Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is on the most important characteristic, which is trust.
Starbucks is not an advertiser; people think we are a great marketing company, but in fact we spend very little money on marketing and more money on training our people than advertising.
I was born on the other side of the tracks, in public housing in Brooklyn, New York. My dad never made more than $20,000 a year, and I grew up in a family that lost health insurance. So I was scarred at a young age with understanding what it was like to watch my parents lose access to the American dream.
Companies should not have a singular view of profitability. There needs to be a balance between commerce and social responsibility... The companies that are authentic about it will wind up as the companies that make more money.
I think we are living in a time where the consumer has lots of choices, whether it's coffee, newspapers or whatever it is. And there is parity in the market place, and as a result of that, the consumer is beginning to make decisions, not just on what things cost and the convenience of it.
I think the currency of leadership is transparency. You've got to be truthful. I don't think you should be vulnerable every day, but there are moments where you've got to share your soul and conscience with people and show them who you are, and not be afraid of it.
You can't build any kind of organization if you're not going to surround yourself with people who have experience and skill base beyond your own.
In life, you can blame a lot of people and you can wallow in self-pity, or you can pick yourself up and say, 'Listen, I have to be responsible for myself.'
I think there is probably no better person to aspire to emulate than Steve Jobs and what he has done at Apple in terms of his leadership, his innovation, not settling for mediocrity.
People have come to me over the years and said to me: 'I admire the culture of Starbucks. Can you come give a speech and help us turn our culture around?' I wish it were that easy. Turning a culture around is very difficult to do because it's based on a series of many, many decisions, and the organization is framed by those decisions.
On balance, I am a supporter of the minimum wage going up. We've got to be very careful what we wish for because some employers - and there could be a lot of them - will be scared away from hiring new people or creating incremental hours for part-time people as a result of that wage going up.
I am concerned about any attrition in customer traffic at Starbucks, but I don't want to use the economy, commodity prices or consumer confidence as an excuse. We must maintain a value proposition to our customers as well as differentiate the Starbucks Experience. That is the key.
When I first discovered in the early 1980s the Italian espresso bars in my trip to Italy, the vision was to re-create that for America - a third place that had not existed before. Starbucks re-created that in America in our own image; a place to go other than home or work. We also created an industry that did not exist: specialty coffee.
My son is trying to be a sports writer, and my daughter is a college student. She wants to be a comedy writer, and she's at film school. I discouraged both of them early on from getting involved in Starbucks. I didn't think it would be fair; plus, they didn't have any interest anyway.
The hardest thing about being a leader is demonstrating or showing vulnerability... When the leader demonstrates vulnerability and sensibility and brings people together, the team wins.
Cutting prices or putting things on sale is not sustainable business strategy. The other side of it is that you can't cut enough costs to save your way to prosperity.
Certainly the caffeine in coffee, whether it's Starbucks or generic coffee, is somewhat of a stimulant. But if you drink it in moderation, which I think four or five cups a day is, you're fine.
If you look at coffee, tea, food and juice, we think there are inherent opportunities. If you look at health bars or grab-and-go products that are in our stores, we think we can significantly enhance them and make them more widely available.
When you're building a business or joining a company, you have to be transparent; you can't have two sets of information for two sets of people.
I believe life is a series of near misses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It's seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It's seeing what other people don't see And pursuing that vision.