Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dry Erase Bored?

I have been going to the same coffee shop on a regular basis for the past year or so. I have come to recognize some some of my fellow patrons, the regulars. It also seems like they are all working on similar futile pursuits: writing scripts, writing blogs, looking at myspace, looking at facebook, surfing craigslist, pretending to think, thinking, writing emails, and waiting for that one call or email that will change everything.

I want to reach out to them. When I see someone staring at the same page of their movie script about two friends caught up in an alien drug cartel's evil plot to smuggle human hair back to their own world, struggling with what should happen next, I want to reach out to them, to help them. When I overhear a couple of girls discussing a guy who did or didn't do something, I want to tell them why. When I hear a teacher support group talking about striking and what they can do to gain leverage, I want to help.

Two heads are better than one. Three heads are better than two. What am I talking about? Group-think. Networking. Helping yourself by helping others.

Here is the idea.

A coffee shop, maybe one you own or go to, should put up a dry erase board up where everyone can see it. When people come in, they can write their name, email or IM, and what they are working on.

Other people in the coffee shop can then contact that person, shoot a couple of emails back and forth etc., and if they both feel like it, meet in person by getting up and going over to the other person's table.

When you leave the coffee shop, you erase your info from the board.

It is all totally voluntary, and anyone can use a dry erase board.

Maybe you have something to say that would help someone else with an ad campaign for edible underwear, and they know a guy that would be perfect to produce your one act play about heroin addicted penguins (he has probably been looking for a penguin project, because penguins are so hot right now). Helping yourself by helping others.

Ideas would be traded, connections made, and the coffee shop you go to or own will become a powerhouse of productivity, fueled by mocha lattes of course.

P.S One time, a person who subscribed to Ideas By Chuck found five dollars shortly after subscribing. Just something to think about.


Anonymous said...

Not to bring a big bottle of haterade to the conversation, but group-think is a BAD THING. It's where people in a group start all thinking the exact same way and no one sees pitfalls in anyone else's plans.

Charles McCarthy said...

Thank you for your comment. If you had been here at the coffee shop helping me write my blog, the problem could have been avoided.

Please, everyone reading this, replace "group think" with "mental jam session" or "think tank" or "thinky think."

Thank you again anonymous, really.

Alan said...

Hmmm, yes 'group think' and committees seem to not be the best way to handle things. Once I was in a meeting with a few dozen co-workers and my ass, I mean manager. The 'problem' was trash on the side of the building where delivery drivers loaded trucks. I made the horrible mistake of pointing out that there were no trash cans, and if there were people would put most of the trash in the can, possibly. The manager overrode that instantly as the trash cans would have to be entered and the minions of brown nose hell all agreed. You will probably agree, either empty trash cans or pick up mor trash from the ground. Group think.
On the other hand, I like the idea as I believe it would offer a chance to stimulate conversation between strangers. Starbucks just well might be the town square of our age, yet all of our townfolk go in and out anonymously. I often wonder what that person in the corner is working on, and sometimes it seems they are wanting conversation. If there were a board where I could see the person in the blue shirt was working on this or that and ailling to chat, we could have a one on one converstaion. Call it a no-strings-attached, easy-to-use ice breaker.