Recently, I met with someone and he asked me two questions, “Why do you do what you do?… and, What do you do?”…, in that order.
Now, if he had asked me the same question, but turned it around and asked me, “What do you do?… and,… Why do you do it?, the answer would be simple. I would tell him what I do and probably say that I do it because I enjoy doing it, short and simple.
However, when you ask the question the other way around, by first asking, “Why do you do what you do?”, it then makes you think a bit more about your answer, it necessitates a deeper thought-out answer, and therein lies a much harder question.
For instance, it starts to make me think of what inspires me, what drives me, and what motivates me, and the question then comes from a more philosophical and spiritual place, and relies on some deeper reflection of myself.
The late Steve Jobs once said:
“The only way to do great work, is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
I must say, that I believe I have been extremely fortunate in my career in that I have never had a job or worked for someone else, I have always relied on myself as an entrepreneur, with that extra drive, passion, motivation and excitement that comes with it.
In saying this, I also believe that everything I have done to date has led me to this point, and this new path, and I truly believe, I have now found it.
I work in an industry, that I find, everyone involved in has a passion for what they do, like no other.
The coffee industry is at a point where great minds are now coming together to create the best scientific methods to move this industry forward through best farming practices and sustainability, the best processing methods to get the raw product to market, to the cutting-edge equipment being built in the delivery of the end product to the consumer.
I also believe that we are entering exciting times and I am privileged to be able to contribute in my little way, to this amazing industry, that touches almost everyone’s lives that lives on our planet today.
So, What do you actually do then?
The modest answer to this question, I replied was, I work in the Coffee Industry.
Yep, but What do you actually do? … Well, this goes back to 1998 when I entered the hospitality industry and opened an Artisan Bakery and Restaurant, where I also served coffee from.
It wasn’t until 2010 that I noticed the Specialty Coffee trend was seriously taking off and I desperately wanted to become part of it.
This was a result of my restless nature and searching for that something extra special.
I was then fortunate enough to get my first coffee roaster. It was not the traditional drum roaster, but an original air roaster that was over 30 years old at the time.
Without any roasting knowledge, I started to roast on my air roaster and soon started producing some pretty amazing coffee. It completely sucked me in, I was hooked and I knew what I wanted to do.
It took another 10 years to achieve my ultimate dream, which was, to invent my very own Air-Roaster, which I could then manufacture and share with others by contributing and giving back to a beautiful industry that had been so good to me.
I took a year off, and with a team of extremely talented engineers, the Air-Motion Roaster was born. I think the most important part of my incredible journey with the invention of the Air-Motion Roaster, was that I knew Why I wanted to do it, before I even knew What it would look like.
In saying this, the first consideration for me, was to contribute to what I considered an amazing, beautiful and extremely creative industry, one that touches the lives of millions of people every day.
I wanted to create a machine that was simple enough to operate, without any gimmicks, that would provide an Artisanal experience to the operator.
I wanted to provide an interactive experience where one engages with one's coffee beans during the roasting process and developed the OCR or Open-Chamber-Roaster system.
I wanted to provide cutting-edge technology through the use of AI and Algorithms to assist the roaster to achieve the best results.
In saying this, I also wanted to provide the roaster with full control over the roast process through controls on a Control Panel while receiving real-time feedback on a Touchscreen Interface.
I wanted our roasting machine to be different from the traditional roasting methods providing roasters with a unique difference, allowing them to tap into their own creativity and give them that edge they are looking for in their coffee businesses.
I wanted to build the best product out there to produce Specialty Coffee, a coffee roasting machine that knows how to treat the coffee beans with love and care, providing for a gentle but adequate approach to transferring heat to the beans, while taking it through its different phases in the roast process.
I wanted the Air-Motion Roaster to be sexy and attractive, and especially, lots of fun to work on.
I wanted it to be a roaster that provides those working on it with a sense of pride in what they do.
Ultimately, I wanted roasters to have an awesome experience when roasting, that made them want to go to work each day and just want to roast coffee.
I also think, for me, one of the most important things that I could do would be to contribute to the coffee roasting industry by providing people with the opportunity to develop and operate successful and self-sustaining businesses in the beautiful world of coffee, and I can say, with pride and joy, that I have already achieved this in so many ways, with many of our Air-Motion clients, operating successful coffee businesses out there today.
So, in conclusion, I think that the question I was asked, was definitely asked in the right order, and is definitely a lesson we can all learn from, and that is,
“Always ask the Why before the What”
This is the true test that if the Why is coming from the right place, the What would be the correct path to follow.
It provides us with that deep burning desire and motivation, the Why I get out of bed in the morning, the Why I am surrounded by the beautiful people I work with, the beautiful clients we engage with, the beautiful product and the development of a wonderful Ethos that we at Air-Motion Roasters stand for.
It is the Why that has inspired me to create a World Class Product, together with a World Class Brand, that the Air-Motion Roasters Family, around the world today, can be truly proud of.
My Coffee Journey continues… JP.