- Connecting and collaborating are essential to most businesses. The best physical location for collaboration may very well be coffee shops.
- Universities, bookstores, retail stores and offices will become more like coffee shops in the future.
In the idea economy, our social connections (social capital), and effectiveness in collaboration are critical success factors. Historically, there has been no better location for the creative classes to work, connect and share ideas than coffee shops.
Starting with intellectuals gathering in European cafes of the 18th century, modern day cafes have become extended offices for sales people, freelancers, artists, and virtually anyone looking for a dynamic, socially rich place to work, talk and relax. Forward thinking businesses and co-working spaces are expanding on the water cooler gathering place to create full fledged cafes to foster serendipitous encounters, networking and collaboration. This is only the beginning.
Universities Will Become Coffee Shops
With rising tuition costs and the birth of free online programs like MITx, it is likely that students will seek to reclaim some of the university experience in cafe like settings to socialize, study and network.
Book Stores Will Shrink to Coffee Shops
“Between ebooks and print-on-demand, Barnes and Nobel sized stores shrink down to just their coffee shops – or maybe Starbucks takes over their business. Either way, customers keep the experience of reading with coffee and those big comfortable chairs.”
The Coffee Shop Will Displace Most Retail Shops
“Which is more enjoyable: Starbucks or Walmart? For the sane: Starbucks. So if you can accomplish your Walmart shopping at Starbucks, why do it any other way?”
Offices Become Coffee Shops… Again
The need for offices grew as the equipment for mental work was developed starting in the late 19th centuries. That need appears to have peaked about 1980. It was a rare person who could afford the computers, printers, fax machines, and mailing/shipping equipment of that time.
Now a single person with $500 can duplicate most of those functions with a single laptop computer. So the remaining function of the office is to be that place that clients know to find you… and that kids and the other distractions of home can’t.
Here are some questions to think about?
- Can your business become more like a coffee shop?
- What would your company look like, if it were more of a meeting place for like minded people?
- Can you benefit from working in a co-working space to share resources, network, and collaborate?
- Do you need university with free online tutorials and academic programs?
- Do you use coffee shops as creative places to meet and discuss ideas? If not, why not?