The success of Starbucks Coffee Company is one of the most amazing business stories in decades. What started as a single store on Seattle's waterfront has grown into the largest coffee chain on the planet. Just as remarkable as this incredible growth is the fact that Starbucks has managed to maintain its renowned commitment to product excellence and employee satisfaction.
Marketers, managers, and aspiring entrepreneurs will discover how to turn passion into profit in this definitive chronicle of the company that "has changed everything... from our tastes to our language to the face of Main Street" (Fortune).
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IMAGINATION, DREAMS, AND HUMBLE ORIGINS It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery,
The Little Prince
Starbucks, as it is today, is actually the child of two parents.
One is the original Starbucks, founded in 1971, a company passionately committed to world-class coffee and dedicated to educating its customers, one on one, about what great coffee can be.
The other is the vision and values I brought to the company: the combination of competitive drive and a profound desire to make sure everyone in the organization could win together. I wanted to blend coffee with romance, to dare to achieve what others said was impossible, to defy the odds with innovative ideas, and to do all this with elegance and style.
In truth, Starbucks needed the influence of both parents to become what it is today.
Starbucks prospered for ten years before I discovered it. I learned of its early history from its founders, and I'll retell that story in Chapter Two. In this book, I will relate the story the way I experienced it, starting with my early life, because many of the values that shaped the growth of the enterprise trace their roots back to a crowded apartment in Brooklyn, New York.
HUMBLE ORIGINS CAN INSTILL
BOTH DRIVE AND COMPASSION
One thing I've noticed about romantics They try to create a new and better world far from the drabness of everyday life. That is Starbucks' aim, too. We try to create, inour stores, an oasis, a little neighborhood spot where you can take a break, listen to some jazz, and ponder universal or personal or even whimsical questions over a cup of coffee.
What kind of person dreams up such a place?
From my personal experience, I'd say that the more uninspiring your origins, the more likely you are to use your imagination and invent worlds where everything seems possible.
That's certainly true of me.
I was three when my family moved out of my grandmother's apartment into the Bayview Projects in 1956. They were in the heart of Canarsie, on Jamaica Bay, fifteen minutes from the airport, fifteen minutes from Coney Island. Back then, the Projects were not a frightening place but a friendly, large, leafy compound with a dozen eight-story brick buildings, all brand-new. The elementary school, P.S. 272, was right on the grounds of the Projects, complete with playground, basketball courts, and paved school yard. Still, no one was proud of living in the Projects; our parents were all what we now call "the working poor."
Still, I had many happy moments during my childhood. Growing up in the Projects made for a well-balanced value system, as it forced me to get along with many different kinds of people. Our building alone housed about 150 families, and we allshared one tiny elevator. Each apartment was very small, and our family started off in a cramped two-bedroom unit.
Both my parents came from working-class families, residents of the East New York section of Brooklyn for two generations. My grandfather died young, so my dad had to quit school and start working as a teenager. During World War II, he was a medic in the Army in the South Pacific, in New Caledonia and Saipan, where he contracted yellow fever and malaria. As a result, his lungs were always weak, and he often got colds. After the war, he got a series of blue-collar jobs but never found himself, never had a plan for his life.
My mother was a strong-willed and powerful woman. Her name is Elaine, but she goes by the nickname Bobbie. Later, she worked as a receptionist, but when we were growing up, she took care of us three kids full time.
My sister, Ronnie, close to me in age, shared many of the same hard childhood experiences. But, to an extent, I was able to insulate my brother, Michael, from the economic hardship I felt and give him the kind of guidance my parents couldn't offer. He tagged along with me wherever I went. I used to call him "The Shadow." Despite the eight-year age gap, I developed an extremely close relationship with Michael, acting like a father to him when I could. I watched with pride as he became a good athlete, a strong student, and ultimately a success in his own business career.
I played sports with the neighborhood kids from dawn to dusk every day of my childhood. My dad joined us whenever he could, after work and on weekends. Each Saturday and Sunday morning, starting at 8 A.M., hundreds of us kids would gather in the schoolyard. You had to be good there, because if you didn't win, you'd be out of the game, forced to watch for hours before you could get back in. So I played to win.
Luckily for me, I was a natural athlete. Whether it was baseball, basketball, or football, I jumped right in and played hard till I got good at it. I used to organize pickup games of baseball and basketball with whatever kids lived in the neighborhoodJewish kids, Italian kids, black kids. Nobody ever had to lecture us about diversity; we lived it.
