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jimseven #17 - I'd like a second order of consequences

I didn't attend the big coffee event in Seattle this year. I feel like I missed out, though mostly be
jimseven #17 - I'd like a second order of consequences
By James Hoffmann • Issue #17 • View online
I didn’t attend the big coffee event in Seattle this year. I feel like I missed out, though mostly because of missing people. (Knowing full well that these sort of events are terrible times to actually connect meaningfully with far-flung friends.) 
So, if you’re hoping for the scoop on new products - I’m going to disappoint you. From afar there seems to be a lukewarm reception to a bunch of things you don’t really need. Innovation in coffee seems to lack a bit of direction right now…

The Section About Coffee
- “I won’t be doing this forever.” The barista with a Masters in a complex problem. I don’t  know how I feel about this piece, other than it raises an interesting premise and then doesn’t take it anywhere.
- Is American Retail at a Historic Tipping Point? It isn’t about coffee shops but, as a subsection of retail, it is relevant. Online stores.
A quote from the piece:
“This is creative destruction at its best,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “We are downsizing a part of the economy that is uncompetitive. While painful for those in the middle of it, this is how we grow and wealth is created.”
I hate this kind of language and the people who speak it.
Sidenote: I’ve heard from politically connected people in London that there is the sentiment that London, and the UK, is grossly “over-shopped”, i.e. that we have too many shops per capita, that there are too many coffee shops, restaurants and all the rest of it. This is somewhat true - there is more retail space than ever in the UK and also the US. Hence, with rising taxes and rents, there is a lack of sympathy. Perhaps they should consider turning all the excess retail space into housing… (Considering the number of homes in converted pubs, I don’t feel like this is ridiculous).
- The World’s Smallest Cup of Coffee. I admit it, I’m a bit of a sucker for a ridiculous video. (So yes, I am aware it is ridiculous…)
Things You Should Read
- WikiTribune. You’ve probably seen this online already, but I love the idea behind it and would love to see it come to fruition (so yes, I have backed it). 
- Amazon’s Leadership Principles. I know lots of negative things have been said about working for Amazon (though I’ve only met people who had good experiences there). Regardless, this is essential reading on leadership.
- Two bits of political navel gazing for the price of one: The Crisis of Western Civ (I think Sam Harris is often a dick, but let’s not mix up message and messenger) and Are Liberals on the Wrong Side of History?
- Cars and Second Order Consequences. I love this kind of thinking, coffee needs more of it. Sidenote: It’s weird to think that most kids under 5 will probably never learn to drive.
Two Quick Entertainments
- xkcd - Survivorship Bias. After every “work hard and persevere talk”, they should show this comic.
Thanks for reading!
As always: articles, arguments, thoughts and entertainments always welcome via this email address. Have a splendid day!

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James Hoffmann

Coffee, business, technology, food and that place where they all intersect.

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