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How Long Is the Line at Blue Bottle Coffee?

There's a webcam for that. 

Not picture: A line at Blue Bottle Coffee. 

Anyone who's ever grabbed a quick cup of Giant Steps ("Viscous, fudgy, substantial") or Sumatra Simalungun Harapan Tani ("Melon, red fruit, papaya, plum") while meeting with a Series A angel about your latest plan to disrupt the selfie knows that the line at Blue Bottle Coffee's location in the Mint Plaza in Soma can be brutal. We know people who have been waiting in line there so long that they still think Bebo is a thing. So what's a young founder in need of a fix to do? Why, set up a webcam, of course.

That's just what the folks at tech startup Zaarly did. Never mind that their office window overlooks the line at Blue Bottle. As the company's founder told Blue Bottle, "We could literally walk the ten feet to the window that overlooks the line, but we’re tech people, so we had to solve the problem in the most interesting way possible.” Enter the webcam. (Which to our minds is much less interesting than an elaborate system of mirrors, semaphore signals, and bells. But that's why we just write up the news, not make it.)

The page to view the line through the camera's lens was internal until recently, when Zaarly made it publicly available on its website. Read more about the webcam on Blue Bottle's website, or just check it out yourself here. Brace yourself for Evgeny Morozov to write 10,000 words about how the webcam presages the death of coffee shops as a social "third place" at the hands of solutionism in five, four, three...

 

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