It's always been a part of my personality to develop an unbridled passion about things that interest me. My first passion was for baseball. At that time in the boroughs of New York, every conversation started and ended with baseball. Connections and barriers with other people were made not by race or religion but by the team you rooted for. The Dodgers had just left for Los Angeles (they broke my father's heart, and he never forgave them), but we still had many of the baseball greats. I remember walking home and hearing play-by-play radio reports blaring out of open windows on every side of the courtyard.
I was a die-hard Yankees fan, and my dad took my brother and me to countless games. We never had good seats, but that didn't matter. It was the thrill of just being there. Mickey Mantle was my idol. I had his number, 7, on my shirts, sneakers, everything I owned. When I played baseball, I mimicked Mickey Mantle's stance and gestures.
When The Mick retired, the finality of it was hard to believe. How could he stop playing? My father took me to both Mickey Mantle Days at Yankee Stadium, September 18, 1968, and June 8,8, 1969. As I watched the tributes to him, and listened to the other players say good-bye, and heard him speak, I felt deeply sad. Baseball was never the same for me after that. The Mick was such an intense presence in our lives that years later, when he died, I got phone calls of consolation from childhood friends I hadn't heard from in decades.
Coffee was not a big part of my childhood. My mother drank instant coffee. When company came over, she'd buy some canned coffee and take out her old percolator. I remember listening to it grumble and watching that little glass cap until finally the coffee popped up into it like a jumping bean.
It was only as I grew older that I began to realize how tight the family finances were. On rare occasions we'd go to a Chineserestaurant, and my parents would discuss what dishes to order, based solely on how much cash my dad had in his wallet that day. I felt angry and ashamed when I realized that the sleepaway camp I attended in the summer was a subsidized program for underprivileged kids. After that, I refused to go back.
By the time I got to high school, I understood the stigma of living in the Projects. Canarsie High School was less than a mile away, but to get there I had to walk down streets lined with small single-family homes and duplexes. The people who lived there, I knew, looked down on us.
Once I asked out a girl from a different part of New York. I remember how her father's face dropped in stages as he asked:
"Where do you live?"
"We live in Brooklyn," I answered.
There was an unspoken judgment about me in his reaction, and it irked me to see it.
As the oldest of three children, I had to grow up quickly. I started earning money at an early age. At twelve, I had a paper route; later I worked behind the counter at the local luncheonette. At sixteen, I got an after-school job in the garment district of Manhattan, at a furrier, stretching animal skins. It was horrendous work, and left thick callouses on my thumbs. I spent one hot summer in a sweatshop, steaming yarn at a knitting factory. I always gave part of my earnings to my mothernot because she insisted but because I felt bad for the position my parents were in.
Still, in the 1950s and early 1960s, the American dream was vibrant, and we all felt entitled to a piece of it. My mother drummed that into us. She herself had never finished high school, and her biggest dream was a college education for all three of her kids. Wise and pragmatic in her blunt, opinionated way, she gave me tremendous confidence. Over and over, she would put powerful models in front of me, pointing out individuals who had made something of their lives and insisting that I, too, could achieve anything I set my heart on. She encouraged me to challenge myself, to place myself in situations that weren't comfortable, so that I could learn to overcome adversity. I don't know how she came to that knowledge, because she didn't live by those rules. But she willed us to succeed.
Years later, during one of her visits to Seattle, I showed my mother our new offices at Starbucks Center. As we walked around, passing departments and workstations, seeing people talking on the phone and typing on computers, I could tell her head was just spinning at the size and scope of the operation. Finally, she edged closer to me and whispered into my ear "Who pays all these people?" It was beyond her imagination.
During my childhood, I never dreamed of working in business. The only entrepreneur I knew was my uncle, Bill Farber. He had a small paper factory in the Bronx, where he later hired my father as a foreman. I didn't know what work I would eventually do, but I knew I had to escape the struggle my parents lived with every day. I had to get out of the Projects, out of Brooklyn. I remember lying in bed at night and thinking What if I had a crystal ball and could see the future? But I quickly shut out the thought, for I realized I would be too frightened to look into it.
I was aware of only one escape route: sports. Like the kids in the movie Hoop Dreams, my friends and I thought they were the ticket to a great life. In high school, I applied myself to schoolwork only when I had to, because what I learned in the classroom seemed irrelevant. Instead I spent hours and days playing football.
I'll never forget the day I made the team. As a symbol of that honor, I got my letter, the big blue C that identified me as an accomplished athlete. But my mother couldn't afford to pay $29 for the letter jacket, and asked me to wait a week or so till Dad got hispaycheck. I was devastated. Everybody at school had been planning to wear those jackets on one agreed-upon day. I couldn't show up without a jacket, but I also didn't want to make my mother feel any worse. So I borrowed money from a friend to buy the jacket and wore it on the appointed day, but I hid it from my parents until they were able to afford it.
