Howard Schultz grew up in Brooklyn, in a public housing project. His father barely made $20k a year, with three children to feed. And when his father got injured on the job with no health insurance, Schultz vowed to one day improve the “American Dream” on his behalf.
First, he went to university on a full football scholarship. After, he landed positions at Xerox and a Swedish housewares company. The latter sold coffee grinders whose biggest customer was a small company named Starbucks. He went to Seattle to meet them, and it was love! He begged them for a job, and by 1982, he was marketing director.
Later, a trip to Milan inspired him even more with its espresso bars and café culture. He brought back cappuccino recipes with lofty visions for Starbucks. But the CEO wasn’t interested. Discouraged, Schultz resigned and started “Il Giornale” coffeehouses.
Several years later, Starbucks was up for sale. With the help of a few investors, he jumped on it and took over as CEO! He introduced America to words like “grande” and “latte”, and offered mocha choca frapuccinos with any kind of milk, cream or whipped air. Suddenly, venti non-fat vanilla latte with soy milk and caramel drizzle became a thing.
Today, Starbucks has over 28,000 locations in 77 countries and Schultz is a renowned, socially conscious leader.
In a throwback to his father, Schultz offers health insurance to all employees.
The second location of the original Starbucks cafe.
TIMING IS NOT EVERYTHING
When Schultz was not offered a way to pursue his vision within Starbucks, he quit and carried on with his career. Later on, the way he seized the opportunity of acquiring Starbucks is truly fascinating; a definite lesson in patience and courage. Not only is good timing rare, but seeing it and seizing it are on a whole different level of scarce—and that’s exactly when magic happens. Keep an eye out and seize the moment in 2019! 🙂
© Story by Tarek Issa.