Start Up Blog

The art of iteration – coffee

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 17, 2010

Iterating in business is an art form. It’s how we grow and find a path to establish the features that matter. It’s not about more, it’s about finding what works, which means that as we morph and change, certain features must be sacrificed, left or or purposely cut off. Nature exemplifies this. Nature takes time to roll out new features, and is well prepared to sacrifice old ones which no longer pay their way. Nature takes years to develop the perfect mix, but is in a constant state of evolution.

The coffee market has been one of the most interesting category evolutions we’ve seen in the past decade or so. Especially given the drink has been around thousands of years. What’s most interesting is that it was a commodity market at brand and retail level for the largest part of the past 60 years. Granules in a tin which one mixes with boiling hot water. Large brands then competed on price with occasional soapie style advertising.

Enter coffee culture and in 15 short years everything has changed. Coffee isn’t coffee anymore. Coffee is latte, coffee is short machiato, coffee is espresso, coffee is arabica versus robusta. But it evolved slowly, and the latest trend in coffee drenched Melbourne is cold dripped coffee. The point for startups is simple: we can’t go from Nescafe blend 43 straight to cold drip coffee. We have to take people on a journey with us, chapter by chapter. Shown below is another photo essay of  a coffee haunt on little Collins Street Melbourne called Sensory Lab.

The question for entrepreneurs is what industry can we invent a journey to take people on?

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5 Responses

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  1. mildlycurious said, on August 19, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Coffee is beyond even the physical product these days. It’s a moment (or 5) in your day, an escape valve. The new smoke-o, if you like, and less socially repugnant.

  2. Andre Sammartino said, on August 19, 2010 at 9:59 am

    It is great to see Melbourne firms pushing the envelope in terms of the coffee experience. And they’re starting to launch start-ups offshore:

    http://internationalbs.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/could-coffee-be-an-aussie-advantage/

  3. arabica coffee said, on August 19, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Great post! Thanks for sharing it to us… Im pretty sure it blended perfectly.

  4. Ashleigh said, on August 19, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Hey!
    I know it’s a bit far to go for a java, but this is the best coffee shop I have ever been to, and maybe, MAYBE, the best in the whole world…………………
    Barista. Awesome blends, and “vacuum coffee” that I simply had to try, despite the price tag.

    http://baristapdx.com/#menu

    I would definitely pay extra for this kind of coffee if it was in Melbourne!

  5. Company Registration said, on August 24, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Oh and I just had to stumble onto this post today whilst in the middle of a spring clean, havent had my coffee hit in 10 days! Yep great points on the morphing and growing wouldnt we all like a little less commodity within our business and a little more culture!


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