In an effort to make the NewCo piece more readable, I’ve gone ahead and created three additional separate posts, one for each day (the original piece with all three days together is of course still available here).
Because I volunteered in Oakland, my training was at Gensler. And that meant I got to stay on for the VIP Kick-Off party. And that was really, really cool. That’s the mayor, about 15 feet from me. She proclaimed October 9, 2015 to be “NewCo” day (or something like that). She was pretty excited about NewCo.
<— Oakland Mayor @LibbySchaaf encouraging #NewCoOAK attendees to be #disruptive!
But sorry Ms. Mayor, another presenter stole the show. Mostly because, as far as I could tell, he didn’t even realize he was stealing the show. Yes there were a couple other “preview” presenters (presenters who would be Host Companies on Thursday), but this one was probably even part of the reason people attended Wednesday. Ladies and Gentlemen, James Freeman of Blue Bottle Coffee.
Seriously, he’s hilarious, and I’m pretty sure it’s without intending to be so. A few paraphrased quotes (sorry guys, I wasn’t taking notes, so these are just the jist of what was said):
Interviewer: “So I have one of your <really fancy coffee things that I don’t remember the name of>, and you’ve instilled such a desire for perfection in all of us and I’m always afraid I’m doing it wrong.”
JF: “Apparently there’s a level of shame in there too.”
Interviewer: “People are saying you’re the next Apple”
JF: “No pressure.”
Interviewer: “Why do you think you’ve been so successful?”
JF: “Well, it’s not about what the customer wants. It’s about what I want – what I find interesting to do.”
Interviewer: “You’ve gained a kind of cult-following, with many people claiming they started drinking your coffee ‘first’, to the point where people will claim to have been drinking your coffee before you even started making it (laughs). Why do you think that is?”
JF: (verbal equivalent of *shrug*)
Interviewer: If Starbucks offered you $3 Billion tomorrow, would you take it?
JF: (this was a really long winded answer) Well, I don’t know what I would have to offer Starbucks. I could teach them how to make less money per square foot? How to make a cup of coffee slower? I mean, how realistic is that? Is there even a chance Starbucks would want to buy Blue Bottle Coffee? (He seemed to be genuinely questioning this notion)
Interviewer: Yes… (moves on)