The following blog was written and published on LinkedIn by a customer of ours, Berris Charnley. https://www.linkedin.com/in/berris-charnley/
"You should be able to fix the machines you buy. This idea has been gaining ground in recent years under the banner of the right to repair movement. Repair and maintenance are interesting cousins of intellectual property. They operate on the same boundaries of remaking and making, openness and closedness, and sharing or protecting ideas.
Various figures have emerged to champion the idea that repair is a right, they range from journalist/author Cory Doctrow <https://pluralistic.net/> and computer technician Louis Rossman, <https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl2mFZoRqjw_ELax4Yisf6w> who point to the fortresses being constructed around big tech using intellectual property; fortresses that make it harder and harder to fix a laptop, over to Tesla rebuilders <https://www.vice.com/en/article/qvm3z5/rich-rebuilds-tesla-repair-and-salvage> and tractor maintainers <https://www.wired.com/story/john-deere-farmers-right-to-repair/>. As tech-focused news media such as Vice and WIRED have covered these stories the narrative is often told as one of evil corporations, looking to use secrecy, patents and sealed units to stop rebel repairers from fixing their own devices. The strong impression that this telling creates is that customer repairs are bad for business.
But what happens when companies encourage repairs? Is it true, as Louis Rossman puts it, that, “You will not go out of business if you share with other people how you did a repair”? I recently had to fix a coffee machine. I’ve been using the same Gaggia Classic for nearly 12 years and it started to leak. I got in touch with Gaggia Direct <https://www.gaggiadirect.com/>, my local UK Gaggia distributer. Surprisingly I was invited to have a zoom call with the company’s owner. He talked me through the fault, gave me a likely diagnosis, and then told me where I could buy the gasket I would need. The website he directed me to – Mr Bean to Cup <https://www.mrbean2cup.co.uk/> – provided blowup schematics with details of the gasket. With the new part in hand, I went back to Gaggia Direct’s website where there were links to instructional videos to help me with the installation.
What was happening here? Gaggia Direct has taken an explicit decision to enable people to do repairs for themselves. Their thinking is that trusting their customers will help their customers to trust them. My own experience points to a couple of additional benefits. As I attempted the repair it immediately became obvious that while it might have seemed simple, there was a lot of know-how that I was missing. Various threads had seized, and it wasn’t entirely obvious, even following along with an instructional video, how much pressure to put where, or what was important. The experience of attempting the repair myself strengthened my respect for the Gaggia Direct technicians’ expertise. And thinking more deeply about trust, I had found myself dealing with a company that was willing to help me try and keep a 12-year-old machine running. When that machine eventually dies, I want to buy from a company that will help me keep the next machine running this long. In summary Gaggia Direct has chosen to have a better relationship with its customers because they think that will be better for their business. Speaking personally that seems to be a good decision and the company’s reviews on Google and Trust Pilot suggest that other customers feel the same way.
On a more theoretical level the Gaggia Direct example points to something that intellectual property scholars have been suggesting for a long time: registering and working strong intellectual property is only one of several business strategies and it is not one that every business manager sees as important and useful. More generally, the Gaggia Direct case points to the benefits of maintaining an open relationship to knowledge and adds an interesting extra wrinkle of complexity to the right to repair story. Opening up is something some businesses are choosing to do themselves, precisely because this way of operating seems more profitable. Finally, the Gaggia Direct example points to the importance of know-how. It is not just the technical specifications which matter, but also the expertise which goes around them. This is a point of direct relevance to several intellectual property focused debates ranging from discussions of the Tesla patents to the Covid TRIPS waiver. Making the intellectual property available, whether that is schematics from patent filings or sequence information, is only the start of the process of knowledge transfer.
Coffee is one of the most consumed drinks in the world. For break times or for an energy boost, it is a perfect companion for many moments throughout the day. And, once you have enjoyed its taste, do not throw away the coffee pucks! There are plenty of ways to give them a second life. For example, they can be recycled and used for gardening.
Coffee grounds, in fact, are rich in nutrients such as calcium, nitrogen, potassium and magnesium, essential for fertilisation. For this reason, they can be employed as an excellent natural compost, especially for plants that love acidic soils, such as azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and camellias. Before their reuse, it is important to store them properly in a dry plastic bag or sealed glass container, to prevent any mold formation. - reproduced from Gaggia Website www.gaggia.com/un-espresso-in-giardino-come-riciclare-i-fondi-di-caffe/
So, how to use them, in the best way? Just spread the coffee directly on the ground or in the pot, near the plant. Furthermore, to make a powerful and ecological liquid solution, you can put two cups of coffee grounds in a bucket full of water, and let them sit there for at least 24 hours. The fertiliser obtained can be sprayed directly on the plants, as nourishment for the leaves, which will become greener and luxuriant.
Recycling coffee grounds can also be useful for another important ally for a healthy garden: the repellent. In fact, they can be scattered around the plants and at the edges of the garden. In this way, you can obtain a valid help in removing unwanted snails, insects and small animals. As an old grandmother’s remedy teaches, coffee grounds and ash are the perfect method to protect the garden, without resorting to chemicals or pesticides.
Moreover, not everyone knows that coffee grounds also favor the growth of many vegetables and fruits, such as carrots and radishes. The addition of coffee powder to the seeds of these veggies makes sowing easier and, during the development of the seedlings, it will release the right nourishment by keeping pests away.
Recycling is a precious and fundamental habit for the sustainability of the environment. Start with a small step: preserve your espresso coffee puck and give your favorite drink a “green” second life!
Hello, my name is Raj Beadle. I am the author of this blog. I am the owner and managing director of Caffe Shop Ltd - Gaggia UK. We represent Gaggia spa in the UK and are the exclusive distributor of Gaggia in the UK. We also directly retail via our website www.gaggiadirect.com and also through our own retail shops.