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Coffee: Nomadic vs Mobile

Yesterday, before going to Razorfish Office in Milan, I decided to get an ice coffee. Who doesn’t know that I am Sicilian, just can’t get how an “ice coffee” could be a serious deal. In Sicily we have the best granita world wide as well as a huge tradition about “cold coffee”.

What in Sicily we have not specifically expanded is the concept of “food to go”. Sure, we have GREAT street food, but also in this case you don’t WALK while EAT. In last 10/15 years I saw many ice-creams shops and other food store embracing solution in order to TRANSPORT cold or warm food, but anyway this is not something that you can use WHILE MOVING.

This fact make me think that -perhaps- Sicilians are culturally NOMADS. You can certainly get food/drink anywhere and transport it, but in order to eat/drink/use something you must set a “tent”, take care of some convivial habit and later consume what you transported.

Obviously I am talking about coffee etc. There are many exceptions. As Sicilian we can handle a phone call while walking. But not everyone to be honest. I see more difficulties when you are talking with a close friend. Finally, also to be male instead female, make more difficult to talk and walk simultaneously.

Ok, all this premessa is to define a difference between what is “transportable” but actually needs to have a context to be really useful vs what is usable/useful also while moving: NOMADIC vs MOBILE.

To clarify the idea of NOMADIC vs MOBILE, I would like to talk a little more about the CONTEXT. In fact, it is not only the “device” or the “coffee cup”  to be nomadic or mobile. We need to observe the whole system -and the activities running on it- in order to define what is mobile and what is nomadic.

For example, an user that is interacting with a map/gps on his smartphone while waiting at the traffic light, it is 100% MOBILE. Whereas, the very same user, with the very same smartphone with map/gps but calmly tapping on the sofa… well… it looks to me very NOMADIC.

Think to the first time you saw the iPad. The first thing I said was: …finally Jobs bring to us the REAL “COMPUTER” FOR THE REST OF US.

While the second thing that I thought was: That’s not mobile.  …unless we don’t consider mobile something that is mobile between the kitchen and the living room. That’s NOMADIC.


So, where is the trick in NOMADIC vs MOBILE? Looks at these Starbuck’s cups.  That’s a great piece of MOBILE design, because it works in any context! You can actually have you frozen/warm whatever drinkable stuff, on the move. …and it comes in different sizes.

Now, observe the iced coffee that I took yesterday (below).  Did you spot any difference?

After ordering my ice-coffee “to go”, I started to suspect that something was going wrong when the barman enveloped the straw into a napkin!

What the hell?!?! The cork doesn’t have any straw-hole or other “slot for lips”.  This is just a transportation device!!!

(note: to be totally honest there is a MICRO-HOLE to take some air)

It’s no mobile at all! The good news, is that worked anyway when I arrived to my office (a context to use the “device”).

At end of the day, my Sicilian background allowed me to not be angry with the barman… but I feel this work only because I was in Milan. 

Now… Try to image for a while a Starbucks/Peets whatever store that give you a product “to go” that you CAN’T drink before arriving somewhere else. 😀

ps. Thank you to @Antonio_Grillo, I discovered that ITALIANS invented the FOOD TO GO. Yes, it is true. It was a looooong time ago; in Pompeii.

(cit. While wandering the superbly preserved streets of Pompeii, keep an eye out for the cauponae, early fast-food restaurants loved by the ancient Romans. Located on several corners and looking like open-air bars, these one-room establishments were where busy citizens could grab a quick meal and glass of wine on the run. | source )

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