Xeno Hemlock


#ThinkAboutIt - It's More Than Just Coffee


This post is an upgrade on the original It's Not The Coffee Again (A Quick Story of Perseverance and Dreams).

One word comes to mind whenever I push open the door and step inside a Starbucks cafe - Home. The subtle and beautiful wall decorations around the room. The sweetness of the pastries and the aroma of coffee. The chatter of the customers from all corners and the voices of baristas calling names. I don't go to Starbucks to sleep or to shower but yet it feels like home.

I find a chair, settle there, put my MacBook Pro (lately my old iPad) on the table and face the blank page, sometimes pretending I'm the modern J.K. Rowling about to type the next best thing in fiction. I sip my hot, grande Americano (sometimes brewed coffee and rarely Java Chip frappe) during every short break from the keyboard. There's magic in the room. I feel it humming in the air, drawing to my fingertips, and finally coursing over the keyboard as I type away the words in my head. Bam! My muse springs from her resting place and tells me she wants a bite of my danish. The plot twist drops and I learn she's not MY muse (and I seldom eat danish anyway). She's a mermaid, the green mermaid in the Starbucks logo in my cup. She pops out of it to tell me a quote from her CEO Howard Schultz.

“I had real trouble raising private equity money. It was very difficult. In fact I had to downsize the number of outlets I hoped to open from 100 to 75, but I couldn’t afford to have the prospectuses reprinted, so I crossed the 100 out by hand and wrote in 75... It simply hadn’t been done and here was I trying to convince people to invest in this plan for a national chain of coffee houses and one that was planning to offer all staff health insurance and a stake in business. I was turned down by 224 – I’ve got dossier to prove it.”

Then it makes sense, the magic. The black liquid I'm drinking is the magic. It's not just merely coffee.

First, it's also PERSISTENCE.

Howard Schultz, in trying to raise private equity money, was turned down 224 times. That's a lot of rejection! @@Most of us give up on something after three failures or rejections.@@ Some even do after giving things a try only once, a horrible thing to even think about. We completely forget that not everything aligns right in the first attempt. Imagine if Schultz gave up on his 223rd time. I will probably never discover the heaven that is Americano if that's the case.

Second, it's also LONGEVITY.

Founded 44 years ago, Starbucks is still one of the most popular cafe with more than 20,000 shops worldwide. @@It's a great thing to aspire to achieving success that lasts and not success that fades fast.@@ Nowadays everybody wants to become a viral hit, an overnight success, right away, forgetting that immediate success doesn't always guarantee long-lasting success. But how many viral hits were soon forgotten when the next viral hit arrived? And how many success stories became timeless? If given a choice to pick one for your dream, what will you choose? Instant success or a strong and long-lasting foundation that will take a while to build?

Third, it's also CARE.

When a barista writes your name on the cup that's care. When a barista makes your beverage exactly the way you want it that's care. When a barista calls your name and states your order that's care. It sounds silly, fawning over the little things, but sometimes it's the little things that count. Exclusive attention to detail means care, like the friend who can remember small details of conversations you had previously or the dressmaker who checks every seam and stitch carefully before calling the dress a dress. It's one reason why people choose to pay for premium coffee when there are cheaper options. They feel that the merchant cares and it's reminder for us all when doing our work, @@to be successful we should care about our work instead of half-assing it.@@

Finally, it's also VISION.

Who would've thought that setting up a cafe would be a lucrative business? People can drink and brew coffee at home, cheaper too, so why make them go to a cafe instead? If there's one other lesson we can learn from this is that sometimes our visions may seem outrageous, ahead of its time, and may face some resistance. But what's a vision that doesn't try to create something great or new anyway? Our visions should be forward-thinking, creative, and a tad (or more) out of the ordinary. @@If we're going to try something, then why not try something great?@@ We only get one chance in life, might as well do something awesome with it.

Persistence. Longevity. Care. Vision. My cup is now empty as I am about to finish writing this. I'll be back here. I always go back here because Americano is never good anywhere else. I love the magic too, it's not just the coffee. It's definitely not just merely coffee.

Any thoughts? Leave your comments below.

You can also subscribe with your best e-mail to receive newsletter and articles like this.

Or connect with your favorite social media platform below!