“Why Am I at @Starbucks?” #4: Evaluating “Mini Momments”

Mini Moments

Five coupons, each worth $5, each implicitly reinforcing what Starbucks is ultimately selling – small quality moments shared with my loved ones or myself at my local Starbucks store.

I think Starbucks created a really cool gift in its Mini Moments book of gift coupons. At $25, its value is so much more than just a cup of coffee. In fact, it’s not directly about coffee at all. What it is about is gifting someone five unique $5 Starbucks Moments that probably involve coffee.

Here’s an example of how it works. Today I’m at Starbucks to be to myself because I need do some work. Mini Moments has something for me, a $5 “Me Time” coupon ready for me to cash in. This is perfect because I love using Starbucks for such occasions. But this little book doesn’t stop there! If I want to connect with a friend I haven’t chatted with in a while, they have a “Let’s Hang Out Together” coupon I can use to finance just such a get together at a Starbucks most convenient to us both.

There’s really nothing more to “Mini-Moments” than that. But it’s the simplicity that’s so attractive: Five coupons, each worth $5, each implicitly reinforcing what Starbucks is ultimately selling – small quality moments shared with my loved ones or myself at my local Starbucks store.

What’s more, each coupon serves as its own registrable gift card  to a Starbucks Rewards account because why not? Kudos to the Rewards team for coming up with a way to market much more than a gift card, perfect for  buying much more than just my favorite drink.

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“Why Am I at @Starbucks?” #3: Doing Petal 1

Before you find your way, you have to find yourself – Something I came up with while sitting at Starbucks (but I’m probably recalling something I’ve heard before).

I am at this Starbucks for it’s minimalist decor and laid back environment. It’s the perfect place to dig in and get to the hard work of reinventing myself.

Despite it’s billing as such, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2013 is less about finding a good job and more about me finding myself. I’m at Starbucks today, especially this particular store on East 7th Street in Charlotte, because I  need to limit my distractions. I think this store’s minimalist decor is just the setting to inspire the needed focus for me to curate petal 1 of Bolles’ “Flower,” a.k.a. the “I am a person who knows…” petal.

My drink is a Tall Pike with Soy. I’m plugged into my shuffled “Perspective” playlist on Spotify. Now it’s time to sort places the things/idea of of which I know the most into two lists: Not interesting and Very Interesting.

UPDATE 5:31 pm: 

I’m at home now and I’m glad to tell you that everything about my time at Starbucks was awesome. Starbucks did what they always do in terms of good customer service and what really made this day good was that I plugged into Bolles and really and loved it. So far it seems to be a great read for anyone who wants to prepare for that next career move by figuring out who they are professionally.

Petal 1 of my self-assessment is proceeding very deliberately and is about halfway done. But I don’t care about the slow pace because this meaningful work has helped me appreciate my value so much more already.

 

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“Why Am I at @Starbucks?” #2: Thinking of 2033

I’m still in the process of creating a better future for myself. Today I’m over at Starbucks across from UNCC. I’m thinking about the kids who attend this place and wonder where they’ll be 20 years from now. Surely some will start assuming reins of civic and corporate power 20 years from now. Those young elected leaders and executives will have done so, most likely, because they’re paying their dues right now – partying less, working on themselves more.

20 Years from now, it’ll be a few days into 2033 and I’ll be 59 going on 60 in March. I consider that 1993 is so unrecognizable to today and wonder what our world will be like 20 years into the future. The guy sitting to my left looks like he could be 21 or 22. He’s plugged in to his iPad and reviewing a collaborative Google Drive spreadsheet as it takes shape before his eyes. I’d yet to set up and email account in 1993 and had no idea what a browser was but now this guy beside me is working on spreadsheet with at least one other person who’s at who-knows-where.  I wonder what this guy to my left will be like in 20 years. Today he’s having fun with a Spreadsheet, so does that mean he’ll be some sort of leading accountant? Will he be married to some woman (or man) and have a nice family. Maybe things don’t go so well for this guy. Could he turn out to be someone, at 42, who once showed great promise but now has nothing to show all because he pissed away his opportunities? The choice is his. If he lacks the psychology see the importance of having a purposeful, ethical, and moral vision for his life now, he’s likely to face a tough consequences for the rest of his 20s and 30s.

Now I look at the coffeehouse floor and think of all the people here. I see so many of us in so many walks of life. A few are here interacting. The rest of us are to ourselves studying, thinking, or perhaps sitting on cusp of a great conservation summoning up the courage to say “Hello.”

In this day and age, randomly saying Hello to people and being friendly seems weird, weirder than it should – at least it is to me. 20 years from now will we even less of us be friends? Will even more of us feel isolated as we sip our drinks from behind the comfort of our devices? I imagine a deficit of personal connection over the next bi-decade. I see more people circulating in public spaces while living simultaneously living inside their digital bubbles. Perhaps the future belongs to those who take this time to leverage technology to help drive more face-to-face, deeply personal, lasting relationships – but I’m blogger not a forecaster, so don’t take my word for it.

