The Original Inspiration
Suyog always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. It runs in his family. His dad is one, many others in his family are, and it was always his dream to start a company. Me, on the other hand, not so much. I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur. We both studied engineering at Georgia Tech, and started working at a digital marketing agency, SapientNitro, right after. It’s a great place to work, we had inspiring, hard-working and driven colleagues, and we really enjoyed our jobs.
In 2012, we had been working for eight and six years respectively out of college. But we were starting to get that itch. Something that’s probably quite common after a few years after college. Is this it? Is this what we want to do forever? While we liked our jobs, we felt like we wanted something else, and so we started talking about it with each other. But we didn’t really have an answer.
One date night at home, over a few glasses of wine, we decided to re-watch . Since we had already been questioning our life and our work, his words resonated more than they ever had before. Yes, we wanted our work to matter. We wanted to wake up every morning, look at the mirror and be proud of the work we were going to do. And while we liked our jobs, we just didn’t feel that passionate about it. But the question still persisted – what is that work going to be?
Over the next few months, we read other people’s stories about doing work they loved, watched many TED talks & listened to lots of inspiring speeches. The reason we needed to do this was two-fold – one, we wanted to find work we loved, but didn’t know what that would be. Learning from others who went on similar paths & felt what we were feeling was a start to figure that out. Secondly, the thought of leaving the security of well paying jobs was terrifying. The idea of failure is scary. So we needed to hear from others about how they tried and failed, until they succeeded. At the end of it all, we needed to know that it was okay to fail.
Over these months, we created an Inspiration Wall in our apartment. Little quotes from everything we read & watched reminding us that it would be far worse to do nothing, than to do something & fail.
“It would be far worse to do nothing, than to do something & fail.”
The Inspiration Wall in our Brooklyn apartment.
After a few months of talking about this, we started to get restless. We needed to do something about it. I decided to take a sabbatical from my job for a few months, while Suyog continued working. In these few months, I explored working in the social impact sector, and at the same time, we continued our search for great work by following others’ inspirational stories.
One particular video stood out for us – an interview of about how they started a company together. They talked about how they wrote down individually a list of things they wanted from their work. Both Suyog and I found that quite an interesting idea, and decided to try it out. Over the countless discussions we had been having about doing work we cared about, we had realized we had very similar ideas and values about work, and it’s role in our lives.
As we wrote these down and talked about them, we came to the conclusion – We should work together. We should start a company!
Why Driftaway Coffee
We have both been coffee drinkers from high school. Back then, and through college, it was mostly for caffeine. We didn’t know much about coffee, or really appreciate coffee. When we got married, we were gifted an espresso machine & grinder. That got us into buying whole beans, and making cappuccinos and cortados for weekend mornings. Our coffee geekery had started!
Then, somewhere in 2012, Suyog read the book , and he was really inspired by it. Through the book, he realized the importance of freshly roasted coffee and a good burr grinder. We then started to exclusively buy coffee beans that had been roasted in the past 2-3 weeks. We really cherished the morning ritual of grinding our coffee, brewing it and drinking it while reading the news.
When we moved to Brooklyn at the start of my sabbatical, we started looking for getting freshly roasted coffee. Though there were quite a few cafes around us, it was still quite a hassle to find coffees roasted recently, especially when you have to keep doing it every two weeks. We turned to some subscription services, but didn’t really find one that we consistently loved.
This was around the time when we had also decided to start a company together. So we combined these two, and decided to test a freshly roasted coffee subscription company.
– Anu, co-founder @ Driftaway Coffee
Chapter 2: Driftaway Coffee, the first few months