Smart Ways to Improve the Coffee Break in Your Office

Is the coffee break really useful in the workplace?

Research carried out by the University of East London has shown that a break to sip a cup of coffee has no real use, and that the feeling of being more awake would be nothing but the consequence of a placebo effect.

But even if this were the case, certainly the coffee break has many beneficial effects. It allows you to unplug the brain for a few minutes and to distract yourself, avoiding to stress too much on what you are doing and encouraging greater socialization, especially in workplaces where there are many employees and which, therefore, do not facilitate a close acquaintance with everyone.

The coffee break, then, can be an occasion for relaxation and experimentation: it is also for this reason that it can be livened up in different ways. For example, trying a different taste each time, choosing from The options available are many: from coffee to ginseng to coffee corrected with sambuca, passing through the spotted one, the cappuccino, the one with cream, the narrow one, the long one, and etc. Without forgetting the various combinations: sparkling water, mate, tea, and so on.

If there is a coffee machine in the office, the coffee break can be livened up if you buy custom cup sleeves, with employee names on them. Or, you can hang newspaper articles, photographs or postcards on the nearest wall. On the one hand, it is a way to make the environment more colorful and interesting; on the other hand, it is an opportunity to find new starting points for conversation and new topics for a chat, both with the colleagues with whom one is already familiar, and with colleagues with whom one does not have a very close relationship.

Here, then, that the coffee break also becomes a way to strengthen the bonds: on the professional front this allows to reinforce the team building, and on the personal front it allows to build new knowledge and to establish new relationships.

The comparison with others, on the other hand, can only be positive: you can discover secrets and gossip on your desk companion, you can acquire new skills about the work you are doing or, more simply, you can be involved in a simple relaxing chat.

Finally, to liven up the coffee break, it is good to pay attention to the needs of others and not invade their spaces: which means, for example, to avoid smoking in the presence of people who are annoyed by cigarettes.

Obviously, for smokers, the combination of coffee + cigarette is almost obligatory, but it is important to take into account the tastes and needs of others: if you really can’t do without a few puffs, it is advisable to go away and then join the group again when you are finished to smoke.

‘Move fast and break things’ isn’t a worthy slogan

…because ‘breaking things’ isn’t the point of your work.

How about, “Move fast and make things better,”


“Move fast and create possibility”?

The reason we hesitate to move fast is that we’re worried about what that implies.

Move fast and learn something.

Move fast and take responsibility.

Move fast and then do it again because now you’re smarter.

The alternative is to move slow. To move slow and to hide.

Which means that those you sought to connect, to help and to offer something to will suffer as they wait.

Don’t hoard your work. Own it and share it.


Amazing Content Marketing History: My Apollo 11 Press Kits Now Digitized

It’s taken me fifteen years of collecting to amass what I believe to be the most complete collection of Apollo 11 press kits in the world. Now, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in July 2019, I’ve digitized my collection to made it available to scholars, marketers, Apollo buffs, and fans of graphic design. It’s my gift to the world.

“You made my day”

When your day gets made, how long does it last? A made day–is that different from a normal day?

Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a made hour or, if we’re going to be quite truthful, a made minute.

When something bad happens, we can revisit the humiliation and anxiety for months. But the good stuff, if we don’t work at it, can pass right by.

We get what we remember, and we remember what we focus on.


The surprising secret of web headlines

It’s not that difficult to write a headline that people click on.

But a headline that people click on is rarely one that earns trust, sustained attention or action.

Which means that if you’re looking for more than a click, you’ll need to walk away from the bait and switch that’s now so common.

Just because you can trick people and swindle a click doesn’t mean you should. Because, as we know, measuring the wrong thing is worse than measuring nothing at all.


Monopoly is the opposite of capitalism

If you believe in the benefits of the free market, then the logical conclusion is to oppose policies that a market-dominating monopoly decides are in their best interest.

Adam Smith and his descendants all understood that monopolies undo the benefits of the free market.

Data portability, open marketplaces, net neutrality, campaign finance reform–all of these steps make it more likely that innovation occurs and that people have choices.

Free markets work because ideas and processes can quickly evolve. When the system gets stuck, it doesn’t get better.

Without choice, we’re left with bullies and whatever is on their agenda.


People who don’t care…

…doing things that they don’t understand, for managers who have no sense of strategy, in an organization that measures all the wrong things.

Everyone involved unable to honestly answer the simple question: “Why?” Why are we doing it this way? Why is it like this not like that? “Because I said so,” is no way to lead.

This is the unmistakable symptom of a bureaucracy that has gone too far.


PS back in the old days, I used to incorporate a PS in blog posts about Daylight Savings Time. A public service because we didn’t have computers that automatically changed all of our clocks. But it’s still up to us to spring forward. It won’t happen automatically.


Everyone and no one

Rarely true.

“Everyone loves it.”

“No one wants to be my friend…”

More effective and accurate to replace these words with, “someone.”


Embracing externalities

The world is better because industrialism made it better.

The world is worse because industrialism made it worse.

When a factory makes something that people want, they buy it. When a competitor improves it, it gains in market share. When a third competitor becomes more efficient and lowers the price, even more is sold.

And so we have safe, clean, cheap food that can sustain us. We have antibiotics that can save a life. We have transportation systems that just a hundred years ago would have seemed like a fantasy.

The ratchet of industrialism is tied to the fast-moving cycle of the market, fulfilling needs and wants and making a profit.

That same system, though, is insulated from the damage it causes. When a factory makes a product but pollutes the river that flows by it, the factory doesn’t pay for the pollution unless required to. When a marketer seduces people with short-term delights that cause long-term health problems, the marketer doesn’t pay for it, the customer does. And when the weapons manufacturer produces ever more lethal weapons, it’s the person who stepped on the land mine who pays the price, not the person who made it or purchased it.

The opportunity is simple to describe but requires real effort to achieve: the community must enforce systems that build the external costs into the way that the industrialist does business. Faced with an incentive to decrease bycatch, waste or illness, the industrialist will do what industrialists always seek to do–make it work a little better, a little faster, a little more profitably.

Industrialism can’t solve every problem, but it can go a very long way in solving the problems that it created in the first place.

When facing a long-term, chronic challenge, we can look for a ratchet, a long-term positive cycle that helps us overcome that challenge.

Externalities aren’t external, and we shouldn’t treat them that way.


Time and money

“I can’t afford it.”

“I don’t have the time.”

…almost always means, “this is not a priority.”

When we care, it’s amazing how much we can get done. One way to choose to care is to be clear about your priorities, which means being clear in your language.

And so we can say to ourselves, “I’d love to do that, but it’s not a priority.”

Remarkable work is usually accomplished by people who have non-typical priorities.