no vacancies

About a year ago Steve and I initiated a policy at Hasbean that we wouldn’t take on any new wholesale accounts serving our coffee as a ‘guest’ alongside other roasters offerings. 

We offer all of our coffees through our online store that anyone is free to order from, brew, and serve to their customers or drink as they see fit, but the closer relationship we build with our wholesale accounts we reserve for exclusive clients

I’m using the term ‘guest’ – I think a better term might be infrequent lodger – I don’t mean the interesting coffee a barista picked up at TED or the WBC or from a friend or customers holiday and serves excitedly and with interest and adventure – i mean the ‘second grinder/rotating espresso) kind of guest that is present in many cafes

As a caveat we already supplied a number of fantastic multi-roaster or guest only accounts when we established this policy – they were there when we started this side of the business, were part of how we built our brand, and their continued support is both recognised and valued – we’ll be proud to be part of their business as long as they choose to serve our coffees, but we also recognised that more often than not an open approach to taking on any account that would offer our coffee made us sadder, not happier – we were working really hard to deliver excellent product and service only to find that the following week we lost 50% of sales because customers fancied a change.

I believe we’re the only speciality roaster in the UK doing this, (I’m unsure of but interested to hear about policies elsewhere) but it felt and continues to feel important to us.

There are a number of reasons why we chose to do this, which I believe are still valid, but it has been one of the hardest choices we’ve made as a wholesale business and one that we’ve repeatedly looked at – I believe progression comes from thinking hard about what you do and why you do it, not being afraid to do something different, but also not being afraid to change direction if you’re moving the wrong way

I’m interested in what people feel about it – I can’t promise that I will change my mind but i promise to read any comments with an open mind, think and answer, and act clearly in response – if you feedback somewhere I might not see (i miss 99 out of every 100 tweets and forum posts) please add a link to the comments

I understand some of the benefits of guest coffee to a shop. To a shop the ability to offer guest coffees may mean

  • a wider range of flavours to offer their customers
  • diversity in terms of origin, story
  • educational opportunity for baristas to work with different, changing, coffee

I understand some of the benefits of guest coffee to a shops customers, beyond the above choice

  • the ability to taste different coffees in an environment you enjoy
  • the ability to taste these coffees made by someone whose ability/taste you trust
  • the chance to discuss these coffees with people you share a common conversation with

I see real value in all of these.

I encourage people to try different, new and varied coffees, in our case it’s one of the main reasons we work hard to source a wide range of incredibly different, varied and new coffees – as of today we have over 80 separate lots, a number of which are multiple selections from a couple farms, most are from the small number of regions whose crops have just arrived with us in the UK, but every single one tastes good, has character and is different to our other selections – we’re excited to be able to supply an account with 2 different coffees changing every single week of the year, but beyond that…

I understand why a shop would want to taste coffee from a roaster other than their main supplier, to serve coffee from multiple roasters, but I don’t see the value of this to a strong, sustainable wholesale business, or more specifically an argument for why I would subsidise the price of coffee for non-customers who want to extend their offering beyond their normal suppliers range

If I want to taste coffee from another roaster I’ll happily buy it at the market price – this week I’ve enjoyed stunning coffee from other UK and international roasters – but when I determine pricing for wholesale, I base my calculations on the goals that help me develop what betters my business for my core customers and in line with the values we believe in – increasing, consistent, volume allows me to buy more coffee from individual growers, to fill containers with more and better selections from a region, to offer a better long term relationship for our suppliers which means a more stable and valued supply of improving coffee that we as buyers can have a beneficial impact on in terms of flavor, quality and therefore offer better choice for my customers

if someone wants to offer my coffee as a guest offer in their shop they would need to buy it from my retail site, pay 25% more, and either absorb the cost per cup, or charge it to their customers (who if the demand for this offer is there wouldn’t worry, right? – 10p extra cost per 20g – this doesn’t make your margin better but better margin was not the intended benefit of offering guest coffees? or was it?)
there are potentially also the following USP’s for a shop selling guest coffee

  • a choice of roaster/brand to offer their customers
  • greater level of provenance for a premium selection

a choice of roaster/brand to offer their customers I don’t see value in this

how many customers are screaming for a shop to offer multiple brands of coffee? How important is that name or label to them? If it’s that important to them is is because the shop told them to value this?

