Starbucks – refreshing the “original” third place

You know the story. Visionary leader builds a revolutionary brand. Visionary leader steps away and hands it off. Brand falters. Said leader steps back in to turn things around.

The first big changes are taking place since Howard Schultz stepped back into the head spot at Starbucks, and honestly, I’m excited to see if and how he makes the chain unique again. I used to love hanging out at the local Starbucks, but recently they’ve just been crowded places with cluttered stores and dirty bathrooms. I guess it deserves an apology to my Sbux barista friends, but hey, at least Peet’s smells like coffee!

That said, changes are underway! One of the first is the company’s new Pike Place roast, named after its first store. Unlike recent practice, the beans will actually be ground in the store (bringing back that coffee shop smell).

It looks like they’re also making the gutsy move of changing up the brand a little (at least for a while). According to Brand New and pictures from the chain’s website, they’ll be using their original logo in the store and on the cups. I’ll be interested to see how the general public takes to the look. People love their Starbucks, but I’m not sure if they realize that character in the middle of the green circle was originally a bare-chested, split-legged mermaid.

(Image from Brand New)

But hey, it signals change, and maybe that’s what’s needed. The store shots from Pike Place look great. If they can give other stores the same feel, it might bring back that original “coffee shop” ambiance. I’m tired of my local third place feeling like McDonald’s!

(UPDATE: Thanks to Jeff’s comment below, we now know the logo is “tweaked” a little from it’s original version. There’s a picture of the cup here. Looks like the mermaid has longer hair to cover herself a little more 🙂 )

For you Pasadena folks, the Starbucks tasting tour (where I guess they’re showing off their new blend) is stopping at Paseo this weekend. Here’s the info.

Paseo Colorado
280 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

For everyone else, here are a few other posts about the changes…

Not in it for the money

Here’s a nice piece of wisdom Seth Godin wrote a while back:

Seth’s Blog: Doing it for free: “Woz wasn’t looking to make a lot of money when he invented the Apple computer, and Nolan Bushnell certainly didn’t imagine he was creating the video game industry when he invented Pong. Cory and the rest of the boingboing team had no revenue for years, and Digg and Yahoo! and dozens of other key websites were started without an eye on profit, never mind revenue. The same thing is true for Julia Child and Gene Roddenberry and Dean Kamen.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more it seems that pioneers are almost never in it for the money. The smart ones figure out how to take a remarkable innovation and turn it into a living (or a bigger than big payout) but not the other way around. I think the reason is pretty obvious: when you try to make a profit from your innovation, you stop innovating too soon. You take the short payout because it’s too hard to stick around for the later one.”

Two takeaways.

Do something you’re passionate about – something that will bubble up within you whether or not you’re getting paid.

Start now. Sometimes we wait until we can perfect something before beginning it. But the best innovations, projects, activities start because they’re something we’re going to do even if no one notices and grow into something powerful. I see it all the time with church planting. We see these healthy churches and think a new one has to look the exact same way on day one (big, mega, smooth, etc.). But almost anything started small and imperfect and moved forward as everyone learned, created, prayed, and obeyed.

Vimeo’s where it’s at

YouTube is great, but if you want a jolt of creativity, you need to explore Vimeo. It’s another video site, but because it supports HD and has a cleaner look, it draws people who actually edit and shoot video. You get cool things like this:

I love the editing style of this one.

It’s not only a great place for ideas, but it’s a nice place to upload your own videos. Check it out…

The real work of creativity

It’s time for another Seth Godin quote. This time on creativity.

99% of the time, in my experience, the hard part about creativity isn’t coming up with something no one has ever thought of before. The hard part is actually executing the thing you’ve thought of.

The devil doesn’t need an advocate. The brave need supporters, not critics.

In a world with lots of ideas, execution matters most. And when you’re doing the tough things, you need people around you who will support you. It’s a fact: we weren’t meant to live this life alone.