Howard Behar, former President, Starbucks International

August 22, 2012

I had a chance to hear Howard Behar speak while I was shooting at a national franchise’s conference. As a man who entered into the company when it started small, Howard was able to give great insight into the inner workings and changes within Starbucks as it went from local coffee chain to internationally recognized brand and status symbol. Even now, when Psy sings about Gangnam Style he references the Korean social trend of skimping on real food so that one can be seen wielding a Starbucks cup instead.

Howard’s the author of It’s Not About the Coffee where he talks about having a value driven business, which, I think, is one of the keys to Starbucks’ success. Well, high profit margin drinks don’t hurt either. They’ve made it less about the coffee and more about people and a  lifestyle.  He was a great speaker, and, to me, the highlight of the conference where I learned a lot, even though I was just a spectator.

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It was a great group of people, all doing their best to provide excellent service to their region’s seniors and to get their own small business off the ground. In an age where I’ve seen ads for lanyards that summon EMT units with the push of a button, or live webcams that only show a few feet of the ground so that you can tell when your parent has fallen, I think in-home care would be a much preferred option.

Location: Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.

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