Today, for the second time, our office was completely and utterly without coffee. Now, despite an entirely new Keurig dispenser that has chrome and glowing blue lights and looks like a possessed robot, we have caffeination failure. So, while the first failure was a rallying point for all of us here at the Oven Glove of Technology due to an old machine that obviously could be scientifically improved upon, this new devil is much mroe shaming. Technology has failed us.
Coffee is an art. Who but foolish man would think to take a bean, let it sit around for awhile in the sun, burn it, crush it up, add boiling water to it, and serve the resulting brown stuff as a drink? It is an art with an advanced set of tools and implements, full of variety, floavor, and change. The K-cups and instant powders of more recent years are just another permutation of this art, perhaps more ‘pop’ than classical, but still in the same category. When you’re throwing art and technology together, sometimes one of them fails.
Take our good friend Leo, the Renaissance man. He was an artist, a student, an observer of life. As such, he noted many natural phenomena that had escaped the notice of others. He delved into the world around him, explored it, and engineered to adapt to it. We remember him for this flexibility of mind, and praise him for it. Yet most of what we know him for are the works he never completed – the bronze horse, Il Cavallo, or the Golden Horn bridge, or the helicopters and hang gliders he modelled that worked, more or less. His principles were sound. The things he envisioned could be built. But his follow-through, when coupled with the political climate of the time, was limited.
So what does that mean for our office and Keurig? Should we penalize them for the failure of their fancy-pants machines? Should we give them the opportunity to follow through and get it right? Or are such ‘convenience’ inventions merely attempts that are doomed to fail, or inherently less worthy than others?