However, I find it most interesting that from my studies of historical figures, those who’ve discovered in themselves the constant discipline it takes to exercise genuine concern and charity to help their neighbors have, over time, harnessed enough energy to bring aide, comfort and uplift to the masses. Something about that idea intrigues me. If I can figure out how to keep it’s constant mantle balanced on my shoulders, I wonder who I’ll be in 2033 and exactly what I’ll be doing. One thing’s for sure: I will not be surprised if it somehow involve sipping a Tall Pike at my local Starbucks.

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“Why am I at @Starbucks?” #1: To Solve The Meaning of Life

parachute“We may not see the meaning now. But in the context of our total life, this experience will eventually turn out to have meaning.” – Richard N. Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute? 2013

I’m at Starbucks reading What Color Is Your Parachute? 2013 by Richard N. Bolles. My purpose for this title is guidance as I re-evaluate, analyze and re-tool my life.

Why this now? Why here? Because 2012 was full of set backs that leave me in need of a well-focused professional turning point. I’m here because, as I search for understanding that makes sense of painful consequences, as I prepare to dig in with Mr. Bolles to rediscover and define all that makes me useful, at least I can so where the rewards program serves up instant gratification free refills of my Tall Pike with soy, Right? Or is it? That’s just what I intend to find out.

Well that’s it for now. Back to my coffee, Buena Vista Social Club via Spotify and testing the value of “a great-coffee-experience” as a tool for solving the meaning of life.

Have a great day.

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#ThePPL Let’s Us All Join the #DNC2012 Story

Participants at the PPL watch as Amy Goodman accounts from her many experiences as a Democracy Now reporter at The PPL for her book launch for “The Silenced Majority.”

I’m flooded with emotion right now for how awesome it feels is be a part of history here in Charlotte. For those who don’t know, DNC2012 is here and it’s an amazing time!

Particularly eventful, has been my short time as a volunteer for a cool event called The PPL, the convention’s go to destination for bloggers visiting the city. Among the many offerings, the PPL is providing a low-cost credential with access to 20,000 square-feet of co-working space with internet access – along with several panel discussions with prominent figures like Arianna Huffington. What’s most cool is that I’m seeing the convergence of national outlets like TechCrunch, Ustream, Netroots Nation and Democracy Now utilize this event. A few examples of this: Monday’s events at the PPL will be broadcasted on Ustream’s main page. Starting Tuesday, Democracy Now will broadcasting its daily news show the rest of the week. I got the chance to have a nice talk with their Sr. Producer Mike Burke and almost go to escort Amy Goodman to coffee.  Players, real news makers like Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin are in the same room as well!

As a news junkie, I can’t begin to tell the world how lucky I feel here – so close to it all and with such intimate access. As for the PPL’s impact on Charlotte – I applaud the players, the start-up extraordinaires, the entrepreneurs who made The PPL happen. I believe they’ve sparked an idea that’s going to bring national recognition to my city as great start-up destination. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be associated with this history-making story, one that’s personally very local, set on a national stage. Right now I’m hearing from Amy Goodman on how good journalism is done. She just said that a journalist’s job is to be in the corporate suites of the convention to follow the money trails, but also in the streets outside the convention hall to profile what’s going on with all the “uninvited guests.” I’m getting to hear powerful statements like that. Wow and you can too if you’re here in Charlotte this week.

Anyone interested in learning about great stories, sharing great stories and being a part of great stories needs to be sure to stop by this media haven for bloggers.

As for me, I’ll be here as much as possible because I know I’m very privileged to in the midst of a local start up called The PPL, an event that’s made it possible for me to get up from the sidelines and join the story! Everyone here to cover the DNC should check it out.

MORE TO COME.

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A Short But Serious Word With My Past

I’m only giving myself 10 mins to write this. Because I need to get this out of my system, ship it, and then move on.

In a nutshell as I look back on the on the first 21 years of my adult life, I’ve been lame. So if you’ve ever known me to be in the picture and then suddenly gone without a trace. I want you to know that, first of all it’s not because I don’t care. The truth is that I care deeply for everyone who’s ever truly called themselves my friend, yet I’ve lacked the focus to keep in touch.

Now I know for a lot people I’ve known in the past, time and distances have perhaps faded our connections. That certainly happens. But some of you, my friends, came into my life and reminded me of something – a part of me I was afraid to face. Your life example frightened me. So I brushed you off and ignored you. There’s nothing Kickass about passing over such wonderful connections because of self-loathing. But that’s my honest story. Though it was never my intention to leave you hanging, I totally get the results are still the same.

Today, mark these words. I’m turning over a new leaf.

To all of you who’ve ever challenged me with your love, your drive, your ambition, your competence, I apologize for ignoring your kindness. From this day on, I will be focused and never abandon the promise of your honest and true friendship again.

Finally, I understand that for many relationships the damage may in fact be done and irreparable. But for all of you who are willing, I hope you’ll join me and allow our friendships new places in your hearts to be restored and renewed!

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Repost: Seth’s Blog: Crash diets and good habits

Seth’s Blog: Crash diets and good habits.

Great post from Seth Godin on why good habits will always pay off and why Crash diets, whether to lose weight or market your business, never do.

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