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They're Using it at Coffee Shops (usingitatcoffeeshops.tumblr.com)
143 points by dkuebric on Aug 16, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments

This is all about selling people on a dream, in my opinion. A lot of tech people work in drab settings (at least I do), so images of colorful, social environments awake a yearning for something better, for something more enjoyable. Isn't it a dream that many of us share, to earn a high income doing the things we love, all from inside a neighborhood coffee shop surrounded by smiling faces and cute baristas instead of some sterile office building?

>This is all about selling people on a dream, in my opinion

You have just described literally all marketing.


It is no coincidence that the inventor of public relations was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. He wanted to call it simply "propaganda" but he decided that term's nazi connotations rendered it unsuitable.


Great post, I highly recommend the documentary "The Century of the Self" which covers this in frightening detail.

I'm not a religious person, but in my view religious communities are some of the few that have been able to see and understand the deleterious effects of this "field of study".

That is a good documentary indeed (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0432232/). For me, it offered a better understanding of modern western civilization — of the interplay between politics, consumerism and spiritualism (without there being need for any conspiracies). Since watching it I regularly, on occasion, ask myself: Are my desires being channeled right now?

All marketing, at it's root, is about satisfying the two human motivators: sex & death.

Don't forget fear of choking on your mother's penis or whatever it is.

To really understand Freud I think you probably need a comparably boundless supply of 19th century viennese cocaine.

I'm in marketing. You left a lot of motivators off of the list. Food. Money. Desire to fit in.

Food. Money. Desire to fit in.

I beg to differ. Those are all part of sex and death.

Without food I will wither away until I die. Without tasty food I will feel like I'm in a living death.

Money buys power (consumer power, or what have you) and with that grants you the possibility to expand your genetic profile, just like sex. And the desire to fit in is in the same realm as sex, because we want people to find us desirable so that we can potentially become a mate. I'm stretching and only using male-female desire here, but it's not a great leap to see how male-male desire (not sexual) is just a form of males wanting to become alpha- rather than beta-male to increase attractiveness.

In latin languages, "marketing" and "propaganda" are used interchangeably.

There is some truth embedded in the dream, also. One study showed a link between creative breakthroughs and feeling happy: "Researchers have found that people are more likely to have a creative breakthrough if they were happy the day before."[1]

If you work in a drab setting and hate it, get out more!

[1] http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/creativity/creati...

Poetic. And a good point. The social vibe of a coffee shop gives me energy, and going to the same environment with the same people every day just drains that away.

I like to think that, in tech centers at least, coffee shops are like the Parisian cafe scene of the Enlightenment - a hotbed of ideas and innovative thinking.

Though these days it's maybe more of a supplement to the Internet.

They are also places where college kids setup for hours and never leave.

I found I could never concentrate in a coffee shop. It depends on the task, ultimately.

But the dream is of the metaphorical coffee shop, of course. You could work in a colourful bean-bag-chair-filled brick-and-beam, but still be miserable in your current role. Or you could come into a suburban corporate park and burst at the seams with energy.

I have tried working from a coffee shop several times. I found that my office is just a better place to get things done. Coffee shops are great if I want to write some quick emails or play Go with a friend, but when I need to sit down for a few hours and code or work on a paper I need a place without distractions. Drab offices are depressing, sure, but they are better for actually getting work done, at least for me.

>> I need a place without distractions. Drab offices are depressing, sure, but they are better for actually getting work done, at least for me.

The thing about a coffee shop is that it provides just enough noise to not be distracting. Plus it's much easier to tune out the sound of an espresso machine, people coming in and out, and the clatter of dishes than it is a co-worker on speaker phone two cubes over or someone standing behind you talking.

Sure, some people need complete silence and tranquility and work best in a closed door office, but many people can tune out and work well in a busy, noisy coffee shop.

Coffee is also connected with taking a break, and the image of a coffee cup conveys the idea that by using the product, your life would allow you to spend a lot of your time being leisurely.