we choose the stories we sell our customers, the things that we add value too and infer value upon – I don’t want people to choose whether they want to drink a coffee offered in a store because of the colour of the bag or whether my business name* is on it – I want people to choose a coffee because the person brewing it wants to share it’s flavours, it’s texture, it’s story and the customer trusts their judgement- I accept that’s idealistic, I work in the tiny niche of speciality coffee that believes in better and I believe in being idealistic

greater level of provenance for a premium selection I’m offended by this

This refers specifically to businesses that have a commercial, compromised main option, but then offer speciality coffee alongside as a weird guest offer for geeks – if you value provenance, traceability, honesty (and arguably quality) with your product you have to value it in all your product – you can’t pick and choose these values from week to week or at separate price points (in the same way if you value a traditional, dark roast, secret master blend cooked in a pizza oven – that’s fine – but it’s confusing and damaging to say you value this and you value the above option)

That’s a personal opinion, but one I believe in deeply, and I reserve my right as a shopkeeper to not to sell to people who I don’t think share that core value

http://colonnaandsmalls.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/the-lay-of-the-land/

i know I’m a terrible person – sometimes it’s good to be bad

reeling back – Lets look at the benefits of guest coffee to a coffee wholesaler

  • Increased volume
  • Increased brand recognition
  • Increased geographical range of customers
  • Increased chance of converting other people’s account to my coffee

Lets get this straight, I want to make more money, to validate my role in the business but also to allow me to be able to buy more coffee, taste more coffee, buy more toys and tools, employ more people to do bits of my job I’m less good at (like thinking about policy!) to be able to learn more, do more and be better at serving, preparing and selling delicious coffee, but with the way we have chosen to roast and ship coffee there is very little economy of scale – roasting more coffee for us means roasting more coffee, not acheiving better margin, the benefit of volume is purely volume

the volume from guest accounts of weekly coffee roasted is small compared to the main volume of those business’s coffee – that’s why it’s a guest – the account numbers grow more easily, with less effort, but involve more invoicing, shipping, logistics, credit control, account management, phone calls – I do not have the resources to manage that well – I do have the resources to build a relationship with a smaller number of people who pay for my time with more consistent buying, or stronger ambassadorship of what my business does

increased brand recognition/wider geographical range – I am busy, I want to get better, not busier – less visits with more value, less sales with better margin and aftercare – retail sales grow every-time a trusted friend recommends another friend our coffee because of something they see value in, at a higher margin and on a more loyal, honest basis

chance of converting other peoples accounts – why would i want someone elses account? if you love somebodys coffee, thats what you should serve, if you don’t love it change it, but why the hell should I try and court new customers? i like visiting places who serve somebody else coffee – I get to give them money and enjoy something different and special – I’m quite happy to walk around a city and taste many different coffees in different places and I meet super loyal and proud patrons and proprieters in every one

less well reported- Lets look at the costs of guest coffee to a coffee wholesaler and their customers

my brand has limited value, it resonates with some customers, it doesn’t with others but for those it does, that resonance and value is one of the few products I have to offer a wholesale customer beyond amazing coffee (which often looks like normal coffee as the magic bit is invisible) – I value it highly, many of my customers value it highly – By being selective with wholesale accounts I choose I can better protect my existing customers

part of our offer is our extended range**, part of why our customers choose to buy our coffee rather than someone elses is that ability to choose from a large selection, to change regularly, to offer something unique in their area – If I’d just bought 50kg of an expensive but incredible coffee to serve for the week and my nearest competitor bought 1kg and tweeted about it and damaged my uniqueness I’m not sure I would feel great about my partnership

my wholesale clients and our retail business have shared customers, true fans who like what we do and trust our recommendations – We want to feel comfortable recommending people to visit our clients businesses but feel uncomfortable recommending somewhere that may no longer be serving our coffee because this week they feel everything else is better – not good for our brand or our morale, may be selling coffee from another supplier that we tasted and rejected at the cupping table due to fault or defect, or selling coffee that we feel has been roasted badly and doesn’t reflect/relate to quality

that last one is really tough – should i assign a list of roasters I’m comfortable my coffee being served alongside/banned ones that just aren’t good enough – i think i can smell the lynch mob’s burning torches

the sum of all of these, and the extension, is we feel hurt by guest accounts – we feel they strip key parts of the value we have to offer our loyal customers who believe and celebrate what we do, damages their ability to grow and develop, and damages our sustainability as a business offering what we do – speciality coffee is not a goldmine, almost every decision we make to improve quality and drive better tasting product costs more, we offset that by locating ourselves in the middle of nowhere, not having expensive retail premises, not supplying customers with table talkers or employing a team of field staff to train/repair/counsel and haggle on price (I am team wholesale – to all my clients I apologise for this!)

