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Honesty is a virtue…Right?

So let’s be honest…we know very little, if anything, about the coffee business from the bean to the cup.  I know I like coffee.  I know it grows on trees, is picked by people and shipped around the world to be roasted and sold.  However, I know nothing of the science of growing the best plant, picking the best cherries (yes coffee is a cherry), or the details in roasting profiles for specific beans.  I do not know why altitude or soil content matters for the best tasting coffee, or how the proper ventilation holes on a bag of coffee keeps it fresher longer.  Why does shade grown coffee beat open grown coffee in taste?  What is Fair Trade value and does it change country to country?  There are so many questions we have about the industry.  I read somewhere there are 13-16 steps from the bean to the cup.  Really?!?!?  I just walk into the local coffee shop and order a cup to drink and a pound to take home.  There can’t really be that much that goes into it?  In a day and age when there are so called “experts” all around us professing their competence in a specific area and prodding us along to hire them, use their product, read their book and so on, it is not normal to profess, “I’m not an expert, follow me!”

If at first you don’t succeed…

not an expert socialHowever, in a world of so-called “experts” everywhere I think it is refreshing to hear a voice rise above the noise and proclaim, “I have no idea how to do this, but let’s go for it.” The expert epidemic in my opinion often times hinders people’s dreams and aspirations.  Because they do not have expertise or knowledge in an area, they feel inadequate to even try.  They might have an abundance of passion and desire in a given area, but they are looked down upon and never given a chance because they don’t have the right degree or have never been published or whatever.  I hear it often times in my own children, the “I can’t” syndrome.  I can’t do this…I can’t do that…I don’t know how…I’m not smart enough…blah, blah, blah.  I have to constantly combat this in my own home.  “Holroyd’s never say ‘can’t.”  I want my kids to think the sky is the limit regardless of what everyone else says.  I want them to pursue their dreams despite feeling inadequate or not “expert enough.”

Bible degree=Internet Service Provider?

I happen to have an Associate of Arts in Pastoral Studies from a school which no longer exists.  I never pursued ministerial credentials from an established religious institution, only online credentials that were cheap to hold so I could marry and bury people.  When I moved my family to the U.P. of Michigan I found part time work with a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) as an installer. My previous experience in the internet industry was when I was youth pastor we used to hold LAN (local area network) gaming parties.  20 guys would bring in their computers and Matt and Michael would network all these computers together.  I was amazed!  I would try to help but only mess things up because it made absolutely no sense to me.  I figured this whole “networking” thing was a language I would never get. I worked for 1.5 years simply installing internet in people’s homes.  They say “necessity is the mother of invention.”  In my case needing more money to support my family became the mother of my need to do more than just install internet.  So, with my impressive schooling background and amazing internet installer attributes, I decided one day to start a WISP company of my own.  5 years later I run a business with more than 40 access points and over 800 customers.  I know more acronyms for routing protocols then books of the Bible, and on any given day

200' on one of our towers

200′ on one of our towers

over 2,000 devices hookup through our network to the internet.  The Internet business started out as a way of making money.  Now I see it as helping people fulfill dreams.  Bringing a plethora of knowledge into their home that makes the old Encyclopedia Britannica’s on the shelf good for nothing more than gathering dust because they now have 1,000 different texts to search on using the internet.  It is a way for parents to work from home more often and spend more time with their kids.  It also enables kids who may not have been able to afford “expert” education to now compete on a world wide scale because they are learning from the best teachers from around the world.  Am I an internet expert?  Hardly!  There are still thousands of people with more knowledge than I have or ever will, yet, as a business we are successful.  Why?  Simply because “can’t” does not exist and not being an “expert” has never meant so little.

Technology makes us all “Experts”

al goreAl Gore several years ago invented the internet. 😉  Since then information is exchanged at an incredible rate.  Right now technology is doubling in its capacity in about 18 months.  The new iphone or droid is actually obsolete by the time it hits the shelves.  I was at Best Buy about a month ago and saw a 4k TV.  I thought, “What the heck is a 4k TV?  Did they go beyond 3D and make one that now smells?”  Instantly when I saw this I pulled out my phone and Googled “4k TV.”  Within 5 seconds I have “expert” write ups on 4k technology and why it is the greatest thing of all time.  I instantly become an “expert” on 4k TV’s to everyone who has not researched it.  My point in all this is to say just because someone is not an expert in a given area does not mean they are incapable.  I would go so far as to say I want someone in my company who may not be an expert but are passionate about the technology and are willing to dedicate themselves to learning about it.  Many people go into a profession because of the money they will make, or the status they will gain among peers.  I want the person who has defied the odds their whole life and is passionate about life itself.  Someone who understands money is not the end game and knows that giving life to people they encounter is what every profession should be about.  And yes, education matters and knowledge is power.  However, knowledge without passion is a coffee cup without any coffee.

What matters most…

Chris, Gabe and I are admittedly not coffee experts.  Each one of us brings a different skill set to the table which I’m sure fits into one of the 16 steps from the bean to the cup.  But, those skill sets take a backseat to the desire we have to do good things in this life for others.  It is the selfless attitude that makes Mission Arabica’s heart beat.  The desire to do good and build others up regardless of their ethnicity, gender, or economic status.  To not let greed run our lives or our business as Chris stated in an earlier blog. To share life with people and give life to those who are sinking.  At the same time learning from those we help.  To remain humble and teachable, never aspiring to be “the expert”.  Always learning, growing, and creating life with others as they create life in us.  This is the drive and passion behind Mission Arabica.  This is the life we want to share with you and for you to share with us as we go along in this journey together.  Don’t settle for less because you are not an “expert” in something.  It may be a fool’s statement, but I do believe the sky is the limit.  Not experts?  Why should that stop us, or stop you?