Every now and then I have coffee with people. Some folks I know even have 100 coffees or even 1000 coffees. There’s even an organization in Toronto called 10,000 coffees.

Why do I have these coffees?

  1. I email someone: I need to learn something from them. Whether a process, career advice, or to soundboard something I’m going through professionally.
  2. someone emails me: to learn something from me, whether a processes, career advice, to be a soundboard for something they’re going professionally.
  3. the ‘catch-up’, which would be a mutual conversation about all of the points in #1 and #2. they share, I share, we learn, help each other.

If I can handle the coffee conversation over email, I do it. It’ll save $2. Or I’ll do as much upfront possible discussion over emailit might save us the time to not have a coffee, make the coffee discussion more actionable, or make the coffee just about coffee and life :)

… I digress.

I learn *a lot* from the people I ask for coffee: it’s usually about anxieties related to the growth of Design Cofounders as a company:

  • how do we scale revenue in services
  • how to innovate the agency model and not die like others around us
  • how to build a SaaS sales team that’s sells services too (toughie)
  • how to manage the products we build, hire, and manage team growth
  • how to predict the future so that I can make all of the right decisions right now… <- that one is a tough cookie to crack.

Sometimes it’s just therapy…

Whenever I’m giving advice I’m usually holding up a giant mirror, and I also learn so much from whomever I’m giving advice to. It usually ends up with folks having food for thought, and being empowered to answer their own questions.

I might even kick off an email chain and introduce them to someone else that can help, and then they have coffee! Coffee-ception.

MJ, where are you going with this?

I / we have a general culture and mandate to be open and share everything we learn, etc.

I do it with end-of-year recaps, through #DesignTO meetups, during our team retrospectives, and side-chats. We get golden nuggets of insights…

But I never end up having time, or give the thought to sharing the epicness of knowledge and experience that’s transferred through coffee chats.

Dear DC / non-DC Reader: it would be so epic if you were there for the coffee I had last week with x CEO or y Sales Director. They gave me gold, in a conversation.

I’d like to take a stab at something during the fall: open coffees

We have meetups all the time, and we usually do workshops, find panelists, speakers, etc… and that takes up peoples’ valuable time. It’s a big ask.

And I’d like to be a little selfish with my time (and respect theirs)... so why don’t I turn the coffee chats that I’m already having into open coffees, where we can hit two birds with one stone: invite anyone that wants to join us and learn about the topic we’re discussing?

Past thought leadership (kept a curse word out there M. ;), this is serious advice getting and sharing that’s contextual and specific to our businesses problems. Not generic and retrospective about the past. It could be really valuable.

Running with this… just opened up a Facebook event and scheduled a random day for now… new to facebook, let me know if I did it right.
  • Since we’re okay with making everything in our business transparent it takes care of the content… (yikes!)…
  • I’m okay with a little vulnerability. And I’m sure the stuff that I’m pining for advice on would be helpful for you too, and other folks out there.
  • It’s okay if only 5 people show up, or 200, since I needed the ‘coffee’ conversation anyways… it’ll either just help me and a few folks, or help out a whole lot of folks out there…

Anything stopping us from making this happen? Or how can we make the idea better? It could emulate what we do for UXHappyHour…

Can you take 5 minutes to think it through and let me know your thoughts?


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