in true coffee blogging style I offer an inappropriate analogy – wholesaling coffee is about relationships – lets talk about romance

most personal relationships start with a chance meeting, a friend of a friend puts you in touch, eyes lock across a crowded room, there follows a brief flirtation where you talk about different things and see how your ideas, goals, values pair with anothers – maybe things fall away, maybe things progress, maybe just maybe love blossoms

to us wholesale relationships are about true love – if you love our coffee you won’t want to serve anything else, if you love our coffee you’ll serve it as well as you possibly can because it matters to you – when you fee like that we love you back we work to support and promote you, drive as many customers to your door as we can because we want people to taste our coffee made that way, we build a synergy that benefits both parties

If you are single and lonely you may want to be in a relationship – that’s not the same as being someones bit on the side – that situation often makes both the mistress (apologies for gendering – I’m sticking to the analogy anyway!) and the recognised partner unhappy, and both relationships become less supportive, honest and sustainable as a result

at any point relationships can break down, or slip away – that’s OK – if you fall out of love with our coffee or fall in love with something else you should move on – it will make us sad – but no one wants their ex girlfriend crying in the corner every time they go to work

If a wholesale partners we’re in a long term relationship but you’re sleeping around, particularly if you’re telling the world and her iPhone about how much fun you’re having we feel we’re allowed to be sad, hurt, wonder what we did wrong, where we failed – when we feel like that we quickly fall out of love

goodness that’s depressing – I prefer everlasting love (link to jamie cullum) but I’ll take honesty and good communication over almost anything else, because that’s what builds long term, valuable, self-re-inforcing and growth driving relationships businesses and futures

hit me with your feedback

*coffee sold by Roaster/Brand – I think I mind this a lot less when it’s implicit, when roastery names aren’t thrown in my face – I like being sold coffee by a farm name or a cultivar or a flavour – but I also wonder whether the thought implied by ‘we source the best tasting coffees available at any time from a number of good roasteries’ isn’t a horrendous lie – am I being told that in any shop with a similar statement that every coffee currently available has been qualitatively assessed and these are the winners, or that this is a curation (I’m coming back to that word another day) representing a higher form of selection? based on different values? i digress….

**when i describe our wholesale business I’m proud to prioritise three things only, all of which have nothing to do with me! roasting is easy, the rest raises that to something incredible
1. I believe we are the best at sourcing, directly and with our partners, delicious and unique coffees,
2. We carry the largest range of good coffee, without making compromises on quality/age,
3. We roast all wholesale coffee to order and deliver the next working day – it’s always fresh

 

