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From the Publisher
Swipe, tap pinch. Fifteen years ago, you wouldn't have had a clue what I am describing. Today, you automatically envision a phone—a device that just a couple of decades ago was connected to a wall and had a bell that rang..
But even today, you might have a different vision, as people swipe, tap and pinch everything from vending machines to car dashboards, and even refrigerators. It’s true: Samsung advertises a “touch-screen refrigerator, complete with Apps”!
Apple has changed the game for how we interact with our world. People now expect instinctive and easy-to-use products, not just in consumer electronics and software, but everywhere.
What does this mean for Roast? We must continue to not only find ways for people to interact with the magazine, but to do so in an easy-to-access, intuitive way. We are offering online articles on our partner site, Daily Coffee News, plus a complete digital version of the magazine, and more convenient purchasing at tradeshows, but I know that we need to think about a more comprehensive approach. What will allow us to thrive in a world that is controlled by a 3-by-5-inch screen?
We are continually working through the answers for Roast, and this column doesn’t have any magical counsel. However, I know that these changes affect everyone reading this column. What do these technological advances mean for how coffee roasters source, produce, sell and market their coffees?
Apple’s genius was the vision and ability to take an extremely complicated set of computer instructions and wrap them in a simple, intuitive package. The key to this is that no training or user manuals are required.
How much training is required in your company, and where do you go to get the training that you need? What are your biggest training needs for your employees? Where do you spend the most time educating your customers? Asking these types of questions is one way to approach decisions on where to invest in the future. Designing intuitive systems unchains people from drudgery and non-value-added tasks and allows them to focus on what’s important, whether that means their core job tasks or their interaction with your product.
Cupping, for example, is a skill that cannot be “Apple-ized.” As Beth Ann Caspersen notes in her article about recruiting and developing cuppers (see “Talented Tasters, Please Apply” on page 24), professional coffee tasting still requires human interaction, skill and training to master. But, does the time spent on cupping forms, cupping data analysis, and the tracking of variables from bean to lot to roast greatly exceed the amount needed? Do these tasks involve excessive training? In coffee, like other industries that rely on sensory analysis, every new experience is a lesson learned.
As Roast moves into the future, we understand that we need to expand our vision for every part of our job and each product we produce. The great advantage we all have is that others are showing us the way, and we can access that information on our own 3-by-5-inch screens.
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