i do not care if this is some marketing ploy of starbucks but i love the book. i highly recommend it for those dreamers/non-dreamers, entrepreneurs/non-entrepreneurs. this would make a grat pair to 'maverick' by ricardo semler. though it appears to be a business book, but it is something people from all walks of life can learn from.
some fast chismis/facts:
* starbucks was originally owned by 3 guys (sorry forgot the names, too lazy to look them up). and, howard schultz used to be a salesman for a european kitchenwares company. starbucks was his client (i think they ordered coffeemaker from him. not sure.). howard fell in love when he met the company. so he applied as a marketing officer to the company. he was rejected at first, but he was persistent until he became part of the company
* starbucks originally just sell coffee beans and gave out seminars to people about good coffee beans. they teach people how to make coffee, and anything coffee-related topics. they were not yet into serving coffee drinks.
* after a visit from italy where howard discovered coffee shops that he tried to convince the original 3 owners that they should go into serving coffee drinks, instead of just selling coffee beans. but the original owners did not like the idea, they wanted to remain 'purist.'
* so howard, with the blessing of the original sbux owners, left to create a coffee shop which he called 'Il Giornale' (i think it's an italian word which means 'the daily). the business performed well, then after sometime, the original sbux owners sold 'starbucks' to howard
* howard decided to let go of the 'il giornale' name, and kept the starbucks name instead for the reason that it's more catchy and easier to pronounce
* they just served espressos/lattes at first. in the thought to be purist. it was later later on thay they introduced 'frapuccino' when there was a demand from the california area because of the relatively hot weather there. but it was a very hard thing for them to do because they wanted to remain 'purist' in coffee but as howard put it, 'how can you say no to 2 000 million customers.' (o, di ba?) =)
there are lots and lots of story bits but i can no longer remember them.
moving on, i guess it's not really their best in quality coffee that made me a 'starbucks' convert or a sbux drinker but it's more of their company culture and values which i do not know how to explain or put it on details. i'll just share here the part of the book that i like which i think everybody of us can relate to it -- 'The Entrepreneur's Biggest Challenge: Reinventing Yourself.' he said that to achieve success, he figured out he need to reinvent hisself at least 3 times. he started as a dreamer, then he moved to entrepreneur, then to becoming a professional manager -- as the company grew larger and he needed to delegate more and more decisions. then, now his role is to be the sbux's leader, its visionary, cheerleader, and keeper of the flame.
i guess all of us experience this challenge. some of us are dreamers and remain to be dreamers. some are able to execute/realize our dreams. and, then once we got a fill of our dreams, we stop. some get lost in their way to realizing their dreams. and, some dream bigger. and, some i do not know. =)
to reinventing one self, according to schultz, some people have a hard time of moving from entrepreneurs to professional manager. it's when you reach a point when your business becomes big for you to handle alone. you need help from other people. this can be hard for some because it means letting go of control on some areas of the business. and, it can be extra harder when you cannot trust the people you get to make right decisions.
so schultz relates responsibilities of an entrepreneur to parenthood. '...but i'm now convinced that one of the greatest responsibilities of an entrepreneur is to imprint his or her values on the organization. it's like raising children. you start with love and empathy, and if you've imprinted the right values on them, you can trust them to make the reasonable decisions when they become teenagers and sometimes they will make mistakes. but if they have abosrbed good values, they will have a center line to return to.'
see, business books are not only for business people. =)