Remix Podcast – Season 1 Episode 18 – Howard Schultz and expanding Starbucks in China

“I’d like a coffee, venti, two sugars and two creams please”

It seems quintessential these days to have a coffee in the morning. Many of my friends and coworkers cannot go through a day without coffee. But how did it get this way? How did places like Starbucks become so mainstream in our lives? A lot of it has to do with Howard Schultz – the CEO of Starbucks who saw an opportunity to bring coffee and the Italian culture of coffee into America.

In this episode, we listen to a clip from Reid Hoffman’s (Co-founder and former CEO of LinkedIn and serial entrepreneur) podcast called Masters of Scale. In the podcast, Reid interviews founders, CEOs and entrepreneurs to understand how they took their companies from zero to a gazillion.

In this episode, we remix our thoughts on:

  • Why Wang seems calm and confident – is it because he doesn’t drink coffee? Why doesn’t he drink coffee?
  • Shawn and his invincibility when he drinks coffee
  • Reid Hoffman’s podcast Masters of Scale and compare it to NPR’s podcasts (hey our podcast is a lot of work too!)
  • A story of Howard Schultz trying to break into the Chinese market and the key breakthrough moment for Starbucks
  • The key takeaways that Wang took away from the episode – a concept called ‘ethnographic research’
  • Why Wang has a huge amount of respect for CEOs who are deep in their weeds
  • Whether Wang knew about this key breakthrough moment beforehand
  • Shawn and his thoughts on how people of his similar culture would react to a Starbucks career
  • The failures of tech companies in China and why that might be the case
  • Shawn’s experience with how different cultures can affect organizations and the way they run their business – one story from UAE and a story from him trying to create the next biggest app and what he learned about teenage girls
  • The key takeaway for Shawn that he learned from Howard Schultz

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@shawnkanungo and @wangyip

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