Daily Archives: January 18, 2009


Sitting at the local coffee shop, waiting for a business partner to arrive so that we could discuss a project, I decided to kill time by opening my laptop to check my email. In my email was a post from a friend and in his email was a link to a youtube video of a Congolese musician.

A few minutes into the video, I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder. A stranger interrupts me to ask about the video I’m watching and listening to on ear buds. This person saw the video playing on my screen from their spot at an adjacent table.
As it turns out the stranger is interested in the african dancers that are part of the video. Inviting the stranger to join me, I share a replay of the video with her.

We strike up a conversation. It ranges over our shared interest in music and the arts. After telling her I have collected a wide variety of music resources over many years, she mentions that she is an artist for whom music and dance is a key source of inspiration. We set up a future engagement to audition media resources and to continue getting to know each other. Perhaps we will become friends.

In fact, a friendship develops and it eventually alters the course of both of our lives. There will come a time when both the once-a-stranger, and myself, having become colleagues and having undertaken together and separately further life changing projects, travels, and learning, realize almost all of what unfolded was contingent upon the pivot provided by the original encounter in the coffee shop.

What would you, the researcher have to know to determine what was necessary to have happened in the lives of both parties to this encounter in the coffee shop prior to its occurrence, so as to guarantee its occurrence?

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