My biggest triumph in high school was becoming quarterback, which made me a Big Man on Campus among the 5,700 students of Canarsie High. The school was so poor that we didn't even have a football field, and all our games were away games. Our team was pretty bad, but I was one of the better players on it.
One day, a recruiter came to scout an opposing player at one of our games. I didn't know he was there. A few days later, though, I received a letter from what, in my frame of reference, sounded like another planet, Northern Michigan University. They were recruiting for the football team. Was I interested? I whooped and hollered. It felt as good as an invitation to the NFL draft.
Northern Michigan eventually offered me a football scholarship, the only offer I got. Without it, I don't know how I could have realized my mother's dream of going to college.
During spring break of my last year in high school, my parents drove me to see this unimaginable place. We drove nearly a thousand miles to Marquette, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We had never been outside New York, and my parents were caught up in the adventure of it. We drove across wooded mountains, through vast stretches of flat fields, past huge lakes that looked like oceans. When we finally arrived, the campus looked like an America I had seen only in the movies, with budding trees, laughing students, flying frisbees.
I was out of Brooklyn at last.
By coincidence, Starbucks was founded that same year in Seattle, a city even farther beyond my imagination at that time.
I loved the freedom and the open space of college, although I felt lonely and out of place at first. I made some close friends my freshman year and ended up rooming with them for four years, on and off campus. Twice I sent for my brother and he flew out to visit. One year, for Mother's Day, I hitchhiked back to New York, surprising her.
It turned out I wasn't as good a football player as I thought, and I ended up not playing after all. To stay in school I took out loans and worked part-time and summer jobs to pay for my expenses. I had a night job as a bartender, and I even sold my blood sometimes. Still, those were mostly fun years, a time with little responsibility. With a draft number of 332, I didn't have to worry about going to Vietnam.
I majored in communications and took courses in public speaking and interpersonal communications. During senior year, I also picked up a few business classes, because I was starting to worry about what I would do after graduation. I maintained a B average, applying myself only when I had to take a test or make a presentation.
After four years, I became the first college graduate in my family. To my parents, I had attained the big prize: a diploma. But I had no direction. No one ever helped me see the value in the knowledge I was gaining. I've often joked since then: If someone had provided me with direction and guidance, I really could have been somebody.
It took years before I found my passion in life. Each step after that discovery was a quantum leap into something unknown, each move riskier than the last. But getting out of Brooklyn and earning a college degree gave me the courage to keep on dreaming.
For years I hid the fact that I grew up in the Projects. I didn't lie about it, but I just didn't bring it up, for it wasn't much of a credential. But however much I tried to deny them, those memories of my early experiences were imprinted indelibly in my mind I could never forget what it's like to be on the other side, afraid to look into the crystal ball.
In December 1994, a New York Times article about Starbucks' success mentioned that I had grown up in the Projects of Canarsie. After it appeared, I received letters from Bayview and other blighted neighborhoods. Most came from mothers, trying to guide their kids, who said that my story gave them hope.
The odds on my coming out of the environment in which I was raised and getting to where I am today are impossible to gauge. How did it happen?
The sun shone on me, it's true, as my brother, Michael, always tells me. But my story is as much one of perseverance and drive as it is of talent and luck. I willed it to happen I took my life in my hands, learned from anyone I could, grabbed what opportunity I could, and molded my success step by step.
Fear of failure drove me at first, but as I tackled each challenge, my anxiety was replaced by a growing sense of optimism. Once you overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, other hurdles become less daunting. Most people can achieve beyond their dreams if they insist upon it. I'd encourage everyone to dream big, lay your foundations well, absorb information like a sponge, and not be afraid to defy conventional wisdom. Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
I can't give you any secret recipe for success, any foolproof plan for making it in the world of business. But my own experience suggests that it is possible to start from nothing and achieve even beyond your dreams.
On a recent trip to New York I went back to Canarsie, to look around Bayview for the first time in nearly twenty years. It's not bad, really, except for the bullet hole in the entry door and the burn marks on the buzzer sheet. When I lived there, we didn't have iron gates on the windows, but then we didn't have air-conditioners either. I saw a group of kids playing basketball, just as I used to, and watched a young mother pushing a stroller. A tiny boy looked up at me, and I wondered: Which of these kids will break out and achieve their dreams?
