Sunday, July 13, 2008

Scenario #3: Three details

Today we had a meeting with the manager of a coffee shop chain about an event we'd like to do at one of his shops. We met at the coffee shop itself, and he was intent on offering us drinks or cakes or something, but we'd already ordered our coffees so that made his hospitable intentions difficult. He led us to a table where we sat down, joining us for about two seconds before disappearing behind the counter to finish making our drinks and to talk with his employees.

As we sat there anticipating our conversation, we considered what evidence we had about what type of person this manager was... and whether he'd be amenable to our proposal.

Here's what we ascertained. First, he was much younger than any of us had anticipated, in fact quite young-looking to be managing a chain of coffee shops. Second, he left three items on the table: a sheet of paper, a lighter and a pack of cigarettes.

So we considered what those three items might tell us about him. The sheet of paper was blank: completely white. The lighter had the Audi (car company) logo on it. The pack of cigarettes was a simple white box, of a relatively obscure brand, with just a little bit of writing on it. On the front it said simply, "Smokers die younger" and on the side it said "Duty-free sale only." So we deduced that he's a simple, linear-thinking kind of a guy, who owns a reasonably nice car and travels abroad frequently. He's probably a carpe diem kind of a person who gets straight to the point. I was gratified to discover that over the course of the meeting he didn't actually smoke the cigarettes, which suggested to me that he has a strong sense of business identity and social responsibility. I suppose one must have those characteristics if he's running a chain of coffee shops at a young age. The meeting was short but to the point, but it ended well, meaning we'll probably be seeing him again...

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