onward-howard schultz

if there’s one thing i’ve always appreciated about starbucks, it’s that they always ask me if i want whipped cream on my coffee-i always forget that it’s standard issue on their drinks, and that i hate it. in the spirit of learning about this company, i went into one of their establishments and tried a new beverage-the mocha coconut frappuccino. not too shabby. but i’ve always liked when they play with coconut.

here are the most metrotextual:

“Harder to fathom is the fact that, in the 1980s and even into the mid-1990s, the only indoor public destinations where people in the United States went to read, catch up with friends, or relax after a harried day-assuming they even considered doing those activities outside their homes-were diners, a handful of local coffee shops, restaurants, and libraries.” (12)

“Rarely in my career have I actively searched for the right words. They tend to find me, often in a poignant moment, maybe minutes before addressing a roomful of people; during an impassioned, unscripted speech; in a private conversation; or when sitting alone in my kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee. The concepts that my words convey may be strategic in their intent, but the words themselves are spontaneous manifestations of my love for Starbucks. I feel them before I voice them.” (97)

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3 thoughts on “onward-howard schultz

  1. trying and true:

    “As part of our long-term strategy to be locally relevant on many fronts, Starbucks will soon open its first research and development center in China, and -in partnership with the Chinese government and working closely with local universities-we have already begun to grow coffee in the country’s beautiful Yunnan province. And as for the Black Sesame Green Tea Frappuccino I tasted at our Shanghai innovation store, it is now being sold in Starbucks throughout China. It’s a hit.” (322)

    um, there are a lot of asians here in north america that would hit that, too. just sayin’.

    “To be clear, the goal was /not/ to make a better cup of instant coffee. No. Our aspiration was much higher. And while I might not have specifically articulated this back then, I sensed that Starbucks had the potential to once again create a new product category so that, one day, coffee lovers who once would not have dreamed of drinking instant coffee would drink ours.” (244)

    big dreams.

    “On their flight back to Seattle, Stephen and Adam debated the pros and cons of a Starbucks-Blizzard partnership. It had undeniable potential to make Starbucks relevant to a new demographic, young adult males, and drive massive numbers of new customers into our stores, giving us an almost overnight sales boost. So very, very tempting. But by the time the plane landed, they had agreed with what Michelle and I had also concluded: World of Warcraft simply strayed too far from Starbucks’ core.” (268)

    this is also the largest demographic for brown bagging lunch, so who knows if it woulda worked anyway…

    “We’re being squeezed from the bottom by fast-food brands like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, and from the top by high-end independent coffee shops,” I explained. “We have to make certain that we don’t get caught in the middle.” (212)

    sounds like the opposite of “the gap between banana republic and old navy”

    “Personally, I was no technophobe. Just tactile. I prefer to visit stores in person rather than read spreadsheets. I like the feel of a pen between my fingers rather than a keyboard beneath my hands. And I always try to meet people face-to-face, to see their eyes instead of just hearing their voices. But other than using e-mail and reading the news, I was not as tied to a computer or a BlackBerry as so many others were. But I could not ignore what was happening around me.” (31)

  2. employee innovations:

    “This is why, I think, so many companies fail. Not because of challenges in the marketplace, but because of challenges on the inside.” (41)

    “Unfortunately, I continued to learn via e-mails from people in the field and through my own observations that many of our retail partners were unmotivated and uninformed about our coffee and the company. Our turnover rates in stores were too high, and a new generation of baristas had not been effectively trained or inspired by Starbucks’ mission. It was not their fault. New hires were often handed a thick, three-ring binder of rules, techniques, and coffee information and simply told to “read it.” Employee reviews and pay raises could be inconsistent, and the scheduling of shifts was also inefficient, sometimes burdening one employee with the work of several. For some, being a barista was just a job.
    Part of the problem was that we did not have the proper incentives or the right in-store technology to help store managers operate like owners, taking more control over the stores’ destiny. Because we were opening new stores so fast, a barista could easily have a new manager every few months. Much too much inconsistency. In addition, our compensation and benefit plans, while generous compared to almost any other retailer, no longer rang revolutionary. Reinventing compensation and benefits for a 21st-century retail organization, and for a younger generation, was crucial. Unfortunately it would take time, likely more than a year, to put in place meaningful new programs.” (77)

    “Our retail partners are as diverse as the people they serve and the beverages they customize. People wearing our green aprons represent almost every race and religion. We employ twentysomethings and grandparents, single moms in need of health-care coverage, and artists in need of rent. For some, Starbucks is a stopgap gig in between jobs, while others hope to build a career with the company. Whether part-timers or full-timers, Starbucks partners include high school kids saving for college, college kids in pursuit of degrees, recent grads, many in search of themselves, former executives, and people who vowed never to work in an office.
    ‘Behind every barista is a story,’ reads a poster hanging in the lobby of our Seattle support center. It’s true.” (148)

  3. global footprint:

    “All told, Starbucks’ partners volunteered approximately 50,000 hours of time in New Orleans. It was unprecedented, and I was beyond proud. Our partners were as well. Proud of the impact we were able to make during our visit to New Orleans, as well as even a little bit prouder of the company that we had come here to rebuild.” (200)

    NOLA, darling.

    “Linda not only donated money to purchase a cow, but within weeks her comment motivated us to initiate a relationship between Starbucks and Heifer International, a nonprofit that provides livestock to impoverished populations around the world.” (293)

    i know this is really immature of me, but it’s kind of hilarious to read “Heifer International”. it reminds me of when Amalia asked Mizthang and I what a heifer was, and i responded “a cow bitch”.

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