Jan 13 2014, 7:34am CST | by Forbes
To know an innovation ecosystem, drink coffee. That’s my secret weapon.
People often ask me how to understand an ecosystem. It’s easy. Whenever my work takes me to a new city or country, I visit its coffee shops. Coffee shops are the watering holes of economic life. Coffee shops measure the innovation pulse of a community. Everything you need to know about an ecosystem is there.
Observe a coffee shop, and you can literally see the invisible infrastructure of a community. Look at the people, and ask yourself: Are old friends catching up, or are new friendships forming? Are neighbors gossiping idly, or are entrepreneurs plotting their dreams together? Who smiles to whom, and who ignores whom? Are serendipitous interactions happening, or are predictable patterns recurring?
I write a lot in coffee shops. In fact, I wrote this column in two of them. Over the past few years, I’ve been to almost every coffee shop in Silicon Valley. In the spirit of entrepreneurial sharing, I am hereby offering my personal list of the “Best Coffee Shops in Silicon Valley.”
Why, you might ask? We’re soon going to welcome hundreds of attendees from over 50 countries for Global Innovation Summit+Week on February 17-21. I guess I just want people to know the good stuff of Silicon Valley, not its overhyped silliness.
A few disclaimers. First, this is a completely subjective list, based on no scientific criteria whatsoever. They’re just my opinions. So if you discover a hidden pattern, it’s your imagination. Second, I don’t have anything against large coffee chains per se. I’ve been to some awesome Starbucks in other cities. But none of the big chains make my list in the Valley. Sorry, Howard. Third, I’m not judging the coffee; I’m judging the coffee shop. Coffee snobs, please look elsewhere!
So, the best coffee shops in Silicon Valley are…
There are a bunch of other great places, and I can’t possibly list them all. My deepest thanks to all the great coffee shops in the Valley. Disagree with my list? No problem – I genuinely welcome your comments below.
You can find me at one or more of these coffee shops almost every week. If you see me around, introduce yourself and say hello. After all, isn’t that the point?
Victor W. Hwang is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. He is Executive Director of Global Innovation Summit+Week (February 17-21, 2014), an event focused on catalyzing systemic innovation across companies, communities, and countries.
Source: Forbes Business
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