I stopped by Canarsie High School, where the football team was practicing. In the warm autumn air, the blue uniforms and play calls brought the old exhilaration flooding back over me. I asked where the coach was. From the midst of the hefty backs and shoulder pads a small red-hooded figure emerged. To my surprise, I found myself face to face with Mike Camardese, a guy who had played on the team with me. He brought me up to date on the team, telling me how the school finally got its own football field. By coincidence, they were planning a ceremony that Saturday to name the field in honor of my old coach, Frank Morogiello. For the occasion, I decided to make a five-year commitment to help support the team. Without the support of Coach Morogiello, where would I be today? Maybe my gift will allow some Canarsie athlete, driven as I was, to rise above his roots and achieve something no one could ever imagine.
I've heard that some coaches face a curious dilemma. The world-class athletes on their teamsthe players with the best skills and experiencesometimes falter when it comes to crunch time. Occasionally, though, there's a player on the team, a blue-collar guy whose skills and training are not quite world-class. Yet at crunch time, he's the one the coach sends out to the field. He's so driven and so hungry to win that he can outperform the top athletes when it really matters.
I can identify with that blue-collar athlete. I've always been driven and hungry, so at crunch time I get a spurt of adrenaline. Long after others have stopped to rest and recover, I'm still running, chasing after something nobody else could ever see.
ENOUGH IS NOT ENOUGH
Every experience prepares you for the next one. You just don't ever know what the next one is going to be.
After graduating from college in 1975, like a lot of kids, I didn'tknow what to do next. I wasn't ready to go back to New York, so I stayed in Michigan, working at a nearby ski lodge. I had no mentor, no role model, no special teacher to help me sort out my options. So I took some time to think, but still no inspiration came.
After a year, I went back to New York and got a job with Xerox, in the sales training program. It was a lucky break, since I was able to attend the best sales school in the country, Xerox's $100 million center in Leesburg, Virginia. I learned more there than in college about the worlds of work and business. They trained me in sales, marketing, and presentation skills, and I walked out with a healthy sense of self-esteem. Xerox was a blue-chip pedigree company, and I got a lot of respect when I told others who my employer was.
After completing the course, I spent six months making fifty cold calls a day. I knocked on doors of offices in midtown Manhattan, in a territory that ran from 42nd Street to 48th Street, from the East River to Fifth Avenue. It was a fantastic area, but I wasn't allowed to close sales, just drum up good prospects.
Cold-calling was great training for business. It taught me to think on my feet. So many doors slammed on me that I had to develop a thick skin and a concise sales pitch for a then-newfangled machine called a word processor. But the work fascinated me, and I kept my sense of humor and adventure. I thrived on the competition, trying to be the best, to be noticed, to provide the most leads to my salesmen. I wanted to win.
Finally, I succeeded: I became a full salesman in the same territory. I got to be pretty good at it, wearing a suit, closing sales, and earning good commissions for three years. I sold a lot of machines and outperformed many of my peers. As I proved myself, my confidence grew. Selling, I discovered, has a lot to do with self-esteem. But I can't say I ever developed a passion for word processors.
I paid off my college loans and rented an apartment in Greenwich Village with another guy. We were rolling, and having a great time. During one summer, eight of us rented a cottage in the Hamptons for weekends, and it was there, on the beach, July Fourth weekend, 1978, that I met Sheri Kersch.
With her flash of long wavy blonde hair and unflagging energy, Sheri attracted me with her impeccable style and class. She was in graduate school studying interior design and also spent summer weekends with a group of friends at the beach. She was not only beautiful but well-grounded, with solid midwestern values, from a close and loving family. We were both starting our careers, without a care in the world. We began dating, and the more I got to know her, the more I realized what a fine human being she was.
By 1979, though, I was restless in my job. I wanted something more challenging. A friend told me that a Swedish company, Perstorp, was planning to set up a U.S. division for its Hammarplast housewares subsidiary. It seemed like an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a growing company. Perstorp hired me and sent me to Sweden for three months of training. I stayed in the charming little cobblestone town of Perstorp, near Malmo, and explored Copenhagen and Stockholm on weekends. Europe overwhelmed me, with its sense of history and joy of life.
The company initially placed me in a different division, one selling building supplies. They moved me to North Carolina and had me sell components for kitchens and furniture. I hated the product. Who could relate to plastic extruded parts; After ten months of misery, I couldn't take it anymore. I was ready to give up and go to acting school, anything to get back to New York and be with Sheri.
