On The Starbucks Experience

When I was a college kid, I was fascinated by the success stories of the business giants: Apple, Mary Kay, Panasonic, Sony, Microsoft, etc. I read every book I could found about their "secrets", trying to get a clue and make myself a legend. But I could not. Finally I realized that entrepreneurship is not in my blood and my life career is in academia.

Still, I have that unanswered question: Why some business succeed and some fail?

Maybe that was why I grabbed the book The Starbucks Experience. When I glanced at the over, I was caught by its familiar green color and mermaid logo, and its subtitle as "5 principles for turning ordinary into extraordinary". Looks like an easy reading — only 5 things, not 30 laws listed in the Gordon Livingston’s book — so why not resume my old passion?

It turned out boring to read the "national bestseller". I could not find any strong suggestions as to why there were 5 principles — why not more or fewer? why these 5 things? All the author — Dr. Joseph Michelli (I cannot find out where he got his Ph.D.) — tried to say is nothing but why these things are so important to help Starbucks becomes a legend, which equals to say, the success of Bill Gates is because of his personality and innovation. Nothing about the time, the investment, the purely luck, the social trend, and thousands and thousands of those who failed.

To me, suddenly I feel like I understood these "secrets" — first you succeed in small scale, then you educate your employees, then you educate your customers, finally you make it a legend. That is the time course. When you publish a book and sell your "secret", great, you are making yourself a legend! These "secrets" books are more like brainwashing devices to your employees and customers. There may not be any real secret besides some of your nature (IQ, EQ, hard-working, etc.) and a lot of good luck — It is just that simple.

You cannot replicate Starbucks using these 5 principles. These things are pure propagandas.

For the fun and as a mark of having browsed that book, I list the 5 principles here.

  • Principle 1: Make It Your Own
  • Principle 2: Everything Matters
  • Principle 3: Surprise and Delight
  • Principle 4: Embrace Resistance
  • Principle 5: Leave Your Mark

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