“Who you know” isn’t as important as “Who wants to know you”

How many times are we going to say “I know them” before we ask that person if they know us?

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I think that one of the most important things that I’m learning through my experiences as a startup company owner, is that it’s not enough to just experience something, meet someone, build something or admire an event: you have to take it to the next level.

I’ve always been decent at connecting with people. I’ve met thousands of people around the world in hundred of different industries and just as many different interests. For almost every problem that someone has come to me that needed solved, I had a connection with someone who could (and did) help solve it. That’s important.

If you look over all of my life and see the awesome opportunities that I’ve had to meet people, you’ll find that only a small minority of those meetings led to anything worthwhile, if anything at all. For most of us, this is absolutely the case. We meet someone, talk for a few moments, say “Have a great day” and move on, never to see that person again.

That’s not how experienced CEO’s, business owners and startup founders act in order to achieve their goals, though. They always take those connections a step further.

As a startup business owner, I can tell you that I will live or die by the people who stand beside me (that’s why I’ve been asking awesome people to join my team here). The success or failure of this business is not just dependent on my skills as a leader, but also on the skills and passion of the people in my network. A community isn’t just a group of people who know each other, it’s a group of people striving towards the same goal and encouraging one another along the way.

Therefore, it’s imperative to your success that you don’t just have a long list of people that you know, but that you have a list of people that want to know you. People that will be there if you need to chat, get encouragement, meet someone else or achieve a goal.

For you, the question is simple: Who are you going to reach out to today and take to the next level? Who do you want to bring into your community to make it more likely to succeed? Obviously you should choose this person today wisely, but if they’re a good choice, then that’s the person that’s going to be there to support your goals, especially when you least expect it.

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What is the guddina “community”?

Puppies.

Kind of. Well, maybe the community doesn’t look very much at all like puppies. Especially not English Bulldog puppies, though they are adorable.

Yeah, I don’t know where I was going with the puppies thing.

What the guddina community is like though, is what every great community looks like in the world. Diverse people working towards a similar goal and serving/encouraging each other along the way. A successful community helps build the morale of its members, while keeping the mission focused on just a few specific milestones that the group as a whole wants to achieve.

Guddina’s community looks like that. Yes, it is about coffee – but that’s just what is seen on surface. Here’s a great video, a TEDx Talk by our friend Eric Fisher of Voxle, on what he believes a successful community is. It’s called “Social Design and the Search for Self”, and eventually he does go into some thoughts behind Social Design Strategy and how that works on the web, but at its core it is a great way to explain why communities are important. Watch it. It’s really very interesting (and very good).

What our community will stand for

As I’m writing this, there are 48 people in our early support group helping us achieve a goal. Our community of 48 people (more than that if you count all of our Twitter and Facebook followers) is testing, reading, encouraging and feeding back to us on various aspects of this business so that we can have a successful launch and grow our awesome community. The 6 of us here at guddina are glad to have such great people surrounding and encouraging us as we go forward.

But we don’t stop there. We’re building a cross-platform social app for coffee lovers, we’re connecting people and businesses with humanitarian organizations and events where benevolence reigns supreme, we’ll invite leaders in various industries to come onto our website (and out to our events) and give their advice on how to become leaders themselves, we will encourage our online community to get offline and do something in their own hometowns and cities. Then we’ll share the stories of awesome people who are achieving significant goals that affect the world around them, and point in the direction of other awesome people who need a little bit of help from someone else in order to reach their own goals.

We’re doing all of those things, because that’s the type of community we want to see in the coffee world.

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There has to be a purpose

When I was a tech writer for AndroidCentral and the other Mobile Nations news sites, I got tired of reaching after the newest devices on the market simply because they were the newest devices on the market. There has to be a purpose for the devices, or we’re just wasting our time. When I heard about how HP was donating a number of Pre 2’s to medical workers in Botswana to combat malaria outbreaks, I was encouraged: that’s what the purpose of tech is.

And when Facebook announced Internet.org yesterday, I got a little happy again. A collaboration of several major internet companies was happening to bring internet to every region of the world. That’s big stuff, and while some people are criticizing the move because the world needs things like water, electricity and food, I still believe it’s an awesome move by those companies. Now other humanitarian organizations can use the new internet connections to better serve their regions and provide support to struggling communities that need it.

In the same ways, there has to be a purpose for coffee. While the lines are a little bit more blurred because of the very nature of the drink, we believe that people ultimately drink coffee for more than just to follow the crowd. The caffeinated beverage does give us the energy to keep moving and achieve our goals, but it’s also the biggest export for many struggling economies, and it’s a tool that can be used to engage groups of people and bring them together. For us, it’s the way that we are going to tell Americans that there’s a bigger world out there than they might be expecting.

Silly misconceptions

Malang Java Indonesia

The picture above is of a slum in Malang Java – the very same Java that coffee is nicknamed after. Java, an island in Indonesia, has very few products that it exports, and coffee is one of the chiefs of them. Many people in the US simply have no idea that coffee comes from other places besides Central and South America, and even those who do know that are sometimes ignorant to the fact that Java is an actual place in the world where coffee is grown, not just a “type” of coffee that you drink.

Something else many people don’t realize: a single cup of coffee takes over 2000 working hours to prepare. In Java, which as you can see above doesn’t always have the greatest living conditions, coffee farmers will work for years to get a coffee tree to yield just a few years of good harvest. They’ll pick the cherries by hand. They’ll run through a fermentation process that also includes sorting every single individual bean by hand, or raking them back and forth over huge patios outside. Buying coffee from specific regions, which is something we will do often, directly helps the economies of those regions.

By the way, there is no such thing as American coffee (unless you’re talking coffee from Hawaii). The conditions are not good for growing coffee (it has to be in the coffee belt near the equator) so you can never buy “American” made coffee. **There are some efforts to grow coffee in California, but we have yet to see any coffee produced by those efforts.**

While we’re at it, dark roast coffee does not have more caffeine than light roast coffee. Just had to get that one out of the way.

So… what will our community look like?

That’s a big question, because we have so much that we envision for our community. But that’s also kind of the point. We can’t do everything on our own: We can’t educate people on what coffee is and how it’s produced, and help people achieve their goals, and support various humanitarian efforts, and encourage people to become more globally aware all while building an app and selling coffee.

That’s why we need people like you to get involved.

The world’s people are diverse, and the world’s problems are diverse. By giving the coffee lovers of the world, which is by far the most popular drink in the world, a place to come together and work with and enjoy the company of each other, we hope that we will create a movement achieves at least some of the goals we’ve listed above (and elsewhere on the site).

Some of our members will write articles, some will host events, some will travel, some will take photos, some will lead movements and some will invent new technologies. All of them will drink coffee (they already do – nothing changes there), and all of them together will change the world.

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