8 thoughts on “no vacancies

  1. So, I think this is an important topic that our industry is certainly going to have to deal with soon and one that I have been thinking about a great deal recently. I hesitate to call our shop a muti-roaster shop, because 90% of the coffees we carry are sourced and roasted by Intelligentsia. However, we do carry one other roaster at any given time for most of the year. I say this because we don’t always have a guest roaster on offer. Whether we do or not depends on what coffees we are excited about and we do not carry guest roasters, just to fill our other hoppers. On any given day, there may be soley Intelligentsia coffees on the list. We’re ok with that because we think they are tremendous at what they do. Yet, there are outstanding coffees out there that they do not sell and sometimes I want those coffees. Also, there are great roasters out there who adhere to a different style or philosophy or ethos or more importantly whose tastes are different and sometimes I want to work with those roasters. This is what led us to a “guest” program. That being said, I understand that this model is new and causes problems on both ends. I feel guilty when I buy coffee from someone else, but should I? Anyone who knows our shop knows how loyal we are and have been to Intelligentsia. Do you get upset when a loyal account wants to carry someone else’s coffee as part of a guest program? Intelly is very gracious, but I worry. I also expect to pay more with a new roaster than a normal wholesale account and while this is easier to deal with for brewed coffees, it is difficult with espresso because of the waste associated with dialing in coffees, particularly when we only purchase 30lbs or so a week. However, if we had to pay retail off of the websites of roasters here in the states we may have reconsidered having a guest program at all, as it makes selling retail bags nearly impossible, on top of the rest. While your policy is understandable, it does leave me the impression that you do not want shops to carry you in a limited capacity at all and it does prevent the development of a relationship if I cannot deal with a representative and ask questions etc. We have good relationships with the short list of roasters that we work with and these relationships are important to me as well. We carry guest roasters for several months at a time, so that we can get to know particular styles and philosophies. I don’t want the tastes of my staff to become calibrated to one set of values and to devalue another set. We belive the baristas job is to interpret coffees, to see them through the lens of our own culinary values and to display them conceptually as a reflection of this. I agree, when you say that we sell the customers what stories we choose to and this is the story we tell. We don’t sell roasters, we sell coffees, but if we only ever sold coffee from one roaster who has a signature style, aren’t we selling that roaster? I know that a lot of shops think that roasters are choosing coffee in a completely objective matter, but in reality preferences are different, even cupping protocals are different. I’ve cupped with roasters who value acidity more than sweetness; others who value sweetness more than clarity, some who love naturals and others who won’t even consider them. I think these preferences guide the decisions of roasters and all the coffees they purchase. At the shop level, I think these preferences can be tasted and so an Ethiopia from Intelly and another from George Howell will be valued differently and different qualities sought. The thing is I think all these preferences have value and sometimes it’s important to us to have one instead of another. Of course, this only applies to companies that source and roast and taste at a very high level. I’m not sure if an account like us is ever “worth it” to a roaster, even if we pay a little more and rarely ask for samples. Even if we represent their coffees well and articulate their work through our own vision, I’m not sure what value there is besides what you’ve mentioned, yet somehow the idea that “guest” programs should disapear, disheartens me.
    Lastly I just wanted to apologize if this comment seems disjointed and unfocused. I’ve been running in and out of the office writing this and working on bar all day, but it is something I have been wondering a lot about so thanks for posting this. I also wanted to say that I have great respect for what you do. I had the pleasure of working with your coffees during the first Coffee Common at TED and have been following you since.

    • Hey Richard

      thanks for commenting – this is exactly the conversation I wanted to engage in and I really appreciate the points – my post is a very one sided argument and I really want to understand the issues better – i also apologise for the delay in replying – thinking is hard, slow work!!!!

      Firstly, I completely get your offer – This will sound incredibly hypocritical but I would probably be looking at something similar if I was in your role as cafe owner- if there are amazing coffees available i want to taste and share them -the reasoning makes perfect sense that sometimes a roaster you love and support doesn’t offer you the full choice/story you want to offer your customers and you work with others to fill these gaps

      for us that leaves a couple challenges but also perhaps recognises a difference in our particular business as opposed to many other speciality roasters. The difference certainly in the UK is that due to our predominantly retail model we carry a really large range of different coffees, covering a wide taste/origin spectrum and actively work to fill any vacant spaces with the best options we can find, hopefully meaning that we’re not limiting a shops choice of what they can offer.

      That said we defintely have our own style and opinions (I respect but don’t share Intelli’s opinion on naturals, We have an equally unique but right (ha) opinion on espresso roasts) and I understand your points about not wanting staff and customers to be ‘sold’ that and only that.

      I guess in honesty my business concern is less with guest offerings than the fact that other companies customers, looking for extended range, but not pushing their existing supplier to satisfy this (and occasionally using less good for their ‘house’ because of price or convenience) expect subsidised pricing

      In terms of the price implication on your business of buying guest coffees at retail (sorry to keep using the G word – we definatly need to find a way to differentiate the many models!) a great deal of this could be laid at our feet again because of our retail focussed model – we try and price low and give good value for our retail customers and maybe this doesn’t leave enough margin for effective tiered pricing – that said a number of my customers charge a lot more for retail bags than we do and sell a lot and successfully – due to the additional value and convenience of a barista helping a customer through the choice and transaction

      there may also be additional differences in pricing in the US as opposed to here – my wholesale customers get a 25-35% discount on coffee including the shipping but not sure how retail pricing would translate your costs for espresso – I guess I’d still say that I’d choose to add the premium into my pricing for the guest offering and let the market decide how much it’s desired

      If i was opening a cafe in the UK I’d probably be excited about offering coffees that no-one else could have, paying the extra for from coffees from nordic, antipodean and US roasters and hoping that my customers were as weird as me in wanting to pay more for them!

