Armed with 3D printers and some combination of ambition and mediocrity, thousands of wantrepreneurs bring bad ideas (or good ideas executed poorly) to market year after year. With so many companies failing and more and more plastic filling our landfills, one begins to wonder - is that “Next Big Thing” really so big? Or is it even a thing? And is it more important to do something first or to do something right? Or, perhaps, to do something right at the right time? (see: Apple)
On some level, it’s all of these things. They are the ebb and flow of the free market. After every sad product launch and string of “me toos” comes a downright profound idea, or execution of an idea that goes on to become great. And in between the failures and the great disruptors is a vast selection of good enoughs.
But thankfully, there seems to be a sort of growing agreement that we could all go without more plastic stuff. And as individuals engage great design, they come to expect it - and the bar is raised. There is no better time for makers to create well-designed products (plastic or otherwise) that deliver better results with less effort in a more elegant way. Makers that believe in singularity and restraint, rather than compromise. Makers like entrepreneur and coffee enthusiast, Mark Hellweg.
“Knowledge and appreciation for coffee is huge now”, says Mark. “It hasn’t always been that way, but it certainly is now.”
Whether you thank Starbucks, Stumptown, or the cultural revitalization of everything craft, coffee is, quite literally, the most popular drug in America.
For Mark, what started as a basic appreciation in high school (while working for Starbucks) turned into a real hobby in college. During his years at university, Mark was that guy that everyone went to for a good cup of joe. He would bring beans from Portland and make coffee in his dorm room with a burr grinder and stainless steel french press. “College certainly evolved my appreciation of experience. It was a fun and romantic time - it seemed like it was always snowing in Michigan, and me and my buddies would smoke pipes with our tweed blazers while reading Beowulf. We pretended we were our own Ivy League. Our own Dead Poet's Society.”