Coffee stories

When I was doing my masters in New York, I was drinking about five cups of coffee a day. On occasion, it could be five cups of double shot. I had this coffee subcription app that allowed me to order unlimited normal brews at $45/mth and those specialty coffees at $85/mth from a base of nice cafes around New York city.

I came from a coffee drinking culture in Singapore. I’d order my Kopi C each morning with breakfast and in those days, these drinks were less than $1.50 (USD) a cup, unlike the >$5 barista coffees in New York city. But strangely, I consumed more coffee than I ever did in Singapore because of the business model.

Business models are interesting and in some ways, they hack our demand curves, taste and preferences by targeting aspects of our preferences that the economists were not able to incorporate into broad demand analyses. And there are entrepreneurs, marketters who thrive on coming up with such hacks.

The issue about hacks and short term profits is that they accomplish little worthwhile in the longer term. And there are far too many short term studies in the social sciences that gives us a lot of “scientific results” which may be spurious correlations or short term correlations which do not persists. We need to engage our talents is more long term thinking and challenge them to deal with the longer term problems of our economy and societies.

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