      in terms of

      ‘Do you get upset when a loyal account wants to carry someone else’s coffee as part of a guest program? Intelly is very gracious, but I worry’

      this is probably less of an issue than us being invited to be a guest elsewhere, and if we’re honest, yep sometimes it upsets us, but realistically we see very little way of addressing it beyond making sad faces – I’d say 3 out of 4 of our most loyal and fantastic customers offer other peoples coffee from time to time, we are probably not as gracious as some others, but maybe we don’t have a right to dictate everything :)

      I guess I find it more upsetting when a customer who takes the same coffee or blend each week for years chooses to buy guest coffees from elsewhere without offering their customers or even trying our other options – especially frustrating when you walk into a customer’s store and get offered a coffee we also carry but roasted (subjectively!!!!) less well than we had!

      In terms of

      ‘not sure if an account like us is ever “worth it” to a roaster’

      I like to think that all my customers are ‘worth it’, and that this is the same at all roasteries – they should be! – we get a hell of a lot of benefit, sales and value from people using our coffee in their stores (even when not all the time spent and costs add up!) and if we don’t value them we really don’t deserve them – I guess I just want that relationship to be mutual and honest and we’ll keep working on the best way to make that happen

      thanks for reading my nonsense!

  2. Hi,

    I fully understand the approach you are taking. It is different to what I do but this is due to the volume of coffee you are selling.

    I started my micro roastery after several years of competing in ther German Championships, winning several titels using my coffee and winning the title myself in 2011. I wanted to showcase the coffees we were using to a wider audience. But how to do so? Most of my coffees are above average sales prices due to their green buying prices. How does a customer understand the higher price if the coffee/espresso sucks and wasn’t prepared right?

    I chose to hand-pick the businesses I work with. There is a limited number of coffee shops serving my coffee and I know all of them very well. They are capable of delivering a product on a very high level. This setup works pretty well for me, I regullarly reject requests but in my opinion this adds value to the existing relationships.

    The difference I see between your approach and mine is the volume of coffee you sell. I sell small quantities. If it would be a higher volume my approach might not work anymore, due to the work load it creates. I really think that you made the right decission.

    Wolfram

    • thanks Wolfram

      If I was to set up the brand and business from ground zero I think this is the exact approach we would take, really important that you are able to understand your customers needs and that they understand yours too

      I’m also incredibly jealous of businesses where all their customers are close enough to see each other much more often, if only to really enjoy the coffee and the conversations together, whilst the benefit and joy of having such widely spread customers is inspiring, it’s also quite daunting!

      hope to taste your coffee one day

  3. Let me preface by saying I think the decision you guys made was a fair one. I respect & understand it. For you and your business I think it was almost certainly the correct one. But you asked for comment & debate, since (unusually) I (these being my personal thoughts) don’t completely agree with you on all points raised – here we go.

    I understand some of the frustrations involved with rotating ‘roaster rosters’, but in most circumstances, am happy to oblige.

    My philosophy is to get the best possible coffee in front of as many people as possible. I think we have really good coffee & can provide a service that enables the customer to make it well.

    Sometimes, at the choice of the cafe operatirs, this means we are sharing a menu with other roasters. Fine. If we do a good job & people like our coffee, people will order more. If they just want to order occasionally, no problem. As long as people meet the minimum order, it’s all good.

    Like you say, it’s about relationships & I want the opportunity to form as many as possible. Hopefully, these will prove to be mutually beneficial. In most cases this is true. Just occasionally it may fall short. No problem, we’ll move on & any lessons that needed learning are learnt.

    As with many things, it come down to circumstances & the philosophy that you apply to those circumstances. I want people to try our coffee. I joined the company I work for above others because think the coffees they buy are superb & they get so much out of them. In some geographical areas we are a well recognised name. In other areas, less so. The circumstances we are working in mean the more we can do to earn a reputation in those areas & across the industry in general (as you guys most certainly have), the better. We are a national company (with regional history) & we have great people who are loving working with great coffee & coffee people. Providing coffee as a guest or second roaster means we more opportunities the opportunity to build that trust.

    (At this point I am desperately trying not to sound like an advertorial – but I have to explain our business in order to justify the debate. You know exactly how much I respect you, Steve, the rest of the team & your business).

