Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Seattle and Starbucks and lessons in innovation

I am visiting Microsoft for an Innovation outreach summit - where about 11 of the world's largest companies are getting together - so a walk around PikePlace in downtown Seattle was going to be a sharp contrast to the next couple of days!

Here is an atmosphere of highly sophisticated (looking) retailers selling all manner of products which when you get them home you have to wonder - why you bought them. It is also home to the first ever Starbucks and so it is possible to envisage that from small acorns...and all that. It seems to be a matter of vision and intent as much as anything else. There is no rocket science to selling good coffee so to grow from a single shop to a global brand must simply be a matter of entrepreneurial imagination and folow through.

Now that they are as big as they - will they ever be able to do something like that again? Although I admire the company - I am not a great fan of the coffee!! Mainly because they seem to sell it in buckets rather than in cups or in quantities that one can manage - perhaps they learnt in old Dinosaur School of Waste.

Nearby there was coffee that was excellent in cup sizes you could manage and if you go anywhere else in the world you can get pretty much a "shot" and pay a price that is also pretty much a shot.

So here is the challenge - how do we keep pace with what customers want and need? Everything else as questions go seems to be noise!?

1 comment:

Kingshuk said...

Dear Mr Vyakarnam, While it is certainly True that a company like Starbucks is worth appreciating for it business model and growth in the Developed Countries I am NOT SURE whether the same can applied in a country like India or China where Starbucks or its Local Competitors have already well entrenched themselves. Also Starbucks is simply TOO EXPENSIVE for a cup of coffee in Indian Rupees. Also Starbucks is STRUGGLING in the present circumstances proving that all is not well with its business model. I am waiting to see when and how Starbucks starts shop in India and whether it will be able to be as successful as it has been in the US or other Developed countries.
I would really appreciate any feedback on this subject.
Warm Regards
Kingshuk Mukherjee - Freelance Journalist and PR Consultant, Mumbai, India
E-mail: kingshukjee@gmail.com