Monday, February 18, 2008

On good coffee and acquisitions

When traveling to my parents town with my wife, we used to stop by a coffee shop on the highway, where a charming couple made good coffee with a smile. They were efficient and friendly. As soon as we were stepping out of the car, they were already preparing for our usual order (espresso and cappuccino), and they had always a joke or a funny comment for us.

Once we saw them dealing with two busloads of tourists, serving whatever they asked rapidly and cheerfully. This shop was a popular stop, always crowded.
It ended a few weeks ago. Someone decided that the location was profitable, and now the small shop has been replaced by a huge coffee+restaurant+amenities resort.
We stopped there, out of habit, shortly before my world trip. The crowd was thinner than usual. The charming couple was gone, replaced by a 4 people team, who sent us to queue at the cashier's before ordering. The coffee was awful, and the barista's attitude less than friendly. We were not impressed.
We went there again yesterday, just to give them another chance. The 4 people team has grown to 5, but the attitude and skillset have not improved. There were very few people, less than we had ever seen in that location. If you ask me, that resort is doomed. If there was any good business, it was because of the people running it, not because of a magical road junction that compelled travelers to stop there.
The lesson to learn here is simple: taking over a successful business without due thought to the people factor is risky, bordering on disastrous.
Sun seems to have this concept in mind. After the MySQL acquisition, they want to keep MySQL people in the right places. I am confident in the future, but a friendly reminder should not do any harm. :)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sicuramente in MySQL ci sono dei veri professionisti come te Maxia. sei un grande.