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That bit*h stole my business idea! How I’m going to get her back.

August 18, 2011

If you are reading this in a reader, you might want to head over to the original post to see the image.

I received this in my inbox this morning:

Wait!  “Have Coffee with Jill”?!?!  That sounds exactly what I’ve been offering for a year now!  She stole my idea!  Her webpage is almost word for word my webpage!

I’m so mad, so incredulous, so about to go all Johnny Cochran on her…

Except that I’m not.  Any of those.  In fact, I was the one who not only convinced her to do it, I’ve been helping her along the way —

Jill: “Do you paypal invoice each person individually when you are ready to invoice for coffee?”  Ensuing instructions from me to her on my process.

Our first conversation, at Schuba’s a few months ago, was Jill being incredulous that I charge people to have coffee with me.  People seem to think “Let me buy you a beer” makes it worth it to me to give up time I could be working on a paying-project.  Change that to “Let me pay your health insurance for the month,” you’ve got my ears.

“Don’t people get offended when you respond to ‘Can we grab a drink?’ with ‘Sure, sign up here and pay me $12’?”

I’ve never had any blow-back, so to speak.  Most people sign up.  As soon as I put it on my website, touted it as a service I offer, made it official, any weirdness I felt dissipated.  I used to say yes to every request.  I just don’t have the time any more.  I need to make a living.

So, why aren’t I hopping mad that now someone is making money off of my idea?

Number one, I like Jill.  She and I are similar in that we both cobble together random ventures that oddly and wonderfully provide us a salary.  We’re planning a joint event come October.  I already have, and will continue to, benefit from having her in my life, benefits that far outweigh the money that may go to her instead of me on the off-chance that a person only has $12 to spend, has to choose between the two of us, and ends up in a coffeehouse sitting across from Jill instead of from me.

Number two, my response to all the inquiries I get about expanding, partnering, franchising Coffee, the Minglers, Fear Experiment, is “Go for it!”  I don’t own the ideas.  And the world would be a better place if there were more fun, challenging, affordable, unique offerings.  Enough with the guarding of goodness!

Number three, a major part of most of the services I offer is the man behind the curtain — me.  While I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, many people seem to enjoy sipping me.  The personality of the curator is key in “experience-based” services.  And I don’t think everyone is cut out to play that role.  I’m pretty confident that a good portion of society couldn’t have sold seven-hundred $24 tickets to the Park West last April to see bad dance and bad improv from a bunch of amateurs, nor have twenty-five people pay $15 to bring food and drink to her house tomorrow to play board games.

I must say, seeing my baby touted so in a prettily designed email that went out to hundreds, thousands?, makes me feel all MBA’y and LLC this and VC that, even though I’m just an English/Socoiolgy BA with no business plan, no power-suit, and a savings account a week-old.

So world, take my Coffee idea and have your way with it.  No revenge will be administered.  If you become a millionaire off  it, maybe offer to buy me dinner.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2012 10:24 AM

    Your website is just what was looking for. You have no clue
    how long I have been thinking about the same exact thing!
    I am so happy that I am no longer alone.

  2. August 25, 2011 11:54 AM

    I have never been to any of Saya’s events- but I hope to soon. I think she is a genius. Why shouldn’t she be compensated for all of her talents of bringing people together, providing the venue and overall organizing of interesting events. I don’t think she is scamming anyone- no one twisted anyone’s arm to pay and go. Way to go Saya- I want to copy you and meet you. You are brilliant.

    • August 25, 2011 5:51 PM

      That’s very kind of you to say Hillary — unwarranted, lord knows I have my flaws, but lovely all the same!

      Certainly hope to meet you face to face; please introduce yourself if you do come out to an event.

  3. LES permalink
    August 23, 2011 3:45 PM

    To the Anonymous person with the angry screed:

    Your note was uncalled for and just old-fashioned mean.

    Before you sit in judgment of others, step out from behind your curtain of fear and loathing and actually *try* some of the things offered here. Once you do, if find you don’t like them, please feel free to voice your opinion, but from a position of experience.

    Until then, realize that you don’t know who you’re speaking of, and you certainly don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know what it is that’s really bothering you, but you should consider aiming your hostilities elsewhere.

    • Anonymous permalink
      August 24, 2011 11:05 PM

      I think I was clear on what was bothering me. Some may argue, too clear.

      I have tried plenty of these things offered in other venues…pot lucks and storytelling and coffees and improv. Love ’em all. Having been invited to some of the events offered by THIS business owner and asked to spend money on THESE events, I am allowed an opinion on how I think this business is run.

      I don’t need to shop at Walmart to disagree with their business practices and choose not to shop there. Not a fan of how McDonald’s does business and I don’t need to eat Big Macs to make the choice not to go there. Not a fan of how Saya does business so I won’t be attending any of these events. I disagree with the notion that you actually have to experience something firsthand to make an informed choice about it.

      Obviously, I’m in the minority here. At least for those that are commenting on this blog. That doesn’t mean that the one negative opinion shared here (well two if you count that silent but deadly one) is not valid.

      I realize I’m judging up a storm here but LES you have all sorts of judgments on what my experience is and isn’t. Curtain of fear and loathing? That sounds full of a whole lotta judgement to me.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    August 22, 2011 7:13 PM

    Different anonymous here. I’m going to remain anonymous because I don’t want to offend any mutual friends. I received an invite to some of your events from a friend so I decided to check out your site. Charging people to have coffee with you? Charging them to go to a potluck? The whole point of a pot luck is that you’re making something to share so you don’t have to pay your friend. I’m pretty awesome to hang out with but I don’t fancy myself so awesome that I need to charge people for the privilege. You seem so proud of yourself that 25 poor fools actually agreed to pay you money to come play board games at your house. You should be proud- that is some masterful scamming right there.

    I appreciate the importance of networking. I just can’t imagine charging a friend of a friend who asks me for career advice or networking help. You say you need to pay for the health insurance. Well sure. I need to pay for my health insurance so I will help old ladies across the street and then charge them! There’s a business plan! When did basic social niceties become businesses? This is sad. Perhaps if your tone wasn’t quite so self-congratulatory and maybe if you had more than 6 years of experience, I could stomach this a bit more. I understand the need for self-promotion in order to advance your career, no matter what the profession, but this is really taking it to a new level.

    Also, you’re not allowing Jill to have your idea because this is not your idea. Rarely does anyone have a brand new business idea these days. This reminds me of David Letterman asking Oprah if she based her school in Africa on any any existing programs. Oprah, “No! It was all my idea! I just came up with it!” Right. Oprah invented education just like Saya invented networking over coffee and having friends over to play board games.

    Sending y’all the proverbial silent but deadly in the crowded room, I shall remain,

    • August 22, 2011 9:54 PM

      Potluck! is a curated event of speakers.

      Feel free to come out from behind the curtain, I don’t know why anyone would be offended by your post.

      Have a wonderful day!

  5. August 19, 2011 8:58 AM

    I have thought about doing a Travel Tea / Coffee meeting too… But I didn’t want to use your idea without permission! Good to know you like your ideas used! 🙂

  6. Anonymous permalink
    August 18, 2011 3:47 PM

    Please keep the dispatches from Planet Insufferable coming….postcards are way better than having to make the trip ourselves.


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