The Importance of Being Informal

For the last (almost 10 years), a group of marketing and social media enthusiasts have been meeting for coffee. We arrive around 8am each Friday at Sydney’s Single O cafe in Surry Hills for coffee and conversation. Some of us work in social or digital media as a profession. Some of us are involved as part of an interest. And a few are only in it for the coffee.

Over the years, we have seen regulars become friends. There have been weddings and children. There have been breakups and tragedies, visitors and ring-ins. And it has been the most brilliant way to spend a Friday morning ever conceived.

Last week, John Kerrison could not make it to Surry Hills but he beamed in via Facebook Live. Here’s what he had to say (and why he’ll be back more regularly).

Share Your #CoffeeMornings Moments

It’s amazing how a relatively random event can turn into a “thing”. It’s what happens when you bring people together and find a spark.

Well over nine years ago, I walked into a cafe where I knew no one. Emily Reed waved to Katie Chatfield and I, and the first ever #CoffeeMornings became a reality.

Over the next couple of hours, plans were hatched and alliances formed. We decided to meet again the following Friday. And the Friday after that …

As we approach our 10th Anniversary, I thought it would be nice to collate some of the stories and connections, photos and even videos that make Sydney Coffee Mornings a unique event. So whether you are a casual participant or a long term stalwart, leave a comment, link or photo about your experience. Or better yet – drop in on Friday.

Special thanks as always – to Single Origin in Reservoir Street, Surry Hills – management and crew. It would never happen without them!

#CoffeeMornings for Evening People

The Sydney institution that is #CoffeeMornings has now been running regularly for the last nine years. And while we have many who turn up each Friday regularly, there are some that come only occasionally. Rarely. Hardly at all. Some people even tell me that they “just can’t get up early enough to make it to Single Origin by 8am.

So if you are one of these so-called “evening people”, then you may want to come along to a Coffee Mornings for Evening People next Tuesday evening. It’s like Christmas party way ahead of the Christmas party rush that happens in December. If you can make it, we’d love to see you.

Where: Papa Gedes Bar, Rear 348 Kent Street
When: Tuesday, 24 November 2015 @ 6pm


Coffee Mornings Reaches a New Milestone

I remember it like it was yesterday. A little cafe in North Sydney on a Friday morning. A touch of trepidation. The smell of coffee.

Walking in, I scanned the room looking for a familiar face. There wasn’t anyone I recognised. Or knew. I was almost ready to leave when I caught Emily’s eye. Yes, this was the right place.

Hours later, we had solved the world’s problems and were drunk on conversation and chaos. I had found “my people”.

We decided to meet again the following week. And the following week. And so on.

And this Friday, this gathering that has weathered Sydney’s weather, busy work schedules, promotions, growing families and commitments and even overcome profound inertia turns NINE years old.

If you haven’t been down to visit in a while, maybe it’s time to come back. And if you’ve never been to a coffee morning in Sydney at Single Origin in Surry Hills, then perhaps it is time to start a new personal history. See you there!

Coffee Mornings - Single Origin

A Coffee Morning Interlude this Friday

When we first started regularly holding our coffee mornings in Sydney, we didn’t know what would happen. We didn’t know what it would be like to actually meet this amorphous collection of “online connections”. But within minutes, we knew we were onto a winning formula – interesting people, good coffee and a sense of curiosity all round.

One of my favourite wildcards in the whole coffee morning experience was Gavin, the guy behind the Single Origin cafe where we hung out. A passionate and energetic coffee lover, he ensured there was always an element of surprise in every roast and every cup.

Now, after a break, Gavin’s back roasting coffee in Sydney. And this week he is letting his first batch loose on the world. So this week – rather than the usual Single Origin destination – I’ll be heading down to Shop 6, 81 Macleay St, Potts Point to sample his latest labour of love. I’d love for you to join me.


And in case you are wondering what coffee mornings are really about … take a quick flip through this presentation. It tries to capture just a little of what makes it all so special. See you from 8am!

Come to Coffee Morning During Sydney Digital Week – March 7-11, 2011

 SDW Coffee mornings is an informal get together that happens each week in Sydney. No topics are off the table. But neither is it structured. It’s open to anyone and everyone. Many attendees are interested in social media, but we also attract people with interests in advertising, marketing, technology and web development. Occasionally we host international guests who want to experience good coffee and conversation first hand.

Now in its fifth year, Sydney Coffee Mornings happen from 7am each Friday morning (with most people arriving after 8am) – at the Single Origin cafe – 64 Reservoir St, Surry Hills.

During March, as part of the ad:tech Sydney conference, @coffeemornings will be part of what is being billed as “sydney digital week”. The line up is:

If you haven’t been to Sydney coffee morning before, please make Sydney Digital Week, the week that you do!