When I threatened to quit, Perstorp not only transferred me back to New York but also promoted me to vice president and general manager of Hammarplast. I was in charge of the U.S. operations, managing about twenty independent sales reps. They gave me not only a salary of $75,000 but also a company car, an expense account, and unlimited travel, which included trips to Sweden four times a year. Finally I was selling products I liked: a line of stylish Swedish-designed kitchen equipment and housewares. As a salesman myself, I knew how to motivate my team of salespeople. Iquickly placed the products in high-end retail stores and built up sales volume.
I did that for three years and loved it. By age twenty-eight, I had it made. Sheri and I moved to Manhattan's Upper East Side, where we bought our apartment. Sheri was on the rise in her career, working for an Italian furniture maker as a designer and marketer. She painted our walls light salmon and began to use her professional skills to create a home in our loft-style space. We had a great life, going to the theater, dining at restaurants, inviting friends to dinner parties. We even rented a summer house in the Hamptons.
My parents couldn't believe I had come so far so fast. In only six years out of college I had achieved a successful career, a high salary, an apartment I owned. The life I was leading was beyond my parents' best dreams for me. Most people would be satisfied with it.
So no oneespecially my parentscould understand why I was getting antsy. But I sensed that something was missing. I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny. It may be a weakness in me: I'm always wondering what I'll do next. Enough is never enough.
It wasn't until I discovered Starbucks that I realized what it means when your work truly captures your heart and your imagination.
Table of Contents
- Part One: Rediscovering Coffee: The Years Up To 1987
- Chapter 1: Imagination, Dreams, And Humble Origins
- Chapter 2: A Strong Legacy Makes You Sustainable For The Future
- Chapter 3: To Italians, Espresso Is Like An Aria
- Chapter 4: "Luck Is The Residue Of Design"
- Chapter 5: Naysayers Never Built A Great Enterprise
- Chapter 6: The Imprinting Of The Company's Values
- Chapter 2: A Strong Legacy Makes You Sustainable For The Future
- Part Two: Reinventing The Coffee Experience: The Private Years
- Chapter 7: Act Your Dreams With Open Eyes
- Chapter 8: If It Captures Your Imagination, It Will Captivate Others
- Chapter 9: People Are Not A Line Item: Starbucks' Mission Statement
- Chapter 10: A Hundred-Story Building First Needs A Strong Foundation
- Chapter 11: Don't Be Threatened By People Smarter Than You
- Chapter 12: The Value Of Dogmatism And Flexibility
- Chapter 8: If It Captures Your Imagination, It Will Captivate Others
- Part Three: Renewing The Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Public Years
- Chapter 13: Wall Street Measures A Company's Price, Not Its Value
- Chapter 14: As Long As You're Reinventing, How About Reinventing Yourself?
- Chapter 15: Don't Let The Entrepreneur Get In The Way Of The Enterprising Spirit
- Chapter 16: Seek To Renew Yourself Even When You're Hitting Home Runs
- Chapter 17: Crisis Of Prices, Crisis Of Values
- Chapter 18: The Best Way To Build A Brand Is One Person At A Time
- Chapter 19: Twenty Million New Customers Are Worth Taking A Risk For
- Chapter 20: You Can Grow Big And Stay Small
- Chapter 21: How Socially Responsible Can A Company Be?
- Chapter 22: How Not To Be A Cookie-Cutter Chain
- Chapter 23: When They Tell You To Focus, Don't Get Myopic
- Chapter 24: Lead With Your Heart
- Chapter 14: As Long As You're Reinventing, How About Reinventing Yourself?
On Wednesday, September 3, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Howard Schultz, author of POUR YOUR HEART INTO IT.
JainBN: Good evening, and welcome, Mr. Schultz! Thanks for joining us tonight.
Howard Schultz: It is my pleasure to be here.... We are kicking off my book tour as we speak, and it's an honor to do it online this evening.
JainBN: That's terrific! Let's delve into questions from the audience.
Question: Did you ever imagine this much success for Starbucks?
Howard Schultz: I guess the answer to that is, we had a big dream for our company and for ourselves. That was to create a national company whose principles became as strong as the quality of our coffee. The success has come more quickly than we thought. After the last 15 years, in which we have worked so hard and with so much passion, the success we have enjoyed and the fact that we enjoyed it with so many people is quite gratifying.
Question: Can you describe the first Starbucks you ever walked into? How does it differ from what we see today?
