but it’s a lot smaller. It’s quick and easy. In a minute, you have your caffeine hit and you get back on with your day.

Plus you can really taste the flavor of the coffee. In a latte from Starbucks, you just taste milk and sugar, especially if you’re drinking the venti peppermint mocha. (Let’s be honest. That’s not coffee.) With espresso, you actually taste coffee. Crazy to drink coffee and taste coffee. If you’re like, “oh coffee… espresso tastes nasty.” Maybe you’re drinking nasty coffee.

It’s funny how drinking espresso in the United States is so rare, depending on where you are.  (I’ve found it to be much more common when I’ve traveled abroad.) I remember once my wife and I were traveling, to a smaller town. We went to the closest coffee shop. I ordered a double espresso. They were like “espresso… with what?” They were shocked that someone could order espresso by itself.

Do you drink coffee? Have you gotten into drinking straight espresso?

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Webinars Make Conferences Less Worthwhile 

I’ve spoken at many conferences where I’ve traveled far and spent considerable money to talk to a room of 50 people. Over the last month and half, I’ve participated in or produced 3 webinars that reached together over 400 people.  And I did it from the comfort of my own home. 

The ease of holding a webinar and attracting a considerable crowd definitely makes attending or speaking at a conference a little less worthwhile. When you speak at a conference, you just get the pleasure of communicating your ideas and maybe the email addresses of as many hands you can shake after. When you hold a webinar, you get your message out there  and you get everyone’s email address. It’s fantastic. 

For conferences, there’s one thing that online can never fully replicate: the serendipitous connections. A good conference will attract great people that connecting with will be worth the price of admission. For as long as I’ve been going, SXSW has been about connecting with the people over the content. 

How will conferences change over the next few years to accommodate this?  Like could I hold a virtual conference that was a series of webinars? 

Resource for Learning How to Code

After yesterday’s post, I got a lot of questions from friends and readers asking for available resource for learning how to code.

Code Academy – These are incredible self-driven online courses that’ll teach you how to code. It’s free and covers everything from basic things like HTML & CSS to programming Python. If you’re just looking to get your feet wet, this is a great way to do it.

Skillshare – More online classes.

General Assembly (GA) – They provide a mix of both online and in person classes, if you have the pleasure of having a GA campus in your town.

The Iron Yard – They provide in person classes at their campuses around the world.

Are there ones that I’m missing? Drop a comment.

Giving Yourself the Chance to Slow Down

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I’m halfway through a two week family vacation and let me say it’s been great. There hasn’t been a whole to do.  We spend time together, eat, drink coffee, and go to the beach.  That’s it.  It’s really forced me to slow down my brain and just think… reflect. It’s awesome. 🙂

It’s amazing how back at home that was force ourselves to go a mile a minute. We’re trying to figure out how to jam as many things into a day as possible. There’s no time for thinking. What are we missing out on… what are we not seeing because we’re going so fast?

The other morning, Miles and I took a long walk on the island and found this beautiful old church.  Then we just sat and watched the waves roll in.  It was fantastic.

Despite the urges to the contrary, I’ve been trying to not touch my phone as much as possible and read a physical book.  I’m reading A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer.  It’s amazing how when you slow down that you find that you have the ability to comprehend a thought formed into greater than 140 characters.

Slowing down isn’t just something for vacation.  It should be something that’s part of your everyday.  I like to take 30 minutes at the end of everyday and just drink a beer. It’s my way of slowing down.  I know some people that run or do spin classes.  What do you do?

Analytics Need to be Actionable

We live in an interesting world. Everything we own is connected to the internet. Your watch is online. Your thermostat is online. Your home scale is even online. They all provide some kind of data or analytics about some aspect of your life.

The problem is that most of the analytics that these services provide are pretty useless. So i took less steps today then I was supposed to.  So what? What does that mean to me?  So, my app got more downloads today than yesterday.  So what?  Why did it get more downloads?

Analytics need to be actionable. You can’t just provide me with a data point.  You need to do some sort of analysis based on that data point and make a recommendation about how you want me to change my life going forward.

I’d love a pedometer that figured out based on my the trajectory of my activity if I’d hit my goal.  If it looked like I wasn’t, it should prompt me to get off my ass.

Let’s make this happen.

What data do you consume that’s relatively meaningless?

Innovation in Coffee Brewing

If you know me, you know that I’m always on the hunt for the best cup of coffee. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I’ve collected six different methods for brewing coffee and have my morning coffee routine down to a science.

On Product Hunt the other day, there were two coffee brewing products. I love that people are looking at how they can innovate around the brewing process. It’s going to continue to make great coffee something that’s accessible to more people.

Nomad is a portable hand powered espresso maker.

The acaia pearl is a scale that hooks up to your iPad and will walk you through each step of the process to do a pour over.

Do you have any coffee gadgets?

What is Community and How Do I Build One?

A really common job title that you’re starting to see crop up in corporate America is “community manager.” Marketing departments are striving to build “community.” But… what do they mean by community? Can companies have one? How do you get one? Can you buy one? What‘s the value of a community?

What is a community?

A community is a group of people that have come together for a common cause or purpose. They’re united in wanting to accomplish something. They support eachother in doing that one thing.

For example, you likely have a neighborhood association. This is a community of people that want to maintain your neighborhood as a great place to live. They’ll schedule meetings, hold events, and raise money to that end.

As a new dad, I’ve been looking into a lot of dad groups. These are amazing communities where dad’s can give advice, help, and support eachother as they walk through this new chapter of their lives. (Coincidentally, this is a market opportunity. There doesn’t seem to be disapproprinate amount of new mom stuff vs new dad stuff.)

Can corporations & products have communities?

Yes and no.

No in the sense that a community doesn’t just form of people that are passionate about a product. People don’t care about what a product is. People care about what a product does for them and how it enhances their life. Thus in the same manner, as we talked about earlier, communities form around a common vision, purpose, or goal.

Apple is famous for not marketing the specifications for their computers, tablets, and phones(like their competitors do) but showing people using Apple products doing the things that they’re passionate about. Apple users are part of the greater creative class. They’re tinkerers. You see this manifest itself in the most concentrated sense in things like Apple User Groups.

WordPress is the blog/content management platform produced by the team at Automattic. It’s powers a good portion of the internet. They have user conferences across the globe called WordCamps. At these conferences, WordPress user get together to discuss the latest innovations within the platform and its extensions.

But I contend that WordPress community isn’t really about WordPress. It’s a community of users that contribute to a product that gives users a platform for more effortless self-expression. This higher purpose is what captivates people around the world to be part of the WordPress community.

Yours Probably Already Exists.

So, now you’re thinking… I gotta go build a community for the higher purpose that my product wants to advance. HOLD UP! Chances are the ideal community for your company already exists.

I was doing a mentoring for a company in Northern California that distributed children’s books via tablet devices. Their ideal audience is moms. There are so many mom groups, mom blogs, mom forums. There are so many communities of moms supporting other moms in every city in the world, it’s hard to know where to start. I told the company founder about a story time that happened at an independent bookstore that wasn’t far from their office.

An incredible resource for finding offline communities where they exist already is Meetup.com. The site is a platform for groups or communities of a common goal to come together, communicate, plan, and meet with one another. It’s become very successful and thus Meetup.com has an incredible directory of communities that already exist across the globe.

Why Does My Company Need To Belong To A Community?

By being the chief user of your product and being part of a community, you get to meet and interact with real people that are facing the problems that your product is solving. By being an expert in how to solve the problem, it positions you as a leader. It’ll help you to identify potential customers which will lead to more signups and sales.

What does your product do? What communities are you apart of?