Archive for October, 2009

How many other things are we missing?

11bd2fb41Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. A young man is playing his violin.  He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3 year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly.  This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced them to move on.

45 minutes:
The musician played.. Only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

He collected $32.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments …..

How many other things are we missing?

Temple Professor Says Starbucks Sells People a Lifestyle

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A Temple University professor has released a book about Starbucks, based on years of research at outlets all over the world.

The author concludes Starbucks is not really selling coffee, but a lifestyle image: [we DO sell coffee!]

“If you read the signs at Starbucks and if you read their own advertisements, this is a lot of what they’re selling is all these different things, in the cup.”

History professor Bryant Simon spend 15 hours a week in Starbucks. [what a job!] He visited 425 of its stores in nine countries, but mostly in Philadelphia, and he concluded that people go for much more than coffee:

“For instance, we had this real need for community, we had a real need for safety, we had this real need for predictability, we had this need to give ourselves treats.”

Simon’s book “Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks,” explores what our purchases say about us.

Starbucks, he says, provides a cheap status symbol and the illusion of community, though he believes true connection cannot be found in an international chain.

source: KYW NewsRadio

I have long said that the cup sleeve is just that: a “status symbol”. They’re really not necessary on most drinks in my opinion, just straight up coffee and teas. However, if we ever run out, people go bizzerk! Status symbol: I agree!


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"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork...There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."

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