- An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning.
- The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group.
From the above definitions one may then extract that a control group would benefit by coming together first before allowing competition to tear it apart. In such a fraternal industry as specialty coffee, sharing information and resources at some level will benefit the whole on the macro.
It never ceases to amaze me when I see longtime roaster/operators finally reaching out for training. Often having been in the business as long as 20 years, there were slim educational opportunities for them when they sarted, so they creatively crafted their own set of rules. Over time, they realize that the momentum of specialty coffee has since passed them by.
To be a maverick and attempt to win a population over one persona at a time is both a capitalistic and optimistic undertaking to say the least. Statistically, over time the value of money or more specifically the economic costs are amplified and it becomes a question of if you become successful and no longer when. Someone has to lead and chances are, other like-minded operations will follow. The rest? They just aren’t your competition.
Much of the momentum of specialty comes with embracing the idea of jams, throw downs, community cuppings and even buying groups that also empowers the consumer and creates a “social learning” and thus a larger pie for all to share. When everyone in your community takes the high road, the battle is fought against misinformation, homogenization and exploitation. But if you already take the high road, you know this.
Working together creates cohesive velocity and traction more efficiently and more consistently than you could on your own. A motivated, passionate group with shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices is the definition of culture. The next time you see your competition hosting an event and you are lucky enough to be invited, go, be humble, and stay relevant.