Skip to content

Emotions at launch
Starting a new company is emotionally draining. It is incredibly exciting. It is very difficult in so many ways because there is financial risk and that increases the emotional content. For a typical startup, it is at first funded by the entrepreneur, that’s where the seed capital comes from: the entrepreneurs’ family, the entrepreneurs’ friends, and maybe two people who are friends of your friends. How are you going to feel at Christmas time when you get together with those people if your company has failed? You’re not going to that party, are you? You’ll be afraid to go to that party because you lost their money. It is because of that kind of fear and that level of strain that launching a new company is so important – significant in your life.

The launch of Starbucks
When my two partners and I launched Starbucks in the winter of 1970 and 71, we were really excited. We were learning everything there was to know about the coffee industry, we were building our store, our first store, with our own two hands. We were at the same time worrying about our marketing, we were worrying about our financing, whether it was adequate or not. You can imagine that although it was extremely exciting, by the time we opened our store, our very first store in March of 1971, we were exhausted! It was so tiring. Then the first customers arrived. This was a retail store so that was such a relief. I can remember the man who made the first purchase in the store. We’re still friends. That’s how exciting it was to launch Starbucks Coffee Company.