“Let’s grab coffee and chat.”
Those five words are far more dangerous than you may realize.
When you begin to create, start a business, write a blog, or generally do interesting stuff a funny thing happens. Lots of people want to have coffee with you. Most of the time it’s a bad idea.
Face to face meetings can be valuable. There’s an energy that you don’t get any other way. But the cost is very high, and it’s extremely rare to gain that energy with a stranger. Unless you know from interactions over email, social media, or phone that you and this person have mutual interests and will both be spurred to beneficial action by a coffee meeting, avoid it.
It’s not that coffee isn’t fun. That’s the problem. It is fun. Waxing about how much you love innovation or art is a blast. But that’s not scarce. There are more opportunities to talk about cool things than ever before. What’s scarce is conversation that leads directly to productivity.
There are professional coffee drinkers. People who spend all day asking others to coffee to talk. They keep talking, meeting, discussing, exploring, plotting, networking, devising, gaining input, seeking inspiration, building consensus, creating boards and backers and teams for non-existent organizations or efforts. These people will consume you.