Amanda Whitt, of Everyman Espresso, talks to us about using crowdsourcing to fund her trip to TED Vancouver:
I was a last minute addition to the roster. I saw a friend post about getting their badge [for TED] so I e-mailed [BGA Executive Council Member ] Cole McBride to see how I could get involved next year. He let me know that a few of this year’s volunteers had recently backed out, so I contacted Laila Ghambari, also on the BGA Executive Council, who sent me the application for this year’s WCE/TED collaboration. I had just finished the NERBC competition, which was a week of lost wages, and New York is a really expensive place to live on a barista salary. In addition, I work for a small business that is unable to give us paid vacation at this point. I was inspired in part by Amanda Palmer’s 2013 TED Talk “The Art of Asking”, which empowered me to feel comfortable about asking for help from others. My company, along with my customers and the coffee-community-at-large, fully supported and promoted my crowdsourcing efforts. We have a lot of opportunities as baristas to participate in interesting coffee-related events, but many of us can’t afford to take the time off to do so. In this case, I chose to use crowdsourcing as a solution, but I think we should work to come up with ways to make these kind of things more accessible and talk more openly about this kind of thing in the specialty coffee industry.