o n  t h e  i m p o r t a n c e  o f ... g e t t i n g  c o f f e e

by Savannah Roach

This post marks the second installment of an original Happenstance // series; "On the Importance Of...".  Check out the series launch with "On The Importance of Self".  One of the best things about interviewing creatives/entrepreneurs/pioneers is finding the unexpected red threads that connect all of their philosophies and this weekly series highlights those.  We met many of the people featured here in coffeeshops around the country and around the world - it's amazing how much you can learn about someone over a cup of coffee. 

One thing that I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t settle well.  I think that’s what John Gartner, author of The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a Lot of) Success in America is referring to when he refers to entrepreneurs having border collie personalities.  I feed this trait by creating a nomadic workspace in the network of coffeeshops that make up Los Angeles, Portland, Vancouver, New York, and pretty much every other city that I’ve ventured to in the past year or so.  Coffeeshops are great for us border collies. At this point in life I would venture to call them ‘home’.

A new coffeeshop, Woodcat, opened up on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park last year.  I will be honest, I scouted it for it’s bright orange Instagrammable wall and particularly attractive looking baristas.  But it had wifi so my visit remains justified.  As I was sitting at the communal table with who knows how many Excel files open (and let’s be honest, Facebook, Pinterest, and Spotify, too), I watched as a couple walked in with two foil-wrapped cookie sheets and a blow torch.  They brought out a handful of freshly prepared artisanal marshmallows, torched them and slid the plate of open-faced s’mores across the bar to the staff.  I had to know them, I decided.  Turns out Nathan Lyon is an award-winning New York Times cookbook author, chef for The Today Show cooking segments, and local restauranteur.  We had a great chat about farmer’s markets. While I haven’t encountered any other blow-torched equipped coffee goers, I have encountered so many other innovators by serendipity simply over our shared love of caffeine.

These chats I have hold some serious weight in my daily dose of inspiration but also are a key addition to my mastery of relationships.  They remind me a lot of these things called ‘Curiosity Conversations’ that film producer Brian Grazer has based the success of his career off of - it’s a personal growth strategy.  Brian has a unique ritual in place that consists of reaching out to individuals in every imaginable niche field to learn about what they do - everything from lowrider culture to CIA torture coping mechanisms.  Curiosity, he says, is the backbone to a relationship.  It’s a way to fuel our attention spans by getting out of “the vocabulary that is Los Angeles”, and it’s a way to earn trust. Most importantly, this all ties back to the aforementioned weight of mindfulness and self-awareness.  You have to be dynamic enough that people want to meet you.  Some of the greatest ideas have started over a simple cup of coffee and as long as we stay a ‘regular‘ within this caffeinated habitat,  we will just keep innovating.