[Review] Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul
Starbucks is not a coffee company that serves people. It is a people company that serves coffee."Onward" is also a cautionary tale for companies who run the dangers of pandering to Wall Street, instead of keeping the company focused on real, sustainable growth. You'll read about how the smell of cheese in Starbucks outlets - the smell of burning cheese, to be exact - drove Schultz mad with despair and would be one of the factors that would lead the company into an upheaval. Or how he'd talk the company through its own version of a burning platform. His vivid descriptions of the painful decisions he'd had made - firing of key executives, restructuring of operations, for example - makes for compelling reading, and gives you great insight into the mind of one of this decade's most successful business leaders. There's really a little bit of everything for the reader. If you're a marketer, Schultz describes how Starbucks would market its Pike Place Roast, introduced during a soft economy. For those of us who are more social media inclined, Schultz reveals in the book how MyStarbucksIdeas.com came about from a discussion with Michael Dell - inspired by Dell's own IdeaStorm.com - and shaped along by folks from Salesforce.com. And if you're a founder and entrepreneur of any sort, you'll easily pick up some great business and leadership lessons from Schultz worth applying to your own situation. Highly recommended. Oh, and do read this with a good cup of coffee.
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.