50 Coffees

Thinking about making a really big adjustment in your life? Then you owe it to yourself to have coffee with 50 people. In a recent article, Peter Thomson discusses a technique he has used to help him with major life decisions.

Summary

Each time you decide you want to make some sort of major life change, whether it be raising investment for a start up, moving to a new city, or changing careers, you should have coffee with 50 people to get their views on your plans. Setting a precedent of having coffee with 50 people forces you to be clear about your goal, makes it stronger, and makes you commit to the move you want to make. You also will receive great input from smart and interesting people.

Thomson first came across the idea while reading the book, What Colour is Your Parachute?. Although he was not the first to come up with the idea, he realized the hidden insight in it, in that the biggest changes in your life will only happen through the people that you meet and conversations you have. Humans create and convey meaning through stories and conversations. If you change the conversations that you’re a part of, then your life changes automatically.

Now, this isn't supposed to be coffee with 50 total strangers. Most of the people will be friends/acquaintances, but you should also be open to meeting new people. Think one degree of separation. Ask the people you know if they know of anyone interesting you should meet and go from there. Try and find people with different backgrounds, you might meet some great people and make new friends!

The author had 50 coffees when he left law for design. He did it again when he moved to London, and most recently when he published a book. The 50 coffees idea had worked so well for him in the past, that he realized his best ideas came up during heated conversations because people tend to think better when they have an intelligent partner to debate with.

Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Coffees

  • Be intentional and focused
  • Be honest about what you want
  • Don't ask for anything
  • Think ahead
  • Take notes
  • Don't waste people's time
  • Never steal time
  • Pick a good place
  • Make it a good time
  • Be interesting and direct
  • Travel to different places

Why We Care

Here at PFCS, we're always making improvements to our company in order to better serve our clients and the community. We may not always have 50 cups of coffee for every improvement, but we do conduct "team consulting sessions" over coffee with our staff when large improvements are considered. These sessions typically last 10 to 30 minutes or sometimes as long as an hour when several ideas and suggestions are brought into the mix. So, the idea in this article goes hand-in-hand with that thought process.