The Fresh-Roasted Smell of Success…

November 7, 2007


“The only way the oil companies could make more money,” Jay Leno quipped a couple of years ago, “would be if they were drilling for oil and struck Starbucks coffee.”

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Matthew Rees writes about Taylor Clark’s “Starbucked” (Little, Brown & Co., 297 pages, $25.99), a double tall tale of caffeine, commerce, and culture. Rees cites that “there are now 10,000 stores spread across North America (more than 170 in Manhattan alone) and an additional 4,000 in more than 40 countries”. “Starbucked” is Taylor Clark’s account of the company’s life and success.


  • The first Starbucks was the brainchild of a Seattle-based writer, Gordon Bowker.
  • After Howard Schultz took the helm in 1987, multiplying began: 11 new stores in 1988, 20 in 1989, 30 in 1990, and 32 in 1991.
  • Mr. Schultz recruited Mary Williams, a veteran coffee buyer, to purchase beans directly from leading growers in Guatemala and elsewhere.
  • Starbucks prefers to be near dry cleaners and video stores, because they require two visits–for dropping off and picking up.
  • “We’re not in the coffee business serving people, ” [Mr. Schultz] likes to say, “we’re in the people business serving coffee.”
  • Staff turnover is lower at Starbucks than at similar establishments, not least because the company provides full health benefits for even part-time workers.
  • Starbucks is 25 times bigger than its closest competitor, Caribou Coffee.
  • The stock’s movements are detailed by Karen Blumenthal in “Grande Expectations: A Year in the Life of Starbucks’ Stock”
  • Starbucks-free communities seek to attract stores.
  • Coffee retail experts advise independents not to open a store until there is a Starbucks in town, since Starbucks is likely to create a clientele for coffee that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
  • Starbucks’ share of the U.S. coffee market is only about 8%. It has announced plans to open 10,000 new stores world-wide over the next four years.

Top Ten Signs You Won’t Win The New York City Marathon…

November 3, 2007

10. You frequently hear, “Outta the way, lard ass!”

9. Every couple of miles you stop and ask directions

8. You pulled a hamstring filling out the application

7. Before the race, you eat a Powerbar with extra cheese

6. You still haven’t finished the 2006 New York City Marathon

5. In trying situations, you ask yourself, “What would Rosie O’Donnell do?”

4. Some runners are sponsored by Adidas — you’re sponsored by Chips Ahoy

3. You’re frequently mistaken for the fat guy from “Lost”

2. Made your own steroids out of Red Bull and Super Glue

1. You’ve been carbo-loading for 30 years

– Courtesy of Late Show with David Letterman (11/2/2007)

ZapRoot 006…

October 11, 2007

Solar-roasted coffee

This episode features a few items about coffee. It opens up with an update on fair trade coffee in Ethiopia, namely Starbucks vs Ethiopia. Next, an organic coffee soda, JavaPop…available in mocha, hazelnut, caramel, vanilla, and espresso. I typically haven’t enjoyed these types of drinks but am always hoping to be surprised. Hopefully it won’t be too hard to locate as they operate out of Vermont. Finally, the most interesting item was a few snapshots of the operations at Solar Roast Coffee. They’re actually utilizing a 10 foot solar array to heat up a drum roaster! Veeery interesting.

Going Beyond Beef Stew…

October 11, 2007

KitchenAid 7 Quart Slow Cooker - Gloss Cinnamon

Today’s Wall Street Journal features a column on slow cookers. This raised my interest as one of the items off our wedding registry is the KitchenAid 7 Quart Slow Cooker. The WSJ comments:

“We put in an egg and sausage strata for lunch and then left the house. The cooking time was 2.5 hours and the pot kept the food warm for four hours after that and then shut off–which was convenient, because we were a little late coming back. We found the egg dish still tasty and not overcooked. A drawback: The product’s large oval shape takes up a lot of counter space.”

One of the challenges these days is preparing dinner and the slow cooker has been a great solution for “a convenient meal”. I’ve enjoyed preparing dishes such as osso bucco, pork loin, and soy chicken. The KitchenAid is a bit cumbersome to work with due to its size but the bowl design and size is a nice luxury. This “new generation of high-tech cook-pots promises more varied and sophisticated fare” and I’m looking for more ways to use this workhorse.

What do you love preparing with your slow cooker?

David Lanham

October 27, 2006

I discovered this artist, David Lanham, via BioChron (thanks for the link, tylermhawkins). He’s got a bunch of cool illustrations on his site. Check out the goodies section for downloadable desktop backgrounds and icons. Goodness! I didn’t even realize he works for one of my favorite design shops, Iconfactory.

Happy Anniversary, George Washington Bridge!

October 25, 2006

The George Washington Bridge turns 75 today. This bridge holds a special place in my heart as it’s become a symbol for me of the area where I grew up. These days I wake and sleep to a view of the bridge as well as cross it daily as I commute to/from work in NYC. It’s a sign to me that I am home.

Hello World!

May 4, 2006

I just registered at I’ve been thinking for some time about how to enter the blogosphere. This first step seems more like a leap. Stay tuned!