Archive for the Extra Posts Category

Extra Post #3 – “What’s Up with Starbucks?”

Posted in Extra Posts, Uncategorized with tags , , on April 14, 2009 by Dave T
Starbucks

Starbucks

I will admit that I’m addicted to Starbucks.  Well, I was addicted to the once-upon-a-time Wall Street darling.  Starbucks, at one point, was one of America’s great growth stories from the late 90’s to as recently as the early 2000’s.   In less than 20 years, Starbucks grew from 100 coffee shops to over 12,000, and a record 2,000 stores opening in 2006 alone.  At one point, Starbucks had the brand equity most companies would die for. 

Typically, a company’s growth is a good thing.  However, many in the business community have quietly implied it was this explosive growth that has led to Starbucks’ demise.  Even the company’s CEO, Howard Schultz, himself admitted in a leaked internal document that for Starbucks, there are limits to growth.  Schultz pointed out that the company’s own growth strategy had posed problems.

“Stores no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store.”  – Howard Schultz

My, have times changed.  It seems the wheels started to fall off around the time of Schultz’ comments in 2007, following closely by the company’s announcement in mid-2008 that it was closing 600 stores and cutting 7% of its workforce.   Given its sales slump, Starbucks attempted countless efforts to diversify beyond the coffee cup – in an effort to lure new customers with ideas of grandeur.  Starbucks launched initiatives into pop culture, breakfast options, and most recently, VIA instant coffee.  Excuse me…instant coffee?  What happened to the “Starbucks Experience,” Mr. Schultz?

Which leads me to my final point – the customer service.  I remember around the time when my infatuation with Starbucks began in 2003, the customer service, or “experience” was impeccable.  Today, I’m greeted by grumpy “barista’s” who act as if they’re doing ME a favor, long lines with no sense of urgency from the barista, and my personal favorite – running out of coffee.  A coffee shop running out of coffee?  And, I’m not talking about running out during peak business hours!  And, I’m also not talking about this happening every once in awhile, but multiple times in 1 week.  This isn’t how the “Starbucks Experience” used to be…

Recognizing this, Starbucks closed all stores nationwide for several hours in 2008 to “re-train” their staff to guarantee complete customer satisfaction.   What a great marketing ploy that was, since in my opinion, they will need more of these “training sessions” to fix the broken business model.  If Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds or Caribou don’t give Starbucks its death sentence, Starbucks itself will with this “improved” customer service just might. 

I’m not quite at the point to sign up for the “I Hate Starbucks” blog, but I am a regular of this nifty little website giving me non-Starbucks alternativesChris Anderson would certainly love this site – the mom and pop’s not hoping for the big hit, but rather working to thrive in a niche market.  Certainly, not the strategy of Starbucks.

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Extra Post #2 – Obama Overload?

Posted in Extra Posts with tags , on April 11, 2009 by Dave T
Barack Obama

Barack Obama

If you GoogleObama Overload,” you will come up with over 957,000 links.  Wow….are that many people tired of hearing from our Commander-in-Chief?  I will reiterate – “tired of hearing from our Commander-in-Chief.”  Let me get on the soapbox for a minute and remind everyone that not more than 6 months ago, everyone was complaining our former president was too quiet.  Let me also remind everyone, that regardless of your political affiliation, this country – our country – is in the midst of a war against people who want to do our country harm, and is in the middle of the worst financial crisis in decades.  So, yes, as far as I’m concerned, I do want to hear from my president. 

From websites, to Twitter, to Facebook, to news conferences, to email, Obama has been seen in every technology medium in his first 100 days as President.  Not surprising, since after launching the most technologically-savvy presidential campaign in history, it is widely believed that the technology and social networking skills of the new president and his staff played a large part in his capturing the presidency.  Obama had an ornate ability of collecting millions from his supporters, as well as keeping those supports abreast of the most recent events of his campaign. 

Still, after becoming President, technology still prevails with our 44th Commander-in-Chief.  President Obama launched the first-ever Whitehouse Blog, in an attempt to keep the momentum alive with his campaign promises of transparency.  The Obama Administration also launched “Your Seat at the Table” website, in an effort to solicit constituent feedback and publish all documents from meetings with outside organizations.  Some may argue that he’s too transparent, with his comments “I inhaled frequently.  That was the point.”  Very interesting if I remember correctly, a few other of Obama’s predecessors didn’t quite offer this type of “transparency” and was criticized for that, too, one of which led us to a war.  Which do you want, America?  In my opinion, I like the Obama definition of transparency…

As I eluded to in my blog on the 2012 Election, Obama’s emergence as a “tech-y” within the political landscape will certainly bode well for him in the next election – that is, if his sky-high approval ratings remain.  He will undoubtedly remain transparent digitally throughout his administration, and will utilize these efficiencies into the 2012’s, giving him a leg-up on his opponent(s).  I expect to see the same amount, if not more, of our President…and will be enjoying every minute of it!