Sunday, March 29, 2015


I head off from Christchurch tomorrow. I have really enjoyed seeing the energy starting to take root in a city that is rebuilding itself. People are pretty resilient. We bounce back. In the past, a city would have to be built around an industry. The agricultural industry has provided that core for Christchurch. 

You aren't your hand. If you cut it off, you would still be you. Same goes for your any one of your ten toes. They don't define you. Sometimes we define ourselves by our jobs. A city isn't its buildings. If a city is just a bigger version of us, the industry that drives a city is its job. Sometimes a city gets defined by its industry. What if a city could think of creating muses for itself in the same way Tim Ferris suggests we as individual's create muses for ourselves. We don't have to define ourselves by our jobs. If we can figure out ways to become our own patrons all a modern city may need to do to make itself awesome is to create space for creativity.

After wandering the streets and coffee shops in the first couple of days, I kept coming back to 'Black & White Coffee Cartel'. It only opened a month or two ago and was started by two brothers. The one is a builder and the other is a coffee wizard. Admittedly the free wifi was a big pull for my blogging requirements but I also enjoyed the story telling. A lot of effort has been put into every aspect of the space. I enjoyed getting a Syphon for the first time. It is coffee, but the preparation is a show. It is like a science experiment with the heated water rising into the top bulb, where it mixes with the coffee. When the heat is taken off, the coffee returns to the bottom bulb through the filter once it cools below a certain temperature.

A lot of professionals end up describing themselves as glorified administrators. The better we understand jobs, the more we are able to automate them. Creativity is required in solving a problem, but in reality many problems are repeated and then the creativity required slowly ebbs away. We also require a job to eat. Sometimes we end up having to create noise to justify why we need to work. The noise fakes creativity. We end up working for works sake. In truth, we know the stuff we are doing that matters is repetitive. We are not machines and so it is the non-repetitive stuff that keeps us interested.

I think it is the guys at Black & White and alike that are an indication of where the future lies. We won't be defined by work. Cities won't be defined by industries. Once machines do a lot of the hard work, we get to become storytellers. We don't just drink a cup of coffee. We want to know where the beans come from. We want the waitress serving the coffee to be excited about saving up tips to visit that farm on a continent far away. We want to pause to savour the coffee and train our tongues to distinguish the different characteristics. We also want to do this with wine, cheese, art, music, dance and all the great things that make it awesome to be alive.

The future lies in storytelling. Christchurch will be a big part of that future.

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