The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

March 27, 2014

Coffee's third wave? The Apple to Starbucks' Microsoft

(Continued)

Thursday, March 27, 2014 —

For all the minimalism, though, Blue Bottle's affect somehow comes off as warm and fuzzy. Like Apple, Blue Bottle assumes that the best customer experience is one in which all of the hard decisions have been made — correctly — in advance. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, people don't know what they want in a cappuccino until you serve it to them.

So how does one find out about a Blue Bottle café in one's neighborhood? Well, at peak caffeinating hours, there are lines snaking out the door like an Apple Store on the morning of an iPhone launch. That's what first attracted Bryan Meehan, the entrepreneur behind the organic grocery chain Fresh and Wild, to the company's Ferry Building location. "I was drawn to it first by how long the lines were, and then by how great the coffee was," Meehan told me. "And then I was struck by how quiet the brand is. … The bags are completely sustainable, the coffee's mostly organic, but they don't feel the need to communicate that. It's a different way of marketing one's values, just through living them."

Meehan was so smitten that he arranged to meet with Freeman to ask if he might be willing to take on a few individual investors who could help him expand. When Freeman agreed, Meehan approached his friend Tony Conrad, the founder of About.me and a partner in the San Francisco early-stage capital firm True Ventures. Freeman's vision wowed Conrad, too, and his partners were as intrigued as he was. Soon True Ventures was considering investing in Blue Bottle as a firm.

Venture capital was not meant to fund coffee shops. The VC concept emerged from Silicon Valley in the 1960s and '70s as a way to get semiconductor companies through the expensive research-and-development phase so that they could one day realize immense profits by revolutionizing computing. Over the decades, VC firms have widened their interests to include all sorts of companies that rely on technology or the Internet to grow more rapidly than would be possible for a traditional brick-and-mortar enterprise. But it's only in the past few years that a few have begun to venture into the realms of retail, restaurants, and beverage companies. And those investments remain controversial.

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Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon Fake news or sign of some more trouble?

    RALEIGH – Of the three situations I can recall where agencies receiving large sums of taxpayer dollars wouldn’t divulge employees’ salaries, two of them ended badly. The third – involving a group of charter schools in Southeastern North Carolina – is playing out right now.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    WASHINGTON - The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • D.G. Martin Where did all these new voters in North Carolina come from?

    “Voters born elsewhere make up nearly half of N.C. electorate.”
    So begins the latest DataNet report from the UNC Program on Public Life, directed by former journalist Ferrel Guillory.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon Some light for Dems in their time of darkness

    RALEIGH – Earlier this year, state Sen. Ben Clark, a Hoke County Democrat, became a hero for a day among his party and environmentalists when his amendment to require more well water testing near future fracking sites passed the Senate. It even gained the support of a number of GOP senators, against the wishes of the Republican bill sponsor.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Maintaining hope

    Gardeners are facing challenges with the weather this year. It seemed like we were getting great conditions in April and May. The weather was warm and we were getting some good rains. Then sometime in June the rain stopped. It got so dry that I didn’t have to cut the grass. While I enjoyed the break, the garden was not happy at all. I was having to water quite a bit to keep the vegetable garden alive and growing.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd I may be a bit behind the times, but at least I can find ‘America’

    I seem to be reading about and dealing with technology a lot lately.
    I  love technology and have always been fascinated by gadgets of all kinds and the wonderful things they can do. You never seem to go through an entire day without some form of invention enhancing your life.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

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