I'm sure there's a correlation between good quality coffee and good quality computer code. Every time I drink copious amounts of coffee, I seem to become a computer programming genius. Has anyone else experienced this?
Office Hours at Java Lounge
Last week I sat in an independent coffee shop catching up on emails, when I began talking to the founder of Java Lounge Coffee House, Akram Almulad was born in Birmingham, UK, to parents of Yemeni origin. If you're into historical facts, Yemen is the original birthplace of coffee dating back to the 15th century.
Having an inquisitive mind, I was intrigued by his journey; how he built a company from a small coffee room in a Birmingham suburb, to multiple shops across the city.
Passionate People Think Differently
From the very beginning Akram's passion for what he does was clear; delivering a good quality end product. I told him about the mantra I used with my team; 'Passionate people think differently'. He nodded with approval.
Starting out it was just him; a one-man band, a lone soul in a coffee room on a side street. One year later, he soldiered on. Year two, and word had spread that something was cooking or in his case, roasting in the UK's second largest city.
After three years, Akram had just about broken even. He then came across an opportunity to expand, and was determined to take it. This time, a commercial unit became available on the main thoroughfare and Akram made the pitch of his life.
Did he inflate his takings, depict hockey stick growth or pretend he was the next Richard Branson? He did neither. He used his greatest tool; honesty.
He told the agents his position and after a few negotiations, a deal was made. Today, I'm sat in that very same coffee house, writing this article.
Sweat The Small Stuff
If you sweat the small stuff, bigger things are around the corner. As part of my founders series podcast, I have spoken to many founders around the world. The most successful ones are those who have an eye for detail.
The devil is in the detail.
When Akram started out, coffee houses were not fashionable, on-trend or hip. Today, everyone has a favorite beverage. So to stand behind a counter for two years, before he was able to move forward, was the necessary commitment Akram made.
I Have A Dream
Martin Luther King once said, I have a dream, so does this founder. He sat down with Omar; his right-hand man and sold him the dream. He told Omar: 'We do things properly here'; I don't just want one coffee shop, but multiple, and each to be known for the best coffee in the city.
Martin Luther King said "I have a dream"
Today, there are four coffee shops, tailored to their immediate surroundings and target customers. From the city centre, to business park and suburb locations, Java Lounge continues to grow.
Rinse n' Repeat
To achieve this, you need to put in place the right people with the right processes. Then 'Rinse n Repeat'. In business, it is known as a formula. In software development, it's the magical algorithm. In other words, we're using different terms with the same outcome.
Quality vs Quantity
As founders, we both have high standards. Nothing makes Akram happier than to observe one of his managers training a new member whilst bearing in mind his values: 'No, that's not how we do things here, trash it and start again!'
I couldn't stop smiling; I shared the same values. I emphasize to my team, that I much prefer 10 quality deliverables, than 100 below par.
10 quality deliverables, rather 100 below par.
As the voice of RecruitSumo Inc, this is extremely important to me, its what we're known for. I didn't come into business to be mediocre or to be below par. If any of my team makes this their normality, they always find themselves working somewhere else.
There's something about being a founder that only other founders appreciate. They understand what it takes to launch a business and ride the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur.
- Two years continuing to back himself, when others would not. (I've been there, I can relate to that).
- Being 100% honest with people aka no hidden agenda. (That's my make up too).
- Selling the dream to build a team of people who believe as much as you do. (Yep, I've done that, I have an international team around the globe).
- Having a high-quality end product that people notice. At a coffee house its the taste of their coffee (nothing else matters). In software, it's the ability to ship early and ship quickly (nothing else matters).
Different industries, different backgrounds, yet Akram and I share the same values.
There are hundreds if not thousands of founders, but the one's that make it, share similar traits.
Coffee and Code
To conclude, there is a correlation between coffee and code. Finding good quality coffee comes from the bean, process and then delivery. Finding good quality software engineers comes from understanding what makes software engineers tick, identifiying their potential and matching that to a team playing their tune.
Akram Almulad, is the esteemed founder of Java Lounge Coffee House. With four locations across Birmingham and still growing, he demonstrates customer care, values human capital whilst consistently delivering a good quality product.
My name is Ian Barnor and I'm the founder of RecruitSumo Inc a predictive data analytics company based in the Boulder, Colorado, USA. Everything we do starts with people.
RecruitSumo Inc, sharing our passion for machine learning and artificial intelligence. We specialize in predictive analytics for human capital adding value by helping build the right organization, culture, team, and talent to succeed.