Scott Hodge


What would you say to Howard Schultz?

Aug 31, 2005

HowardschultzI walked into my favorite Starbucks yesterday to do some writing and as I sat down to open my laptop one of the baristas came running over and said to me, "Do you see that limo outside?"  I turned my head and sure enough – there it was sitting in the parking lot next door.  Excitedly, she went on to say, "Howard Schultz is sitting in that limo and will  be coming into our store in about ten minutes!"

I quickly opened my bag to make sure that I had my digital camera on hand and said, "Great, I will look forward to meeting him!" 

Ten minutes later I looked up and there was Howard Schultz standing right in front of me smiling.  "How are you?", he asked.  I froze.  I didn’t know what to say.  He proceeded to sit down next to me and ask about my Starbucks experience.  We talked for 10 minutes.

Ok – that last paragraph isn’t true.  But it would have been really cool to meet him.

Unfortunately, Howard’s limo pulled away and he never made it into the store.  Not sure why, but it was kind of cool knowing that I was within 10 minutes of possibly meeting Howard Schultz.  So this got me thinking about what I would say to Howard Schultz if I had the opportunity to meet him.

Here’s a couple of thoughts:

First and foremost, I would ask him if they would consider giving discounts to ministers.  (Kidding…)  But seriously, I would probably tell him that I admire the innovation and "idea" behind Starbucks and how well they have been able to successfully maintain a consistent "culture" among all of their stores all across America and around the world.

I would talk about music.  I’ve seen his music list and we enjoy the same types of music. 

I would probably ask him what he dreams about and what keeps him up at night. 

I would then ask him to record a voice intro for my next podcast.  :)  

Ok – your turn.  What would you ask or talk to Howard Schultz about if you had 10 minutes with him?

16 Responses to “What would you say to Howard Schultz?”

  1. Betsy says:

    I was like, “Who’s Howard Schultz?”
    I have no interesting questions. I think this may be a serious character flaw.

  2. I would ask who handle’s SBUX marketing and advertising and if he were willing to send some of that work my way… :)

  3. Amy Dusek says:

    I would ask him:
    What inspires you?
    How do you combat unmotivation?
    Have you ever felt like giving up on something, but something just kept you going? If yes, what was that something and what kept you going?
    I would tell him: I love your coffee. I love your stores. I love Starbucks “design”…I have always admired it, and it has inspired me as a designer. And hopefully I would have my business card and my digital portfolio on me and give it to him. :)

  4. Considering it took me until about 2/3 of the way through your post using context clues to figure out who the heck Howard Schulz was, I probably wouldn’t have a whole lot to say to him.

  5. Ben says:

    Green tea frappucino’s? Were you serious about that? =)

  6. Todd Ruth says:

    I thought I was a Starbucks person. But if I didn’t know who Howard Schulz is, I guess I’m just a wanna be. So I guess I would have just said, “Dude, you got a plasma tv in there or what?”

  7. matt says:

    I would have been like “dude I’m thirsty, go get me an iced frapp. And can you hurry it up?”
    No, actually my question would have been money / CEO perks aside, do you miss the days when Starbucks was smaller and more simple?

  8. Brian says:

    Didn’t he write the Charlie Brown comic strips? I love those. I’d ask him how he came up with the dialogue for the teacher in the class room. Wha Wha Wha, Wha Wha Wha, Wha Wha. Brilliant.

  9. Having just become a barista at my local Starbucks I just recently became very educated about Mr. Shultz and the one thing I would tell him is…Good for you for giving back like you do. Starbucks is an incredible company to work for.

  10. ok…my bad, educated on the company, not on how to spell his name.. ;)

  11. StTrudi316 says:

    Asked the secret of his success, Schultz recounts four principles: “Don’t be threatened by people smarter than you. Compromise anything but your core values. Seek to renew yourself even when you are hitting home runs. And everything matters.”
    I’m not like HS and don’t really want to be, but I can learn from him.

  12. kevin says:

    I would ask him why the heck he allows Starbucks to become so corporate feeling – why there are no larger stores being built to foster the community they say they want to create. And I would point out that all they are interested in is drive through customers and their money. I wrote this to their corporate, this was their response: Your feedback is essential to Starbucks’ continued growth and progress. Therefore, I documented this occurrence in order to inform all appropriate departments – sounds corporate to me!

  13. Dude I think you nailed it with the discount for Pastor’s thing… I go to startbucks at least 4x’s a week and the Venti Non-Fat Caramel Macchiato is 4 bucks and change… But I can’t get enough…

  14. Carim Cervantes says:

    I would give him a hug and smile. I would not ask him questions about Starbucks but instead i would love to get to know Him as a person not a corporate figure head.

  15. Karen says:

    I just saw him on Charlie Rose… A really cool hip guy that has a conscience. Can’t help myself..he came across as a regular, bright guy.
    I’d ask him 2 questions: “Can I follow you around for a day or two??
    “How’s the shop coming in Phuket, Thailand? Have they recovered?” When homesick, I would sit there for a couple of hours and then venture forth again, renewed. :-)
    Thanks for the banter and pictures. It’s really well done….and I aspire to such banter.

  16. Venbrone says:

    I would say, Damn Howard! Why you gotta screw up the global coffee market? Dont you know that your profit causes poverty and starvation in coffee producing communities?

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