I never wanted to be on any billionaires list. I never define myself by net worth. I always try to define myself by my values.
My father had a series of blue-collar jobs and never made more than $20,000 a year. When I was seven, he got injured on a job. That was a very important point - because of the injury, he couldn't walk, and the company he was working for did not pay him. There was no compensation. So there was no money and no food.
I think Starbucks created a platform and, ultimately, a runway for many other companies to emulate. I suspect if we had not achieved what we have, there would have been many regional brands that would have succeeded. But I'm not sure there would have been a national brand of the scope of Starbucks.
Even though people are under economic pressure, they still want to support those brands with values that are compatible with their own.
It's ironic that no matter where I go, I meet people from Brooklyn. I'm proud of that heritage. It's where I'm from, who I am.
Social and digital media is a bullet train, and that bullet train is not coming home.
We can't wait for Washington. Business leaders are going to have to galvanize their own constituencies and do everything they can to demonstrate confidence in the economy, and I think that can be contagious.
Business leaders cannot be bystanders.
Most business people today are not going to invest in the uncertainty that exists in America.
Certainly the caffeine in coffee, whether it's Starbucks or generic coffee, is somewhat of a stimulant. But if you drink it in moderation, which I think four or five cups a day is, you're fine.
The evolving social and digital media platforms and highly innovative and relevant payment capabilities are causing seismic changes in consumer behavior and creating equally disruptive opportunities for business.
Many companies today are reducing hours of full-time people to get under the minimum so they don't have to pay health care costs. I just shake my head because that's not going to build long-term value and trust with your people.
Our history is based on extending the brand to categories within the guardrails of Starbucks.
I'm in a different position than most CEO's. I'm a founder. I'm not a hired CEO. Now, I can be fired by the board, but most CEO's are hired by the board.
The future of America is not an entitlement. We have been given a treasure chest of gifts and opportunities, but some people are being left behind, and success is not sustainable unless it is shared.
Starbucks has stores in America in many, many communities that are governed by many, many different municipalities. Starbucks cannot dictate to a municipality in Cincinnati or Kansas City or Sacramento how or why or when there should be a recycling program.
I do feel, in a sense, the rules of engagement for citizenship has changed, and we must encourage other people to speak up and to take action.
In the 1960s, if you were a blue collar worker or uneducated, and you had an injury on the job, the company basically dismissed you.
My son is trying to be a sports writer, and my daughter is a college student. She wants to be a comedy writer, and she's at film school. I discouraged both of them early on from getting involved in Starbucks. I didn't think it would be fair; plus, they didn't have any interest anyway.
Companies should not have a singular view of profitability. There needs to be a balance between commerce and social responsibility... The companies that are authentic about it will wind up as the companies that make more money.