    You justified a good portion of rational around the way your business operates & is structured. I agree with you 100%. The way our business is structured means that at present we have capacity to sell more of the the coffees that really excite us that we presently do. This drives the good practices that the genuine speciality operation brings to the rest (larger) part of the business that employs many good people – & develops better & better results in the products produced there, the services & equipment that can be offered & the better drink the end customer receives. In our business this genuinely happens & is why I really, really care about getting better coffee available to as many people as possible.

    When I don’t want to be a guest roaster or part of a rotating group is pretty similar to when I don’t really want to be supplying someone anyway – when promises are broken, when excessive greed clouds reason, when the relationship is inequitable, or when people don’t try hard to make good coffee. If I’m happy for someone to buy our coffee, I want them to feel they can – within reason – buy any amount & run their establishment how they wish.

    I also do see advantage from a coffee shop’s perspective. I know first hand the advantage in barista development in learning to yield results from a different set of variables (roasting being a key variable) & I know a good segment of customers who enjoy tasting different coffees from different roasters, & I also think it provides an extra level of motivation to all involved (but particularly the roasters) to push & progress. We most certainly have benefitted from this.

    I have benefitted when I was a shop manager from guest / secondary roasters. I hope those roasters did too – we certainly sold a good amount of their coffee, they gave us great service & I hope we still have a really good relationship (wonder who it could be….?). Now I work for a roaster & have input into the coffees & service we provide, & in the circumstances I am fortunate to find myself in, I feel it would be churlish of me to deny that type of relationship to others.

    • God damn you – what can I argue with here? :)

      Everything you say makes sense and I guess where things diverge is just in the differences between our business goals

      you guys have greater resource (trainers, people) to help customers make the use of great ingredient – your goal of everybody serving better coffee (even everyone serving great tasting coffee) is a big fight, and a worthy one, but not one that I can contribute to on a mass scale

      My resource is more limited (in terms of time more than anything) so I have to decide whether each account takes us more towards the place we as a business want to be, and I think that end goal is slightly more selfish – we want all of our wholesale customers to be presenting only drinks we would want our ‘fans’ to judge us on, and that precludes coffee’s we wouldn’t have bought or roasts we wouldn’t have been happy with.

      I still hope we can help make coffee better everywhere, but by proving it works through our customers and inspiring those who see their success

      god it’s late! love and hugs

  4. It’s interesting to see that non-exclusive wholesale accounts don’t accomplish your goals as a roaster. It can’t be an easy decision to make. I want Hasbean to accomplish it’s practical goals, because I want Hasbean to stay around a very long time. So I want you guys to do what works for you. That said… you also explore the moral issue of serving different roasters… and I’m not really sure I follow you. You compare rotating roasters with sleeping around, suggesting it’s morally dubious… but if the relationship has been nothing but honest from the start… I don’t see the harm in that. I’m surprised it would offend you. We explore different roasters and find it particularly informative to see the same coffee from different roasters. It’s an exploration of flavor, and roasting is one element of that. I’m surprised that you wouldn’t see the value in that (for the shop/us/customer). If a shop wants to explore provenance… roasting is part of that. I get that me serving non-Hasbean coffee isn’t always great for Hasbean… but my personal mission statement isn’t to please one supplier, it’s to engage people with the fascinating world of coffee. Like I said, I get the practical stuff. It’s practical. I don’t have a moral issue with your decision. But I worry about comparisons to cheating. I’m sorry if you’re actually hurt by a look at other roasters… but that’s what I would like to do. Do you buy (and sell) a green coffee that doesn’t accomplish your goals, even if you’ve given that farm business before?
    My love is coffee, and I feel pretty devoted to it.

    • yeah i guess the analogy is pretty weak – as opposed to cheating lets say it’s more like we’re offered the chance to be part of an open relationship

      sometimes we’ve been told that the relationship will be open, sometimes we’ve found out at a later date – obviously one is much more palatable than the other, and there are relationships we continue, that began as open, will alway be that and that’s cool, but we see a limit to the benefit that offers us and choose to say no to good people who would serve our coffee well rather than say yes and not be 100% happy about that decision

      there are times when being part of a more open offering has been attractive, has helped us learn more about who we are, and allowed us to be available in different places, different ways

      there are also times when, as with a more open personal relationship, that has seemed damaging to our sense of worth, but also to our chances of having stronger, more rewarding, relationships elsewhere (both in terms of mutually more sustainable business and mutually stronger connections with our customers)

      In terms of provenance I’m less minded to think of roasting as part of that – a conversation for another day :)

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