Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Coffee Shop Where Everyone Pays for Everyone Else's Drinks

The main conceit of the 2000 Kevin Spacey film Pay It Forward is that if one person does a kindness for three strangers, and those three people each do kindnesses for three strangers, and so on, one person can change the world.

Rarely do we see this acted out in the real world the way it was cinematically—one scene finds a man giving away his brand-new Jaguar to a guy having car troubles—but on a smaller scale, these sorts of random niceties happen far more often than you might think. Today, it's selflessness at a small coffee house in Bluffton, South Carolina.

It all started two years ago at Corner Perk, a small, locally owned coffee shop, when a customer paid her bill and left $100 extra, saying she wanted to pay for everyone who ordered after her until the money ran out. The staff fulfilled her request, and the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has returned to leave other large donations every two to three months.

"People will come in and say, 'What do you mean? I don't understand. Are you trying to buy me a coffee today?'" the shop's owner, Josh Cooke, told the local news. "And I say, 'No, somebody came in 30 minutes ago and left money to pay for drinks until it runs out.'"

It took a while, but word has started to spread around the tiny coastal town, home to about 12,000 people. Now, more and more customers have been leaving money to pay for others' food and drink. Cooke says some people don't even buy anything when they come in; they just stop to donate and head right back out.

A medium cup of coffee at Corner Perk costs $1.95. That may not seem like a lot, but for a family struggling to save money in these tense and difficult economic times, two bucks saved at the right moment probably feels like a million. And a jolt of generosity is a better pick-me-up than caffeine any day of the week.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another Little Idea – Cause World

Here is a great Little Idea that does not cost anything and you can have some fun with it.  Cause World is an iPhone and Android location checkin app, similar to Foursquare that allows you to earn Karma Points, then donate those points to the charity of your choice and those can be hunger-fighting non-profits or climate change NGO’s to anything else.

You can earn badges and make donations with the points you rack up and you can share your accomplishments with your other social networks if you like.  If you are a location junkie who is short on time or funds and you are passionate about helping fight cancer, stopping child abuse or supplying clean water this app might be for you.  Funding for this endeavour is provided by Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods and Citibank to the tune of a Million Dollars so far.  You simply checkin to stores to collect sponsor-backed karmas.

One slight problem for all of us in Canada is that this app is not currently available here as far as I can tell.  So in my next post I will make sure to have a Little Idea for all of us in Canada.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Four Personas of Change - # 1

I think there are four types of people that make change happen.  All of these Little Ideas I am writing about in my book must apply to every single person in the world and I think it does because I believe everyone can put themselves into one or more of these categories. So over the next few days I will share these 4 categories with you.  See where you and your friends might fit in.  I should point out that no category is more superior than the other.  Each plays a role and one without the other makes change difficult or less likely to happen.

1-            Innovators – There are people who are just excellent creators of new ideas, concepts and philosophies.  Sometimes these are ideas that seem far out and sometimes they really are ahead of their time by years, decades and even centuries.  Sometimes they have ideas that can be implemented right now, except this group that innovates are not always the ones to initiate the idea.  In fact they rarely ever do and that’s okay because there is another group that is very good at that.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Four Personas of Change - # 4 - The Silent Majority

The Fourth Persona of Change is usually the one that gets the least press.  They are the group where no individual usually stands out.  They are the Silent Majority!

4-               Participators – This much larger group lends their labour, their love and their passion to the cause that was conceived by The Innovator and created by The Initiator.  For an Idea to have massive impact it must be conceived, created, then inspire the majority who will power it.  Most of The Silent Majority that I write about are in this group.  They want to do something.  They want to help and in many cases they just don’t know how.  Maybe they haven’t been exposed to a great motivator.  Maybe they have the ability to do something small but the motivator berates then for not doing enough or not thinking big enough. This group doesn’t have to think big. Their collective actions are so big they can power the impact our world needs.

I am really hoping that The 52 Little Ideas WITH Big Consequences book will showcase enough Innovators and Initiators and the book itself will serve as a motivator to inspire the participators that whatever little they can do and do consistently they can affect great change.

The Four Personas of Change - # 2 & 3

In my last post I wrote that there are 4 different personas that involved with change.  One without the other makes change very difficult to achieve.  So here are Personas # 2 & 3:

2-            Initiators – These are people that are excellent at taking an idea and putting it into action.  They have the connections, the resources and the expertise to get projects from the drawing board to reality.  These people may not be the most creative bunch but without them we would never get any of those great ideas started.
         Motivators – These are the people who get excited by an idea that has now been put into action.  They are the ones that have that special knack to fire up a crowd with their compelling words in writing or in speech to join them.  The really great motivators know how to take an idea that is now in action and turn it into a movement.  They know how to get the masses to participate.

Can you pass on your Starbucks Latte?

There is something awesome out there called Crowd Funding.  And I am working on getting the creation of my book (52 Little Ideas with Big Consequences) - Crowd Funded.

The whole idea behind Crowd Funding is that a number of people come together to contribute maybe $5 or $10 or more - money they would normally spend on a couple of Lattes or a Pizza and they get to participate in something they believe in.

Can you pass on your Starbucks Latte? I know it sounds almost sacrilegious to ask that! However, I could use your help with this very important project for humanity.  You can also read more about it on this blog off course and on my site.

Finally a Huge Thank You to Janette for getting things started with her contribution.  I hope that it inspires many others to help out.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Silent Majority

I have lost count of how many times I have had people say to me “I am just an ordinary person. What can I do that could change the world?”  And so I really started to think about these people.  Like the single mother with two kids, struggling to provide for her family.  Like the little old couple who live on their meager pension and still give a little bit here and there but wish they could do more.  Or what about the socially conscious college kids who are so busy at school but wish they could do more?

What if each of them could cause a little ripple in the sea of humanity?  And what if enough of this silent majority in playing their small part were part of a Tsunami of change that swept over humanity?  THAT is when The Shift happens.

We still need the Big Thinkers to Act on the Big Ideas but there is also plenty of room for The Silent Majority to Act.  They only need to know what to do, how to do it and preferably it should not hurt them financially.  In fact, my belief is that the best Little Ideas are those that can help both the giver and the receiver financially as well as spiritually and emotionally.