Not Enough Sandboxes to Scale the Kopi Luwak Value Proposition

My son sent this picture from his iPhone last year while visiting a coffee plantation in Indonesia:

When I saw this image, two things came to mind.   The first was this clip from one of my favorite movies, The Bucket List:

My second thought centered on another reality that many Entrepreneurs experience in No Man’s Land.  A friend responded after seeing my son’s picture with, “Did he find the sandbox yet?”  How can you scale production that requires hands-on accumulation of beans that successfully passed through the intestines of a mountain cat?  Answer- can’t happen.  Even though “The World’s Most Expensive Coffee” is one of the better Value Propositions I’ve heard in the past decade, you can’t build a scalable model to support it.  Bottom line – you can’t make more money with increased volumes – there just aren’t that many hungry exotic mountain felines to make it work.

Kopi Luwak provides a whimsical example of what many growing companies experience with their economic model, or lack thereof.  Many CEOs don’t ask the question, “Is our value proposition scalable, and can we make money at higher volumes”, until they’re mid-stream in No Man’s Land, and then it’s too late.  At that point, they stop drinking Kopi Luwak and start their mornings at 7 Eleven.


Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.59.00 AM

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