Heh. This should really be titled "they're using it while drinking coffee". Some of these pictures could be offices, coworking environments, desks in home offices, and so on.

But yes, the "tech products are better used next to a mug of coffee" trope is amusing :)

Vooza should spoof it and have the dev knock the coffee onto the laptop destroying their entire prototype.

Good marketing is often context-based. There's a reason all of the shots show a person's arms, a computer, and a cup of coffee. They want you to imagine yourself using the product in an ideal setting. Should they demo it on a couch in a messy apartment, or in a drab office with florescent lighting?

This is why when you see ads for Porsche's and Mercedes, they are parked on a brick-covered street in Soho or a huge mansion with a circular driveway, instead of parked at a red light on a dirty street or in gridlock traffic, which is where they will most likely end up.

They're using _Macs_ at coffee shops.

Apple products, actually. I count 8 Macs, 3 iPads and one iPhone. I understand why though, Apple products look good. I wouldn't want to put a Dell Inspiron in my ad.

It reminds me of the aesthetics of "enterprise" and "big serious business". You know: generic stock photos of server rooms, smiling businessmen https://www.google.com/search?q=smiling+businessman+hand&tbm..., smiling telemarketers/help desk operators https://www.google.com/search?q=smiling+telemarketer&tbm=isc...

Most of these companies are selling stuff to developers/designers/people running startups or tech businesses. There's a reason for this aesthetic, even if it's quickly becoming stale.

I don't like it partly because it kind of reinforces a stereotype that software engineering and design is an easy job and the people doing it are somewhat shallow. Working from a coffee shop in no way implies that, but when people dismiss developers/designers as hipsters using their laptops in a coffee shop, there's a baggage in the discourse.

I'm not sure what's going on here.

I think it's highlighting all the marketing pieces that show people using their products in coffee shops. Like "Coffee shops" are the new trendy location. "Use our product, and be a cool coffee shop person."

Ah, so obvious now. Thanks.

I believe they are commenting on the similar locations for all the various product marekting photos.

A lot of these just happen to have a coffee cup in them and aren't necessarily at a coffee shop.

Petty funny. and exposing an over-used cliche web landing page that every apps seems to be following and mimicking these days.

Anyone else do a quick mental check about their own site?

This hits home for me. Working in the man cave eventually gets drab and lonely. The coffee shop for me is a great place to keep things new and exciting. The environment and sense that everyone else is in work mode at the coffee shop forces me to do the same.

Not going to lie. I expected a different kind of coffee shop.

Let's face it, its the next best (and more culturally acceptable) pictorial setting compared to your product appearing in-front of a scantily clad porn star... bringing you your coffee.

Right, because porn lends everything an air of legitimacy.

Working at a coffee shop now--don't see what the problem is. :)

Wait, are you working, or reading and commenting on HN?

I mean - I too call that working, or at least "working" :) I don't mean to criticize!

Could also be renamed "They're doing it on macs"

What ever happened to plain old screenshots?

Cement colored offices make people sad, but you don't get much done at a coffee shop.

I think that making your office space awesome (e.g. Google's Tel Aviv office in particular – http://bit.ly/1ePziyy) is the ultimate solution. You need a place where people can be creative but productive, and still interact with others around them so that they don't feel alone and depressed.

If you want the best out of people, you need to give them the best.

We went from working a slightly dingy, tiny office in a converted duplex to a brand new place with open floor plans and 3 times the space, but the new office was so dang loud, nobody could get anything done. Concrete floors, block walls, no ceiling tiles, it looks really nice but you can hear a ping drop in the front office from the back of the building.

That sucks. Are you guys going to move?

I work in an office in downtown Boulder, CO, and while it looks amazing (heaps of comfy chairs, bean bags) there is construction being done all the time and my desk shakes like we're being hit by an earthquake. Down the road from us are Quickleft's offices, and they have a keg of beer on tap and a Japanese rock garden. Jealous.

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