The IT factor and losing sight

Coffee Cupping at HABIT CAFE & CULTUREHaving spent 4 days in Portland, Oregon recently – at the annual SCAA event, I had the opportunity of wandering in and out of the coffee envelope… checking out street life, retail and everyday happenings for the average resident…
With some thoughts to comparing what I saw in Portland to what I see in Victoria and Vancouver…

Within Victoria’s (and Vancouver’s) cafe scene are examples of a magical factor that every cafe covets – the IT factor. That ability to draw line-ups day after day, hour after hour, week after week for all time.

Victoria has a few cafes like this; Discovery, Cafe Fantastico, 2% Jazz, Fernwood coffee to name a few. The Stick in Sooke is a caffeine oasis in Sooke some 24 miles to the West. Drumroaster coffee at Cobble Hill north of Victoria totally has the IT factor nailed to the wall with an endless source of IT energy. It. The it factor. The ones that do not have it covet it. The ones that do treasure it and nurture it… protecting it.

OK. Now let’s leap from the “it factor” in coffee… to retail.

When Andrea and I were in Portland Oregon (and in San Francisco late in 2011) we did a lot of retail and people watching. And the one thing that struck us was the popularity, and near hysterical adoration towards the APPLE store. Sure, they have some super neat products; I know, I now have an iPhone – having just replaced a phone from 2005 or so.

The Portland APPLE store is in the middle of the downtown mall amidst stores that were utterly deserted and dead quiet apart from a few staff that were wandering around. Walk into the APPLE store and you are surrounded by people and staff — and energy… it factor energy.

Again, I get it. Lots of neat cool desirable stuff.

But why has everything else become so unexciting (apart from coffee, food and great beer — still in Portland right at the moment!)?

Have we as a species stopped being excited about a lot of stuff or is this just a bad case of my distorted perspective.

Something like this happened in the early seventies (if I recall correctly) – People actually lost interest in the Apollo moon missions. Most of my readers are likely too young for this… but it was true. After a moon mission or two, people stopped watching the launches and the journey. Can you imagine? And we never go there anymore – largely in part to the cost.

The World is a place of wonder – and I think many of us are not paying enough attention to those things that are truly great, interesting and exciting.

Lucky for me, I have a passion for food and coffee – and although I often find it challenging to find new ways to get excited about coffee — and consequently excite new people about cafe and coffee culture… I still manage to do it.
Because, dang it, a great cup of coffee is GREAT. It is fun and exciting and makes me feel excited about lots of stuff that many of us, it seems, find mundane.

So. Look around you. Re-engage. Find the it factor outside of the most common realms… like computers, gadgets and phones.
Starting with a great cup of coffee or a neat coffee shop.