In success stories we take a look at some of the most successful people in history and breakdown their lives and tips to success. In this post we’re taking a look at the success of Howard Schultz and the coffee giant that is Starbucks.



Name: Howard D. Schultz

DOB: July, 19, 1953

Net Worth: 2.9 Billion USD

Initial Age Of Success: 33

Mentors: Norman Lear and Warren Bennis


Early Life

  • Born in Brooklyn New York
  • Howard grew up poor and used sports as an escape
  • He was the first person in his family to go to college. He received a bachelors degree in communications
  • Howard’s first job was at Xerox corporation as a sales person where he was quickly promoted
  • In 1979 Howard was hired as general manager for Swedish drip coffee maker manufacturer Hammarplast
  • While working at Hammarplast, he was sent to one of their clients, Starbucks in Seattle
  • A year later he joined Starbucks as director of marketing



  • During a buying trip to Milan, Howard discovered Italian coffee shops and fell in love with their culture, service and design. Milan coffee shops were more like meeting places that gave Italy it’s iconic social prowess
  • When he arrived home, he tried to convince the owners to copy the Milan coffee style
  • After they refused, Howard left the company
  • He needed $400,000 to start his very own first coffee store, which he would call II Giornale
  • 2 years later Starbucks management would sell Starbucks retail unit to Howard and II Giornale for $3.8m
  • Starbucks, under the command of Howard began to expand throughout America and beyond
  • Starbucks hit a rough patch a few years later during the recession. They began to lose their identity and customers just weren’t spending as much as before. Howard realized that the aroma of melted cheese, from their toasted sandwiches, was overpowering the smell of coffee, which was the opposite of what he experienced in Milan. After sticking to his roots, and going back to customer satisfaction, Howard managed to keep Starbucks alive


Current Life

  • Howard’s story and the Starbucks journey has been detailed in two books, Onward and Pour your heart in to it
  • Howard is ranked among the top 1,000 richest people in the world
  • In recent years, Howard has had a big influence on political matters, such as his support of gay marriage in 2013
  • Starbucks currently has more than 21,000 stores worldwide
  • He currently lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife


Top Traits

  • Ability to know what the customer wants
  • Huge self belief
  • Consistent innovator
  • Passion
  • Integrity
  • People Skills


 Top Tips For Success

  • Instill confidence in others
  • Hire people smarter than you
  • Be willing to leave the familiar behind
  • Don’t play it safe
  • Ask for advice from mentors, you’ll be surprised what you get back


What Can We Learn From Howard Schultz?

  • Howard had high paid jobs in his past, but he was willing to give them up to chase his dream. Whilst everyone else was sticking with what they already knew, Howard had his eyes open to what could be. This enabled him spot a new opportunity, and bring a piece of Italian culture to America and the rest of the world.
  • When everything was going wrong, Howard stuck to what mattered most, the customers. He guided Starbucks back on course and focused on providing a good service above all else. This consequently brought customers back and improved profits.
  • Howard’s passion is easy to see. It’s not about the money or the fame. It has always been about the experience. How a customer can call Starbucks their safe-haven, the place where they can escape each day and feel like they’re part of a community.


Best Quote

If you examine a butterfly according to the laws of aerodynamics, it shouldn’t be able to fly, but the butterfly doesn’t know that, so it flies