What’s the common characters among book, coffee and music? Besides you can have them all in Borders or Barnes&Nobles. They all can fill your soul. One would wonder while that’s true for book and music, how can the coffee fill our souls? Well, that’s what I heard from Howard Schultz on today’s “60 minutes”. Mr. Schultz is the founder of Star Bucks, which has 11,000 stores in 33 countries, and is opening 5 stores everyday.
Schultz says, “One of our colleagues coined a phrase a long time ago and said, ‘We’re not in the business of filling bellies. We’re in the business of filling souls.'”
Here is my take of his words “filling the soul”. Star bucks, as well as Borders, B&N, and St. Louis Bread Company, are not just in the business of selling coffee, books (and music), and bread. They also provided a place for people to meet, to chat, to study, to work, or to surf the Internet. We can consider it as a little community. While the coffee tastes slightly differently in the Star Bucks store in Shanghai from the coffee in the US, and it’s more crowded in Shanghai than in St. Louis, I saw people in those stores are doing essentially the same things. In that sense, it filled people’s soul. I think that’s the brilliance of Star Bucks and other companies. I also have a small wish: some day China could have similar book stores like Borders, similar bread/coffee shop like St. Louis Bread Co. I don’t think that’s just a dream. Ten years ago, would one imagine Star Bucks would have 400 stores in China as of today?