Howard Schultz: The first Starbucks store was in the Public Market in Pike Place in Seattle. It opened in 1971, and I visited it for the first time in 1980. The primary difference was that the original stores did not serve any coffee or espresso. The change came after my trip to Italy in 1983, when I saw the connection the Italian people had with the romance of the coffee and a sense of community that existed in all the coffee and espresso bars in Italy. It reminded me of people's front porch, and that was the shift that took placeto bring the coffee experience that I discovered in Italy to Starbucks.
Question: Do you think your retail philosophy can be applied to other goods, like clothing or food?
Howard Schultz: I would say the retail philosophy we execute every day can be applied to other goods. It is important to reiterate what that philosophy is. We live in a society where, in my view, the country is over-retailed. There are too many stores for not enough people. The result is we are in an environment as merchants that is more competitive than it's been at any other time in retail history. Now, the philosophy we tried to apply can be reduced to a simple formula. That is, our goal at Starbucks is to exceed the expectations that our customers have for us. But in order to do that, the company needs to inspire customers and trust the people who work in our stores that they will apply their belief in what Starbucks is trying to accomplish. Now, obviously in addition to that, we have to provide our customers every single day with a reason to both come to Starbucks and to come back, and we believe we do that by providing high-quality coffee, providing an environment and almost a "third place" between home and work.
Question: What can we expect from Starbucks in the future?
Howard Schultz: Well, first off, you can expect the company to try to continue to build the kind of brand and develop the kind of products that are consistent with the reputation that we have built today. We are retailers and merchants first, but we now believe that as a result of our success offering such products like Starbucks Ice Cream and bottled coffee, and current interest in having Starbucks Coffee available in supermarkets, that we are on the verge of transforming our company to be both a retailer and a wholesaler of world-class products in new channels of distribution complementary to our retail stores. I would also add that it is possible that we would develop products that are not necessarily coffee related, though they would be consistent with coffee-related products. This strategy, however, must be consistent with making sure future growth and development of Starbucks is executed in a way consistent with the values and guiding principles of building a great and enduring company, and I believe that means that we must continue to share the success of our company with all the people working for Starbucks.
Question: Are you going on a book tour? Will you be doing any signings?
Howard Schultz: I will be signing at the Barnes & Noble in New York at Union Square on the 8th of September at 7pm, and I'll be at the B&N in the University Village in Seattle on the 15th of September at 7pm. I will also be at the B&N at Boston University on September 22nd at 7pm, and finally the B&N at the Georgetown store in Washington, D.C., on September 23rd at 7 30pm.
Question: What compelled you to write this book?
Howard Schultz: There were a few things. For one thing, a number of people over the years have asked me to write the Starbucks story, and I felt it was time. One of the primary reasons was that in some ways I have been living the American dream. I write in the book a great deal of the childhood I experienced, which has had a direct affect on the company we have tried to build, and I wanted to tell that story. The reason was to share with people that I came from the other side of the tracks growing up as a poor kid in federally subsidized housing in Brooklyn, NY, and experienced firsthand the hardships of a working-class family, with parents who did not have access to a piece of the American dream. My story is a real one of someone who believes passionately in his dreams, and if my story could provide hope or inspiration for people who are less fortunate than I am today, then the book would be worth the two-year effort. In addition, we have tried to build a very different kind of company than the ones my father worked for, a company which became the only company in America to offer ownership and comprehensive health care to all its employees, including the 65 percent part-time workforce. I wanted to share the fact that a company could succeed at very high levels, be profitable, grow dynamically, but also have a conscience and display benevolence. And I hope people will enjoy it. I did not write the book to make any money, since all the profits that I might earn are going to support literacy programs in cities that have stores. There are over 40 million people in America who can't read, and I hope the success the book enjoys will benefit those less fortunate then I.
Question: At what point did you know you had something special with Starbucks?
Howard Schultz: There was a point in the development of the company when we began expanding outside the Northwest, in the late '80s, and the first test was Chicago. It was tough sledding in the early stages, but after a year or so we began to see evidence that Starbucks Chicago was becoming a mirror image of Starbucks Seattle. There was one specific incident that I observed with great fascination. There was a Starbucks on the corner of Oak and Rush, and during the early morning rush when I was entering the store, the line was out the door and there were limos double-parked outside, with drivers getting coffee for their customers. Then I saw a UPS truck parked in front of the store. The driver got out, and I followed him inside. He carried an old dented Aladdin thermos. He asked the person behind the counter to fill it up with a triple Grande Latte, and at that moment I saw that Starbucks had reached a point where everybody recognized the quality of the coffee. Whether they were rich or poor, Starbucks had developed a taste and place for people all over America to enjoy.
Question: How do you handle competition? Does competition play a large role in your business?
