Sunday, October 24, 2010

Don't be that guy

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It has happened to all of us: you get into the office in the morning, and head straight for the coffee pot.  The early risers greet you as if they had been awake since 4:30.  They have worked out, eaten a full breakfast, and have already caught up on email.  On your way to the coffee pot, one of the peppy morning people catches you in the hallway for a quick chat.  "No, I haven't read that email from Stephen yet [you jerk.  I need my damn coffee first]."  Having deflected the interruption, you continue on.  You can smell the aroma.  Your pulse increases, your body feeling caffeinated merely by the smell of the roast.  You reach for your mug on the shelf, but then realize you left it on your desk they day before.  "Screw it," you mutter to yourself in a groggy haze, and grab a paper cup instead.  You place the cup under the carafe, and hit pour.  But nothing comes out.

Really?  Who does that?  What kind of person is self-centered enough to take the last cup of coffee in the morning without brewing another pot?

This is a major societal problem.  It is not efficient, and it is unjust.  If the person with the last cup takes the 20 seconds to add coffee and hit the brew button, the next person who shows up a few minutes later doesn't need to wait another 2 minutes for the thing to finish brewing.  And, maybe this person heads to their desk while the new pot is brewing, and gets distracted with email for a few minutes.  By the time they come back, the next pot could easily be empty as well, and the vicious cycle begins again.

This blog is an attempt to come up with creative ways to solving the "empty coffee pot" problem.  I have employed a handful of techniques, which I'll write about here.  One simple technique in particular has been wildly successful where I work, but I do not believe that one size fits all.

If you have ideas of your own, please email them to, and I'll post it here on the blog!  (And I'll give you credit, of course - tell me what name you'd like it posted under.)

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