blog humans of coffee

Humans of coffee: Brent Spilkin

Who is Brent Spilkin?

I have affectionately been called Spillly (with 3Ls) for the last decade, a decade in which I have changed careers three times, discovered my endless supply of hope for a South African resurrection and through much pain and heartache found true love both at home and in my work life.

What is your best childhood memory?

I distinctly remember the joy of digging a fairly substantial hole in my mothers back garden where I was determined to have a swimming pool. I never succeeded in completing the excavation but did enjoy ramping my 50cc scooter over it like Evel Knievel for many years after.

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If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

I have had a very varied past that has lead me to where I am today, which is a very happy place, so I wouldn’t change much at all. The only thing I know I would do differently having the beauty of hindsight is applied more sunscreen to my ginger skin in my youth!

What do you feel most proud of?

I’m extremely proud of having successfully run a large business with hundreds of staff for 17 years and then having the courage to unsuccessfully exit the business to reimagine my life and career, but I’m the most proud of having the awesome circle of friends and family that I do.

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If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why?

If my house was on flames and I could only carry out three possessions they would have to be, in no particular order, my grandfathers stamp collection, my pair of 1990 red Converse Cons One Star Pro sneakers that have travelled the world and that hold countless memories for me and lastly my Vespa GTV 250 scooter that has grown so close to my heart. Wait… do dogs count as possessions?

What do you want your tombstone to say?

My last will and testament clearly states that my remains are to be cremated and I haven’t really decided where my ashes should be kept but scattering them over the Jozi skyline at dusk seems appealing. My wife says my tombstone should read, “Here lies Spillly – he liked to chill.” I do.

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What is www.growingpains.biz?

Growing Pains is my business consultancy where we help all manner of creative agencies and businesses around the world, to define their own growth objectives, create the strategy to achieve these goals and then measure the success of the plan in action. If a great athlete has a coach, why shouldn’t a great business owner?

What’s your favorite kind of coffee?

I find that the right moment dictates the right kind of coffee and coffee experience. Some of my clients will serve me cheap instant coffee on a cold factory floor on a winters morning and that is 100% apt for the moment, but I do favour a smooth Cortado or a well-made cappuccino. I drink my coffee warm, not boiling, and recently without sugar for health reasons.

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In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

I find that Father Coffee in Braamfontein makes the most consistent cup that is just right for my taste. I also frequent 4th Avenue Coffee roasters in Parkhurst who brew a decent take away cappuccino – they are also right next door my offices, so that helps too! I do occasionally buy a blend from Bean There in 44 Stanley, which I would use at home when I have the time.

What does a perfect day look like?

The perfect day is waking up, eating breakfast and hitting the slopes on a snowboard for 6 hours, but that doesn’t happen often enough.

I’m usually awake by 7am most work days, where I snooze for 20 minutes or so, before taking my bike to the office, smelling the fresh air and coffee being brewed en route. At about 10am, after my first consultation, I grab a vegetarian breakfast at one of the local restaurants to fuel the balance of the day. My workday is filled with intelligent conversations with smart people, which are mentally draining so I try finish up work as early as possible to shoot home and walk the dogs with my lovely wife. Most nights we eat at home and then pop out for a quick coffee or drink after the meal to unwind and catch up on each other’s day. For me, enjoying each day is essential and finding consistent calm and joy in my life, rather than the extreme highs and lows so many people live with, is essential.

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