Howard Schultz: Well, certainly every business needs to be concerned about competition. I think in our case it was somewhat different. We've grown our company at a time when overall coffee consumption in America had been down. And really the primary competition has been the supermarket, because 80 percent of all coffee sold in America is sold in the supermarket. We have been trying to differentiate ourselves with the unique taste and fresh taste of Starbucks Coffee and to differentiate ourselves from poor-quality supermarket coffee. In terms of other retailers, the market is large enough to support many different stores with many different styles, and I think we have done quite well. There is a difference in the Starbucks retail experience in that all our stores are owned and operated and not franchised. We buy and roast all our own coffee. We don't sell artificially flavored coffees, and most importantly, the people of Starbucks who really do the work every day differentiate us from our competitors.
JainBN: This will be our last question for Mr. Schultz.
Question: How many cups of coffee do you drink a day? You look entirely too healthy and attractive in your jacket photo to be a heavy consumer.
Howard Schultz: I drink four to five cups a day, and in addition to that I taste coffee at our office and our roasting plant. And if I can put a little plug in, the coffee at Starbucks from Africa is exceptional.
JainBN: Mr. Schultz, thank you so much for joining us tonight. Congratulations on the book, and good luck with the tour!
Howard Schultz: It has been my pleasure!
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I'll admit to grudgingly reading this organizational memoir for a class. But now, I'm glad I selected Pour Your Heart Into It! Howard Schultz takes you from ground zero in the creation of a vision to share his love of the Italian coffee experience. He openly talks about his childhood and family, obstacles and inspirations along the way. Whether you intend to start a business or not, this book will urge you to be an active player in your life.
I felt like this was a decent book. I love how Howard Schultz started with nothing from his childhood and then ended up with the largest coffee store around the world. It is very inspiring how he had a dream and turned it into reality. He was very passionate in what he did the blossomed throughout his work. It took a lot of time and effort to make Starbucks what it is today and it amazes me that one person did this. Howard was very driven and made many personal sacrifices. I look up to him for that! He was even very kind heart the way he treated his employees, trying to give them something to start a life with. I know he wanted to create an atmosphere where someone, like his dad, could support a family. I believe many employers could learn from him. He is a strong leader who would do anything to make his visions come true. Howard showed the true beauty of coffee to Americans that changed our perspective on it. I thank him for that because now I am more knowledgeable on the coffee itself just from reading this book. I liked how he showed the owners what they really needed to do to make Starbucks a true success by turning it into a more restaurant style café. They should have given Howard the benefit of the doubt when he traveled to Italy and studied the espresso bars there. Howard realized what a huge success they were over seas and he wanted to bring that to the Untied States. He took a risk by doing that but look at where he is today, a successful entrepreneur. I feel like Howard made the right choice because having a restaurant style café sets the mood where people can come together a chat over a nice cup of coffee. I would recommend this book to anyone who takes an interest in business or the Starbucks Company itself. It goes behind the scenes of what many don't know about how to build a company.
I'm not as fawning as some of the other reviewers here since I found the book's relentless rah-rah attitude a bit tiresome at times. Nonetheless, it is a great story about a great company. What may be most inspiring is Schultz's design for Starbucks' structure came in many ways from his experience of what his father did not have as a worker. That Starbucks' outstanding success was testament to Schultz's father's failures is also amazing.
Howard Schultz tells his side of the story. Some of his background, joining Starbucks, leaving Starbucks, buying Starbucks and continuing to work with Starbucks. The copy I had came into the libraries in 2007 but was originally published in 1997, before Schultz's 8-year hiatus from managing the company (he returned in 2008 after sales went down under the previous president), and before bombings and riots, so the view is a little rosier than it may be from an independent view and from a smaller viewpoint than is current.Still it's interesting to see the view of someone who has worked his way up the ladder from being on the breadline to a multi-million business that he seems to have a great enthuaism for. He is a fan of good coffee and really seems to want to spread the joy of coffee as far as he can.However there are moments where the mask slips. Where he talks about unions (he is adamantly anti-union, fine in a small business but sometimes large corporations need someone to keep them in check or to back up people being bullied by management) and in some other places where he basically had to be talked into doing things another way in order to make things work better.Overall an interesting look at a life consumed by coffee.
A great book for encouraging you to get out there and do it for yourself. Inspiring.
Nobody loves Starbucks like Howard Schultz & this book proves it. At the end of the world there'll be cockroaches & old Starbucks buildings. Its not that the writing is so great but it was fun to read about the corporate culture at Starbucks & how the company fought conventional thinking to become the coffee giant that it is both here in the USA & across the world. Schultz is the kind of boss we'd all wish we could work for.
