Access to coffee is a universal human right, a fact that corporations acknowledge by placing coffee machines in conspicuous locations in nearly every workplace imaginable. To give you some idea of how important coffee is, coffee is available on the International Space Station, despite the absence of gravity, which is necessary for coffee to adhere to cups. (Until recently astronauts sucked freeze-dried coffee out of bags.)
Coffee is also available at WeWork, the popular chain of co-working spaces — as long as you have the password. San Francisco tech entrepreneur Paul Lanzi posted this photo on Facebook today, and I can’t stop looking at it:
On one hand, I understand that WeWork sells access, and it can’t just give coffee away to every human being who walks onto the premises. Tragedy of the commons and all that. On the other hand: what kind of dystopian future do we inhabit if part of your job involves learning and then keeping track of the coffee password, which probably has to be changed per corporate policy every six weeks, and must involve a combination of capital letters, numbers, symbols, coffees, and teas.
I asked Paul what the hell was going on in this picture, exactly. (Disclosure: Paul and I are friends.) “They recently installed it,” he told me. “But I think it's missing some piece and so whenever you press the latte button, it goes into lockdown mode and none of the ‘community managers’ from WeWork have the password.”
Paul’s Facebook friends have suggested any number of plausible coffee passwords, including Coffee123, TK, correct-horse-battery-staple, and GiveMe1CoffeeOrIWillCutYou. So far nothing has worked, and his latte is still on lockdown?
We can put coffee on the moon, but we password-protect it at home. SoftBank plans to invest $3 billion in WeWork, it was reported today. At that price someone really ought to tell them the coffee password.