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Paying for Coffee with Your Data

This is an interesting business model on the unification of the physical and digital: getting a coffee and not paying with money but your data. This is testing how people value their data. The fact that students are using it explains the whole nexus of data privacy: can you give me an affordable iPhone and use my data for advertisement? Can Facebook keep mining my data provided the service remains free? Nearly all the social media companies in this world that asked people to pay with promise to better privacy have failed. This one is not just asking for digital metadata but hard data like phone numbers, degrees, etc.

Diamandis explains via an email note.

Testing a new form of barter near Brown University in Rhode Island, Japanese-owned Shiru Cafe is an unconventional coffee shop where data, not cash, is the preferred currency. Trading personal data for cups of coffee, students visiting Shiru give their names, phone numbers, email addresses, academic majors, and — likely of greatest interest to Shiru — their professional interests and intended career choices. Shiru’s corporate sponsors pay the cafe for access to its clientele via logos, apps, digital ads, surveys and in-person barista promotions.

Why it's important: While Shiru reportedly doesn't release specific student data, Shiru’s aggregate data on students — if cleaned and optimized — represents a data-driven recruitment center. Maximizing data throughput with student-coveted goods (paid for by a third party) is itself a new business model, brokering personalized professional connections using one of the most important assets on a modern company’s balance sheet: data. And with a history of prominent corporate sponsors like Microsoft, Nissan, and Suzuki, Shiru sets a promising precedent for those looking to better leverage customer data and pursue top talent.

This is a very innovative idea. I would like to see the results of this campaign. I think that the young generation will be happy to follow this trade. I have seen many people go to ultimate heights for a cup of coffee. How willing are you to go for a cup of coffee? Please, comment your answer.

It is something that has a promise but one needs decent capital to make it happen. If you run it in most African cities, you could see a whole campus come for coffee one afternoon!