The Third Place

I read Howard Schultz’s book about the beginning of Starbuck’s. I started reading it because I had heard a rumor that 16 years passed between the opening of the first and second Starbuck’s and that was inspirational to me as we entered our 16th year at Port-to-Port Consulting. It turned out, the rumor wasn’t true. In fact, Starbuck’s became a different company when Schultz bought out the original owners who had declared his idea for growth to be counter to what they believed their company was.

This is interesting now as Schultz returns to the helm of Starbuck’s as the repeat CEO, ala Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and, to a lesser extent, Ted Waitt at Gateway. His principal complaint is that Starbuck’s has lost its vision, his vision, that they become the Third Place (after work and home). Even more interesting is the fact that I’m sitting in a McDonald’s writing this.

I was inspired by Schultz’s book. I added him to my list of interesting people with whom to have dinner. He did have a vision for his company, which isn’t inspiring in and of itself. The inspiration came from the way in which he got LOTS of people to see his vision and share in making it come true. I have a vision for my company. It’ a BIG vision. After reading “Pour Your Heart into It,” I realized that my problem is figuring out how to communicate that vision in a meaningful and inspirational way to the people who can help me make it reality.

I’ll watch closely to see how Schultz performs in round two. Will he look like Jobs or Waitt? I hope he brings Starbuck’s back. I’d like to be sitting in the Third Place while writing future posts.


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