Awesome book with good life lessons
An amazing and inspirational read. Every potential entrepreneur have to read this book. Great!!! Possibly a guide to your success.
This book is called ¿Pour your heart into it¿ by Howard Schultz. It is a book about a small coffee business that became known world wide. It was located in Seattle, Washington that consists of two owners that started a small business by introducing fine coffee and coffee beans. The main character was Howard Schultz who was a business manager for another company in New York. During his business trip he found this coffee shop that drew him in by the aroma of coffee. He liked the idea of how the two owners handled the coffee shop but he had more ideas and goals how to make it know world wide. He later became a CEO of Starbucks. He also talked about how he went through so many challenging moments. He talked to investors by giving them a percentage of the investments to help him achieve in his business. Many people supported him because they believed that he will make it happened. In the book it talked about the steps of how to become a very successful person by pouring your heart into it. He meant that you have to enjoy in what you are doing in the business because that will take you afar from others. I really enjoyed this book because it made me realize that anything is possible to become a successful person or successful business owner. You have to be able to achieve in a certain category that you enjoy what you do, to get to where you want to be and take that risk.
Ever wanted to look into the heart of something so pure and beautiful to know how it could inspire you so? Reading this book will show you the heart and soul of an amazing man who dreamed and lived out the thing we can't do without today -- our Starbucks!
This is an amazing story. Starbuck's is one of the most corporate companies around and it's humble beginnings show how it all began. In a little less than two decades this company has changed the way Americans see and appreciate coffee. This was all done through clever marketing strategies and the ultimate goal of offering the best coffee around. Just as the producers created a movie based on Bill Gates and Steve Jobs there needs to be a movie that falls along the same vein about Starbucks. This book conveys the energy and excitement of the early days and it makes you wonder what went on behind the scenes. This book is highly recommended for entrepreneurs and it helps them see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you Mr. Schultz for sharing your dream, your vision and your detailed struggles with the building of the Starbucks Company. I have a richer appreciation now not only for the physical work that goes into building a dream but the personal sacrifices and changes which challenged you to grow along with your company. The times of extending your trust and control over to others were exemplified as you painted the episodes of conflicting views and visions of other strong leaders and visionaries. It's important for all of us to realize the monumentous effort and diligence that goes into building a corporation, not to mention one that keeps the value of its employees above the profit line. Many companies today would benefit from your vision and its strong belief in values and integrity. I admire your willingness to remain steadfast even in the face of unsurmountable odds. Truly a hero in today's arena of business and personal character.
I am studying organizational communication. I also have a severe love affair going on with coffee so I decided that a book about Starbucks should be the best of both worlds for me. This was an excellent example of how corporate culture can influence an organization. Schultz sought to create a 'coffee experience'. It was not about how to sell a lot of expensive coffee quickly. He wanted to create a place for people to socialize and experience new gourmet coffees that they had never had before. Also, he created a different type of work environment. This was not the classic beaurucratic heirarchy. The 'partners' at Starbucks were given stock options, higher than average wages and a feeling of being part of the company. From what Schultz says, it seems that the employees are truly treated as partners instead of 'employees'. He also tells about how the company seeks to give back to the communities that it is in. Starbucks also seeks to be diverse and appeal to different people, which is very important as it rapidly grows. Schultz also tells about the things that have gone wrong. Throughout the book, the tone is very optimistic and inspiring. It seems that this proves that a company can care about people and still be successful. If this is truly the way this company operates, it would be a very enjoyable place to work and Starbucks will be around for many years to come.
I have read many business biography books in the past year, and I must say, this is unquestionably my favorite. Howard Schultz's story is touching, inspirational and it proves that there are actually kind-hearted bosses out there. If every company executive had a heart the size of Mr. Schultz's, this world would be a much greater place. Whether you are in business, or you are just looking for a great read, this book will satisfy your need. Sometimes business biographies can be quite dry and boring, you will struggle to put this one down and that is an understatement. So I leave you with two final words...BUY IT!!!
This book may have been the truth about Starbucks a few years back. However I honestly feel that Howard Shultz needs to write a follow up if he intends on running the company the way it is presently being run. There is NO family feeling - there is NO job security - it is a cut throat corportate giant that feeds off it's own ego and has no regard for the little man. I am so dissapointed in the company that Starbucks has become - after experiencing the good times with them and now seeing how they have turned there backs on their values and there staff for the sake of a buck! So really if you read this book - take it as fiction - because that is what it is.