I wish I’d Thought of That…

How many times have you said this to yourself when you’ve seen something ingenious, yet simple? The last time I did was at a small coffee shop called The Grind, where I experienced something I could only classify out of this world.

I ordered a cappuccino in a chocolate-dipped ice-cream cone. What? You read that correctly. I drank my coffee from a cone! Tips are posted in The Grind about how to drink it so that you don’t end up wearing the coffee, but if you do spill on your shirt, it is considered a badge of honour – and I got mine.

Over a couple of weeks, I became a loyal customer and realised that this was because of more than just the novel taste experience. The level of personalised service and friendliness was world-class. The why and how of this intrigued me and I had to find out where this passion had been born.

That’s when I met the South African behind the invention: Dayne Levinrad. I asked if he would be open to sharing his journey.

Dayne dropped out of school in Grade 8. When he was five years old, his father had left and he felt obligated to help his mom and siblings. The pain of not having what most kids his age took for granted kept him motivated.

Asked if he regrets having to drop out, he said, “Yes, but school could never have taught me the two very valuable lessons I acquired in the world: how to make money and how to deal with people.

One thing he knew for sure was that he wanted to make his mark on the world. By the age of 20, he’d begun travelling around the globe from Los Angeles to Brazil, working mostly in coffee shops, where he found his passion as a barista.

For four years, he regularly worked 12 hour shifts six days a week, not because he had to, but because he wanted to master his craft. It was during this time that he came up with the simple, yet brilliant concept of coffee in a cone.

“Why does coffee have to be boring? Why can’t we combine being a kid and an adult? So often you see serious business professionals come into my shop who smile when I hand them a cone,” he said. “This is why I wake up each day.”

CoffeInACone is now a patented, trademarked product that’s beginning to be distributed around the world.  There is no big advertising budget or marketing campaign behind it, so how did Dayne do it?

“The power of making something with love and our genuine care for our customers make it viral.” And viral it’s gone, with the hashtag #CoffeInACone developing a cult following on social media.

So what can we learn from Dayne’s story? The lesson is that if you have a dream, you can make it a reality. His dream was realised through years of dedication to his craft. How willing are you to push through not only the learning curve, but also others telling you your idea is stupid? Dayne says people in the coffee business laughed at his concept. Sound familiar? How many times have you been told: “That won’t work”? Many people work really hard and never realise their dream. The differentiator could be as basic as ensuring you stand out by being unique, showing up early or even smiling when speaking to others. Dayne emphasised that success is about how you treat others. People are willing to go out of their way to help you if you make them feel special.

It’s easy to ask: “Why didn’t I think of that?” Uber, Amazon, eBay and many other vast empires came from the same mind-set as Dayne’s. May be you already have the next incredible concept. Are you brave enough to follow Dayne’s example?


Source: Brian Parsle – Sawubona, South African Inflight Magazine