It was 2am, and I was walking along the deserted streets of downtown Seattle. I turned a corner toward Pikes Place Market and saw a plaque behind the window of an unassuming storefront. It said:
FIRST STARBUCKS STORE, EST. 1971.
My initial thought was heh, that’s cool. But then, as I stood back, I saw a quaint little coffee shop radically different from the heavily commercialized stores that I generally associate with Starbucks. The Starbucks at Pikes Place looks like any other good local coffee shop, and from what I can tell, it has a local personality. •
• That got me thinking about humble beginnings. This single store, this little coffee shop in front of me, was the launchpad for a cultural revolution. It changed the way the world thinks about coffee. This little store has touched your life. It brought moderately good chain coffee to the masses for the first time and became the modern evolution of the European town square from centuries ago. This quaint little Starbucks store changed the world.
This is how all businesses start, and I think we tend to forget that. All successful businesses start as an idea in the back of an insane entrepreneur’s mind. They start with a single storefront and a single product. All successful businesses start with a single customer. And no matter what — no matter the size it is aiming for nor the type of business it is looking toward — all successful companies start with something simple and quaint (even if it doesn't appear that way), like this first Starbucks store.
It's hard to predict what will end up changing the world.
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