• Story of the Starbucks Name

    The name Starbucks for a coffee shop is not exactly one you’d pull out of thin air. Maybe whoever started it was a big fan of Battlestar Galactica? No, more likely, whoever created the Starbuck character for Battlestar was a fan of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. This was exactly where Starbucks Coffee got its name, as well.

    Starbuck was the name of the first mate of the whale-ship Pequod, the ship in Moby Dick. The background of the Starbucks Coffee founders would seem enough to suggest a connection to this literary classic. The company was started by three Seattle men, Gordon Bowker, Jerry Baldwin, and Zev Siegl. Bowker was a writer, Baldwin was an English teacher, and Siegl was a history teacher. They opened the first store in 1971 and called it Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spices.

    This early store was a retail location that sold premium coffee beans, coffee equipment, and a drip coffee maker made by the Swedish company Hammarplast. They got their beans from Peet’s, a coffee retail store founded in Berkley, California, in 1966 by Alfred Peet. This first Starbucks store was simply an imitation of Peet’s, with which the trio had been impressed. They bought Peet’s in 1984 and then decided to focus on Peet’s brand, selling Starbucks to Howard Schultz.

    Schultz had been Starbucks’s director of marketing in 1982. He thought that Starbucks should sell not only coffee beans but also espresso. The owners weren’t interested, so Schultz left in 1985 to start his coffee bar chain. Once he acquired Starbucks in 1987, he converted it into a coffee bar and began rapidly expanding, turning the company into the huge force it is today.

    Bowker, the writer, came up with the name Starbucks. Looking at an old mining map of the Cascades and Mount Rainer area, Bowker saw a town called Starbo. It reminded him of the first mate in Moby Dick. He liked how the name sounded, even though it had nothing to do with coffee. The three founders approved the name and added an “s” to make it sound better.

    In their early advertising material, Starbucks referred to “the coffee-loving first mate named Starbuck. The Herman Melville Society took umbrage to this and contacted the company, telling them that Starbuck does not drink coffee anywhere in Moby Dick. Before you read through Moby Dick again, trying to catch Starbuck enjoying a cuppa joe, it’s true: He never drinks coffee in the book.

    Starbucks Was Almost Called Cargo House

    Starbucks branding is truly iconic. Even without seeing a logo, you can probably spot its drinks just by the color of the straw. But as often as you’ve passed (and, let’s be honest, stopped at) the coffee chain, you probably haven’t given its name a second thought. Just make sure you’re not committing any of these barista pet peeves.

    Just looking at a Starbucks cup doesn’t give much of a hint about what its name means. The woman in its logo is a mythological siren, so what does that have to do with stars? Or bucks? And why is it one word?

    Originally, the chain was going to be called “Cargo House, which would have been a terrible, terrible mistake,” co-founder Gordon Bowker tells the Seattle Times. The owners had also considered using “Pequod” after Captain Ahab’s ship in Moby Dick.

    But Terry Heckler, the brand consultant who designed the chain’s logo, wasn’t so crazy about that name either. Heckler mentioned offhand that, like these power words, things starting with “st” sounded powerful—a good trait for a brand that would grow to more than 25,000 locations by 2016. From there, Bowker made a list of “st” words. But Starbucks wasn’t on it. Another Starbucks marketing choice: take a look at the real reason why Starbucks coffee sizes aren’t small, medium, and large.

    As the team tried landing on a name, Heckler brought out an old 1800s map of Mt. Rainier and the Cascades. The name of one mining town, Starbos, stood out to Bowker. He immediately thought of the first mate on the Pequod: Starbuck.

    They added the S because it sounded more conversational. After all, anyone talking about the coffee shop would probably say they were “going to Starbucks,” so they might as well make it official.

    The company says its name “evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders,” but Bowker brushes that off. He says Moby Dick has nothing to do with their coffee, and “it was only coincidental that the sound seemed to make sense.” But hey, we didn’t need a nautical adventure anyway. We’re perfectly content with a simple latte.

  • BOS COFFEE: Weekly OKRs – July 30th

    OUR MISSION: To fund the release of every rehabilitated orangutan back into the rainforest – one supporter, and one cup at a time.

