Monday, July 7

Starbucks co-founder talks about early days and why he doesn't talk about Howard Schultz  

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Gordon Bowker Image by Dean Rutz

A lot of things have happened to Starbucks lately, more negative than positive. So I decided to feature a lot on Starbucks for the next two weeks to show more about their history, news, products and more. To start off, I found an interview of Gordon Bowker done by Melissa Allison of the Seattle Times last March 10, 2008. After co-founding of Starbucks, he co-launched Redhook Ale Brewery then bought Peet's Coffee & Tea. Find out if what he has to say about Howard Schultz if it is positive or will it still be a negative. Here is part of the interview:

Q: How did you come up with the name "Starbucks"?

A: It's sort of like writing the Council of Nicaea, choosing which Gospels to include in the New Testament. Some are apocryphal and some are factual.

My recollection is this: We were thinking of all kinds of names and came desperately close to calling it Cargo House, which would have been a terrible, terrible mistake. Terry Heckler [with whom Bowker owned an advertising agency] mentioned in an offhand way that he thought words that begin with "st" were powerful words. I thought about that and I said, yeah, that's right, so I did a list of "st" words.

Somebody somehow came up with an old mining map of the Cascades and Mount Rainier, and there was an old mining town called Starbo. As soon as I saw Starbo, I, of course, jumped to Melville's first mate [named Starbuck] in Moby-Dick. But Moby-Dick didn't have anything to do with Starbucks directly; it was only coincidental that the sound seemed to make sense. A lot of times you'll see references to the coffee-loving first mate of the Pequod. And then somebody said to me, well no, it wasn't that he loved coffee in the book, it was that he loved coffee in the movie. I don't think even Scarecrow Video has a copy of that movie. Moby-Dick has nothing to do with coffee as far as I know. [Read the full Interview]

Thanks to DEAN RUTZ/THE SEATTLE TIMES for the picture and Melissa Allison for the Interview

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