Some of you may have read about the “Latte Factor” which warns about the dangers of squandering your money away on needless things. In general, I agree about bringing awareness to spending habits, where it’s unconscious and automatic. But I think they missed the big picture on this one.
According to the Latte Factor, if you’re spending $3/day for coffee 5 times a week, that’s $15/week. If you do that all year long (let’s say 50 weeks), then you’ll spend $750/year on coffee. According to the authors of that theory, you’re wasting that money…
I see it in a totally different way. And I promise, I’m not just trying to justify my latte habit… My 3 bucks goes to rent on a chair for about an hour or so each morning. I meet people, catch up with friends, read the fliers on the posting board, and oh yeah, they throw in a latte, just the way I want it. Not bad for $3. And the people I meet aren’t in my industry. They don’t work for the same companies I do. They’re outside my normal sphere of acquaintances. I meet people from all walks of life. And I have conversations that I never would have had, if I hung with my close friends.
Now if you’re in business, especially business for yourself, there isn’t any greater marketing than you being seen, reminding people about your company just by your presence. I think it’s strange that companies will pay for advertising and hope that brings people into their store. And yet they won’t use their greatest advertising asset… themselves. To connect to people, be a resource, answer questions, be in conversation about the work they care about. That’s what community means to me these days.