    Q3 OBJECTIVE: Establish BOS Coffee as a suitable replacement for supporters’ (AKA customers) existing home coffee.

    • KR: 50 new supporters a month – 60%
    • KR: 30% monthly returning supporters – 60%
    • KR: $2,000 a month in sales 100% <- this is my feeling we will hit this goal


    • Getting shipment out. DONE. Happy to say that we got all newsletter shipments out on-time. 
    • Why do people buy our coffee?- IN-PROGRESS. Learning the process. Set up interviews with friends. The #JTBD Method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzezRI9KNKY
    • Improve transactional emails. IN PROGRESS. I’m keeping a close eye on this to better all transaction emails.
    • Subscription errors. IN PROGRESS There is a bit of complexity with PayPal and our software. Causing me a lot more work. Exploring a fix to streamline.


    • RETENTION: Implement a wide range of automated engaging customers emails (Welcome, Abandon cart, Birthday, etc.)
    • CUSTOMER EXPERINCE: Improve Product Packaging with Logo Stamp & Box Insert
    • CUSTOMER EXPERINCE: Update website with copy and smoother flow
    • OPERATIONS: Set-up shipping to EU

    NOTES:  As you can see, objective & key results are constant, but projects are changing to hit the objective. This week I focused on #jtbd interviews. Before talking with our customers, I want to experiment with the method on friends. My goal is to understand how the coffee in their kitchen ended up there. When I wasn’t preparing for interviews, I was fulfilling orders and tweaking our software to be more automated.

  • BOS COFFEE: Weekly OKRs – July 23rd

    OUR MISSION: To fund the release of every rehabilitated orangutan back into the rainforest – one supporter, and one cup at a time.

    Q3 OBJECTIVE: Establish BOS Coffee as a suitable replacement for supporters’ (AKA customers) existing home coffee.

    • KR: 50 new supporters a month-  50% chance of success
    • KR: 30% monthly returning supporters –  20%
    • KR: $2,000 a month in sales  –  80%


    • Newsletter sold 1,100 EURO worth of coffee. DONE. Thursday & Friday busy fulfilling orders
    • Redesigned all transactional emails. DONE. Better communication and flow to track orders from payment to delivery.
    • Add package tracking. DONE. Every customer can now track their package via DHL.
    • Create FAQ: DONE. This will evolve into something very useful.
    • Customer experience tweaks to the Website. DONE. Bunch of small changes that add up. You can see changelog here: Changelog – BOS Coffee (orangutan.de)
    • Re-engaging existing customers strategy. IN-PROGRESS. Heavy research into automating post-purchase retention email with MailChimp.
    • Post-purchase customer survey – IN-PROGRESS. We need to know what motivated people to buy our coffee. Researching JTBD Method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzezRI9KNKY


    • Set-up JTBD Survey
    • Test Influencers Marketing
    • Set-up Instagram Shop
    • Test giveaways & Contests on Facebook & Instagram
    • Reach out to Gorillas or Flink
    • Green Banking Rewards program.
    • Setup Amazon Store
    • Press release
    • Set-up shipping to EU
    • Secure first retail
    • Improve Product Packaging

    NOTES: I’m radically focused on user experience and retention. There’s no reason we can’t deliver a great experience. Next, we need to find out what motivates people to buy our coffee. Demographics are not enough. The amount of orders we got in is showing me where our fulfillment needs work.

  • BOS COFFEE: Weekly OKRs – July 16th

    OUR MISSION: To fund the release of every rehabilitated orangutan back into the rainforest – one supporter, and one cup at a time.

    Q3 OBJECTIVE: Establish BOS Coffee as a suitable replacement for supporters’ (AKA customers) existing home coffee.