A Cup of Chaos #49: The Single Origin Experience

Regular readers will know that I love coffee. And that my favourite cafe is Single Origin in Sydney’s Surry Hills. Well, after talking about blogs and blogging during Coffee Mornings for the last four or so years, the good ship Single Origin are on-board with social media and doing a great job of it!

You can check out their What’s in the Hopper blog here or subscribe through an RSS reader here.

And to give you a taste of what they are serving up, check out this hilarious video review of Canned Coffees from the land of the rising sun. Awesome voice over, camera work and interpretation from Jimmy.

Come to Breakfast with the Face Behind Facebook

Wherever you look across the social web, you are bound to trip over some aspect of Facebook. Whether it is a NFP using Facebook ads, pages or marketplace, or blog posts questioning the changes to the privacy arrangements, there is no doubt that Facebook as a platform, tool and yes, a social network, is a hot topic.

But it is notoriously difficult to get face time with Facebook – especially here in Australia. So if you are like me, you’ll jump at the opportunity to spend some quality time with Paul Borrud, Head of Facebook Australasia.

Siobhan Bulfin, energetic organiser of the ConnectNow conferences, is hosting a breakfast on June 3, 2010 in Sydney. Tickets are $50. You can book via Eventbrite.

Creative Sydney and the Truth About Coffee Mornings

Last night I spent the evening at Creative Sydney, a three week festival celebrating the wealth and diversity of the city’s creative talents. I was there to speak on the topic of creative approaches to networking – and in particular, how our coffee mornings have evolved into a vibrant community gathering.

Interestingly, as I arrived, I bumped into Sebastian Goldspink who was part of our original coffee morning brigade. It seemed a fitting and positive omen.

The evening kicked off with a quick get together … allowing the speakers to get to know each other (a little), and then it was into the rapidly filling room complete with smoke machine. Imogen Semmler facilitated the panel, setting the scene for the different types of networking that take place across the city.

creativesydney-piavangelder Pia van Gelder entranced the audience with her unique, geeky style and passion for electronics. As the Overlord of Dorkbot.Syd, Pia creates a space where people who are interested in “doing strange things with electricity” can come together to share ideas, collaborate on projects and showcase their latest inventions. In Sydney, they meet on the second last Tuesday of every month – but check their website for confirmation.

creativesydney-chrismead Chris Mead from Playwriting Australia spoke about the way his small organisation of three people are working across the creative industries to connect like minds and resources. From Broome to Hobart, this small team are transforming the relationships between people, plays and playwrights – and doing so on a shoestring budget. It was particularly fascinating to hear the way play scripts affect the individuals who work on them as well as the communities of which they are a part.

creativesydney-angelabennetts Angela Bennetts runs an event called Even Books. It is “… a regularly occurring night of mayhem themed around a different book each time. Sometimes we have bands, sometimes acting performances, sometimes bingo, sometimes readings. But always booze. Good old booze. Oh, and books.” It was great to see how the event grew from a small cafe setting with book readings to full-blown, themed parties – but what was clear – a tremendous amount of planning and effort goes into making these events a success. There is another one coming up soon (check the Facebook page).

Michael Chrisoulakis from Metro Screen spoke about the way they bring various players in the film industry together. Events are designed to start building creative teams – putting producers and directors in touch with screenwriters and actors and so on. The “speed networking” events are designed to accelerate these types of introduction. The next speed networking event is scheduled for July 7.

Pecha Kucha is a regular meetup for architects and designers – and provides an opportunity for them to showcase their ideas and work. It has a huge global following – and the Sydney event is run by Marcus Trimble. Each presenter is allowed 20 slides – but only 20 seconds per slide. This means that their story must be delivered in 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

My talk was on coffee mornings and how they evolved. You can see it here.

Coffee in January

The good people at Sydney's Single Origin are taking a well-earned break through to January 19. Well, it's a break with some work thrown in — apparently they are renovating, to make more space for coffee machines and folks like you and me. This means that we may have to find an alternative venue for the next couple of Friday mornings. I will keep you posted.

However, for those who have yet to experience the bizarre, enthusiastic and envigorating world of the Single Origin coffee experience, my friend, Scott Drummond has put together a great video that gives some sense of what goes on. In fact, the footage was taken just before the holiday break — the last social media coffee morning for the year …

Driving down the street I could see people spread out across the road. I knew it was going to be "special". And as I got close, I could hear music — live music. There was a band perched on the kerb opposite the cafe, serenading the morning coffee crowd and spreading a joyous vibe through the neighbourhood. It was just another example of the GREAT customer experience that Single Origin provides. Now, I just can't wait to get back for one of those famous long black coffees! Roll on the 19th!

Single Origin Gypsy Friday from Scott Drummond on Vimeo.

Oh, and here's a challenge … how many people do you recognise in the video? The sharpest eyes will win coffee and banana bread on me 😉