    • KR: 50 new supporters a month  
    • KR: 30% monthly returning supporters
    • KR: $2,000 a month in sales


    • Secure first retail NOT DONE: Got a request from a store. We are talking. I need to work out pricing structure with roaster & BOS.
    • Re-engaging existing customers strategy: NOT DONE: Watching tons of YouTube videos to create a retention strategy plan to execute on.
    • Improve Product Packaging NOT DONESubmitted designs for BOS approve. This will be a process. Baby Steps to awesome packaging.
    • Set-up Facebook Shop & Pixel DONE: Shop is live. Tracking everything with a FB Pixel via server side API
    • Set up package tracking with DHL –DONE: Orders now are being charged for DHL with tracking.
    • Finalize Anthony & BOS relationship DONEWe had productive meeting. I’m thrilled. All my attention on hitting these OKRs.
    • User Experience: DONE: Increase page speed by tweaking and removing imagines & plugins

    NOTES: We can do a much better job on user experience and retention. I am focusing on this in July. What is the point of getting new supporters if we can’t wow and keep existing? Taking the baby step approach. One tweak at a time. And we finally got a thermal printer.

  • 140 hours later

    My family left me alone 11 days ago when they went to Grandma’s house. I have spent every waking moment since building two marketplaces. For the first 5 days, I built the foundation for Giveback Coffee from scratch. Then on day 6 I switched gears and cloned the shop code to build Ver. 0.3 of Sharescription. Moments ago I switched off PayPal Sandbox and its live. Let’s see where this little Sharescription experiment takes us.

  • Reading my 2020 Notes

    Had a good day of settling into not working from home yesterday. The family swung by at 3 pm to have coffee and cake. I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter.

    This might be the reason the first lockdown felt like a mid-life vacation. I worked very hard on myself and at creating the environment I found myself in when the world down in March. Today brought in my notebooks and journals to review my 2020 goals and objectives. Right off the bat, I can say that my most important goal of 2020 was accomplished. I’m going to see what goals I didn’t hit and ask myself why.

    From this, I will write my life plan for 2021.


    I’m putting everything into folders organized by categories of focus like health, family, and work.

    Going forward I will work on one folder at a time. 2021 is going to be all about less & focus.

  • First Roaster Meeting

    I had a clear vision of what I wanted to create and started emailing coffee roasters. This was the first one that got back to me.

  • My Temporary Office

    Amazing how much work I get done. Here my setup: iPhone, paper, pen, OneNote, Trello, Slack, Safari, VoiceDream, Instapaper, Grammarly, Coke Flavored Tic Tacs & Starbucks Coffee.

    Managing people in Brasil, Berlin & Boulder on an iPhone from a bench. Writing all the website copy with Boulder, while brazil Develops user account to connect to charity selection

  • First likemind event of 2017

    Likemind is a group of Berliner that meet the 3rd Friday of every month for good conversation & coffee. It started in New York City and now has almost 50 local chapters on every Continent minus Antarctica. You can read more about it in this NY Times article.

    If you’re in Berlin why don’t you join us and meet some interesting people. Here is our Facebook Event Page with all the details.

  • We’re moving to Berlin

    I am excited to announce that I’ve accepted the COO position at www.iliketotallyloveit.com and Beatrix and I are moving to Berlin on January 1st.

    On May 24th Bea and I flew to Germany to get married and go on a much-needed honeymoon. You hear of little girls having dream weddings, well this was my dream wedding. As a kid, I wanted to get married in an old European church as my mother and father did. It was a beautiful wedding and I was blessed to be married to such a wonderful lady.

    After the wedding, Bea and I took a little day trip to France to have coffee, cake and reflect on the near future. We were sitting in a little café in Strasbourg and I said in passing, “wouldn’t it be great to live in Europe.” Bea agreed and added that we only have a limited opportunity to do so before we have kids in school.

    The following weekend we from Saint a Vault to Berlin Sunday Bea and I settled into a great apartment in an amazing part of Berlin called Prenzlauer Berg and I felt strangely at home immediately.

    I read that TechCrunch was having its first Meetup while I was in town and I wanted to see what the Tech Scene in Berlin was like, so I emailed Nicholas MacGowan von Holstein and luckily he responded by getting me on the list.

    I was shocked by how many people showed up and meet a lot of great people. I knew that night that Berlin was a possible city for me to live.

    I keep in touch with many of the people I meet but one German in particular Malte Gösche, iliketotallyloveit.com.

    When I got back to New York my Rezorter.com proposal was on the desk of SkiNet.com and I had free time so we worked out a short term contract and I began to put together a business plan with Malte.

    The business plan took longer than we expected, but every day I was more excited about the companies potential.

    This month I’ve been negotiated terms to come on board fulltime.

    This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner