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Episode 34: The Starbucks IPO with Dan Levitan

Episode 34: The Starbucks IPO with Dan Levitan

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 16:28

Ben & David "pour over" the 1992 IPO of the legendary Seattle coffee company with the help of Dan Levitan, who served as lead investment banker on the IPO and who would later co-found the venture capital firm Maveron with Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz.

Topics covered include:

  • The original Starbucks’ founding as a coffee bean roaster, started by three disciples of the legendary coffee roaster Alfred Peet
  • Howard Schultz’s introduction to Starbucks, his joining the team as director of marketing, and inspiration behind his “third place” coffee shop vision
  • Howard’s departure from the original Starbucks, founding of Il Giornale, and subsequent of acquisition the Seattle Starbucks stores
  • Starbucks’ incredible growth following the acquisition and expansion beyond Seattle
  • The state of raising private capital in the 1980’s/90’s, and the decision to go public (link to the S-1)
  • Howard’s ambitious goals for the roadshow and investor participation, and subsequent stock performance after the IPO
  • The narrative and evolution of Starbucks as a technology company, or a consumer company that leverages technology very effectively

The Carve Out:

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Sorry guys, there. Sirens going by my windows here. Guess David's in Europe. Welcome back to episode 34 of Acquired, the show about technology acquisitions and IPOs. I'm Ben Gilbert. I'm David Rosenthal. And we are your hosts. Today we'll be talking about one of the great legends of a historically non-tech company in a technology city, Starbucks. And I'm here with Dan Levitan in Seattle. And we are both sipping our Starbucks. So I've got Alvin Milclate here. Dan, what are you drinking? I'm drinking a tall decaf, Americano. The why bother drink. Seriously, what is the point? No, it's a good evening beverage, but I'll ask you later why the no caffeine right now. Just like the taste of coffee and I don't need non-natural energy. Dan doesn't do drugs. So, listeners, before we dive into the show, a couple of things I want to cover. One, if you're new to the show, we've got a great slack community. So we've got over 500 people discussing mergers, acquisitions, IPOs, tech news, really anything that people want to create rooms for, so you can learn more about that at acquired.fm and join. Hit us up on Twitter at acquired.fm. Our presenting sponsor for this episode is not a sponsor, but another podcast that we love and want to recommend called the founders podcast. We have seen dozens of tweets that say something like my favorite podcast is acquired and founder. So we knew there's a natural fit. We know the host of founders. Well, David Senra, hi, David. Hey, Ben. Hey, David. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. I like how the group is together and then they say it's like the best curriculum for founders and executives. It really is. We use your show for research a lot. I listened to your episode of the story of Akio Marita before we did our Sony episodes this incredible primer. You know, he's actually a good example of why people listen to founders into acquired, because all of his great-sized entrepreneurs and investors, they had deep historical knowledge about the work that came before them. So like the founder of Sony, who did he influence? Steve Jobs talked about him over and over again if you do the research. But I think this is one of the reasons why people love both of our shows and there's such good compliments. It's not acquired. We focus on company histories. You tell the histories of the individual people. You're the people version of acquired and where the company version of founders. Listeners, the other fun thing to note is David will hit a topic from a bunch of different angles. So I just listened to an episode on Edwin Land from a biography that David did. David, it was the third, fourth time you've done Polaroid. I've read five biographies of Edwin Land and I think I've made eight episodes of them. Because in my opinion, the greatest entrepreneur to ever do it, my favorite entrepreneur, personally, is Steve Jobs. And if you go back and listen to like a 20-year-old Steve Jobs, he's talking about Edwin Land's My Hero. So the reason I did that is because I want to find out like I have my heroes. Who are their heroes? And the beauty of this is the people may die, but the ideas never do. And so Edwin Land had passed away way before the apex of Apple. But Steve was still able to use those ideas. And now he's gone and we can use those ideas. And so I think what Akkwari is doing, what a founder is trying to do as well, is find the best ideas in history and push them down to generations. Make sure they're not lost history. I love that. Well, listeners, go check out the founders podcast after this episode. You can search for it in any podcast player. Most of companies that David covers that we have yet to dive into here on acquired. So for more indulgence on companies and founders, go check it out. David, can you introduce us to our guests today? Yeah. So as Ben mentioned, we are covering the Starbucks, the landmark Starbucks IPO today. And we are lucky to be joined by Dan Levitan, who is the managing partner and co-founder, along with the soon to be former and original CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz of the consumer only venture capital firm Maveron. And Dan and Howard started Maveron in 1998. Since then, Dan has invested and served on the boards of many successful companies, including Zoolily, Japanian, Potbelly and Drugstore.com. Dan and Maveron are great early stage VC investors and investors both in PSL, where Ben works, and co-investors with many of the companies I work with at Madridona, and really delightful folks to work with. But today, we're actually going to be talking about Dan's days before Maveron, when he was an investment banker in New York at a firm called Wartime Shrodering Company. And he met a crazy entrepreneur from Seattle, who was a headl of coffee company that was named after a character in Moby Dick. And Dan would go on to serve as that coffee company's lead investment banker on their IPO. And that's the story we're here to tell today. So thank you, Dan, for joining us. Thank you for having me, guys. Yeah, yeah. For acquired listeners out there, we've had founders, we've had M&A professionals, we've had journalists, we've even had some executives at companies recently acquired on the show, but we've never had a chance to analyze an IPO before from the perspective of the investment banker that actually took them public and did the deal. So I'm super excited to have a first here on acquired today. And actually, it's also worth noting that date works out pretty well because right now happens to be the 25th anniversary of Starbucks going public. Actually, June 26th is the 25th anniversary. It is the 25th, the year of the 25th anniversary, but it is also Howard Schultz's last month on the job before he retires. True. He's on to his next plug. So with that, let's dive in. I'm going to quickly relate the origins of Starbucks because I think it's actually something probably definitely many of our listeners, but most people don't know. And then we're going to dive into the IPO with Dan, but the original Starbucks company, not the Starbucks coffee company, but the original Starbucks was founded in Seattle in 1971 by three friends, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel and Gordon Balker, who had met in San Francisco as students at the University of San Francisco. And they had become acquaintances of the legendary Berkeley, California coffee-roasting entrepreneur Alfred Pete. Folks, my no Pete's coffee. And the three friends had become sort of disciples of Alfred's and after college. They moved up to Seattle and they wanted to get into coffee-roasting themselves. So they started a company, decided to name it after Starbucks from Movedick and they set up shop in Seattle. But they were just a roaster. They roasted and they beans and they sold beans. They did not brew coffee. And it becomes a nice, small local business in Seattle. And then we fast forward 10 years to the early 1980s. And David, it's important to know they didn't brew coffee. And that's not just because they were drawing some hard line in the sand like you could see today of like we're not going to be like that, you know, every other street corner that you see that has a coffee shop on it where people are brewing coffee and sitting there and drinking. Many of our listeners are familiar with the idea, but like that didn't exist. That's right. That was a thing that Starbucks would later kind of create. They didn't brew coffee because nobody brewed coffee. That was what you did at home with your folders or your beans that you bought from Starbucks or somewhere similar. So we fast forward 10 years to the early 1980s when a young Howard Schultz who had been a, in a earlier life, a salesman for the Xerox Corporation, sales executive, he was working as the general manager of a Swedish company named Hammer Plast that made coffee machines. And he heard about these guys out in Starbucks, heard they roasted good coffee and he went out to see them. And he was actually really impressed and he was so impressed that he spoke to them and sort of begged joining the company and he got a job. And so he became the director of marketing for Starbucks. And this was in 1982. So Howard is director of marketing working for these three founders and he goes on a buying trip to Milan, Italy. And he notices something different about Milan versus the streets of Seattle or any other American city. And that's that there are these coffee bars everywhere throughout the city and they serve coffee and people go and they meet there and they hang out there and they're not just places to buy beans or buy coffee to take away. It's actually a place where you sit and you talk to people. And so he's really taken by this idea. He comes back to Seattle and he tries to persuade the original Starbucks founders that this is something that they should start doing in Seattle, start doing themselves open up cafes in the city. But the founders, they actually have something else going on at the time and that's that their original mentor Alfred Pete is retiring down in San Francisco and he wants to sell his business to them and to the three founders his disciples. And so they say, you know, Howard, that's nice. If you want to do that, why don't you go do that yourself? We're actually, we're in the midst of buying pizza and we're going to move back to San Francisco and we're going to do that. So it's hilarious to think about like, yeah, you know, we've got Starbucks like today, given where both companies are like, oh, yeah, we've got Starbucks. But like now we're not going to do the whole coffee shop thing. We're going to go do pizza. Yeah. A fate is and truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. So Howard, Howard actually leaves the original Starbucks in 1985 and he starts a new company kind of pursuing his dream of what he saw in Italy of cafe shops that serve coffee and service meeting places in cities and he starts a new company called it Il Giornale and models it after his Italian experience. So he operates this company for a couple years, grows it in Seattle, has a fair amount of success. And then in 1987, two years later, he approaches the Starbucks founders again at this point, you know, they're focused on pizza and still enroasting down in San Francisco. And he offers to buy the Seattle retail locations that are still called Starbucks from them. And he does and they agree to sell it to him for $3.8 million. Sheldt buys these Seattle retail outlets, merges them with Il Giornale and rechrissens the company, the Starbucks coffee company and thus. So David, did he have the $3.8 million liquid to be able to make that purchase? Dan's over here shaking his head. Yes, so this is where I wanted to bring Dan into the story. How did this transaction, the first one, long before the IPO come together? Well, I didn't actually know Howard until 1991 and that's a story that I should tell. But the way the transaction came together is Howard at the time was a 30 something very determined young man. And he went to, I think the number was about 250 people before they said yes to him. And that was for Il Giornale. And then it was easier to raise the money for Starbucks, but no, he was a poor kid from Kenar Super O'Glan. So he went around Seattle and met the angel community, which was obviously very much more focused on kind of traditional businesses than tech businesses at the time. And he scraped together the 3.8. In fact, one of the stories that is largely not told was that there was a group of businessmen in Seattle that had seen Starbucks emerge. I think by that time it had seven stores. And they weren't sure that this young 30 something year old kid was the right guy to buy Starbucks. So there was a movement on the side to see if they could put in quote an experienced person. And they were going to have an alternative bid for Starbucks. And as has happened many times in the last 45 years Howard prevailed and was able to line everybody up and buy the company. And I think Starbucks coffee company started with 11 stores in 1987. Wow. Which is so funny. Speaking as a quote young 30 something myself these days, I feel like now that's old, right? If you're in your 30s, you have gray hair in the tech world. It's the 20 somethings that are the young entrepreneurs right now. Yep. But they were looking for an experienced retail operator, but obviously he proved the world. Obviously he did. So what he's emerged the companies and the growth was pretty incredible. So it was 1987 when the merger happened and the Starbucks coffee company was born. They did 1.2 million in revenue that year. The very next year 1988 they did 10.2 million in revenue. So almost 10 X in one year. But that was because of the combination. Ah, that was because of the combination. Okay. That makes sense. And it's still even then for the next, you know, basically five plus years they practically double revenue every year, which in a bricks and mortar retail business is hard. Yeah. And it looks like 89 they had almost 20 million 90 they had 35 1991 they're up to 57.6. You know, Dan, how did they do that? I mean, what was the driver of the, you know, exponential revenue growth for them? Well Howard was from the very beginning kind of aware that Starbucks really was in two business. One business was operating these retail stores and the other was developing a pipeline of these retail stores. So from very early on, he focused on hiring ahead of the curve and developing a infrastructure to visit and then ultimately build a whole fleet of stores. And you know, when I first saw it, I was really struck by the cauldron of consumer passion that people had around Starbucks and he kind of knew that. And so his whole mindset was, I'm going to build a company that's going to be the development co Starbucks. And was it sort of like a Bezos type mindset of every dollar that comes in, we're going to aggressively reinvest in new store growth or how did he, how did they so quickly open so many new stores? Well, he raised a lot of equity and you know, that was the problem then of retail businesses like that. Then they required a lot of equity. And what's funny now by by current standards, he did raise a lot of equity back in those days, he raised almost over 30 million dollars in equity before going public, which was a lot. But now looking at the tech companies that the Maveron and Modrona and the like fund, you know, that's that's like a, you know, maybe your series A and your series B. Yeah, no, the scale has changed dramatically. I think Starbucks raised about 250 or 300 million in equity and total before it kind of flipped around and the cash flow generation of the existing store base was greater than the incremental amount of cash required to build new stores. And that's including the IPO. That's including the IPO. But no, Howard, I would say it was very, very different than Bezos at the start. One of Howard's key constituency was his employees. And that came from Howard's background with his dad and the fact that his dad didn't have health insurance. And so as a result of that, Howard kind of was fortunate enough to have a business model where he invested in his people and his people nurtured relationships with customers. And so yes, there was a ton of money invested in the new stores, but things like healthcare for they called it Bean Stock. Yeah. Yeah. And this was amazing. Employee in the company, you know, from barista on up, part time baristas on up, not only got health insurance, but also got stock options, got equity in the company. And one free pound of coffee per week still happens today. It is really incredible that they've managed to preserve that at scale. I mean, when they announced things, I think it was two, maybe three years ago, but announcing the program for all partners, Starbucks doesn't refer to the baristas, but every employee is a partner for all partners to be able to attend an online university. And I can't remember quite who they partnered with. ASU. ASU. And opening that up to say, you know what, like for all of our partners, we're here for your continued growth in education. And we're going to continue to reinvest in you. That's one thing that's really nice to say and very possible, not at scale. And it's just incredible at the scale that they're doing it to keep it up. Usually when companies go through traumatic periods where everyone questions, what are the values of the company? ASU. Which Starbucks had, right? I mean, I don't want to jump way ahead too much, but Starbucks hasn't always been the absolute behemoth that we know it today. ASU. I think that is the story of resiliency, tenacity, whether or not it's Apple or Starbucks, these are not straight lines. ASU. Or Amazon, you know, from our episode with Tom talking about Amazon. And, you know, after the IPO and doing the post internet bubble crash, I mean, you could have bought Amazon for the equivalent of like five bucks a share. Incredible. Yeah. David, you want to take us through? Yeah. Dan, I wanted to bring you in here. So, you know, the company's growing incredibly fast leading up to the IPO for any company, tech or otherwise. So you met Howard in 1991. How did you, you know, in New York hear about what was going on out here in Seattle and how did you meet Howard and this relationship start that would lead to so many things over the years? Well, as it turned out, I was working in our Los Angeles office at the time and a partner of mine from New York called up and said, there's this coffee company and we have to go visit it in Seattle. And I said, coffee. You know, what are you talking about? How could that be a fast growth business? Because in those days, folders and Maxwell House and those branded cans of coffee was a declining business. And this guy named Bob Israel said to me, Dan, trust me, let's go to Seattle. And I kept struggling to try and understand how this could be a growth business. When I first heard him talk about it, the only frame of reference I had for coffee retailers was those Greek coffee shops on the corner in Manhattan that served those blue and white cups of coffee. And anyhow, I came up to Seattle and I will never forget the time. It was in August day in 1991 and I took a cab in from C-TAC. And by the way, everyone in the audience might be puzzled as to how could you not check out a company? There was no internet there. So unless you knew people. That literally come to Seattle. Exactly. And unless you knew people in Seattle, it was super hard to experience the visual or what Starbucks was. So you literally had to come to Seattle. At the time, I think they were in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver. But anyhow, I remember getting in the taxi vividly from C-TAC and taking a ride to the hotel and me asking the guy, here, there's a lot of coffee in this town, which coffee shop to you go to and he said, oh, there's a ton of coffee in this town. And probably versus today, there's one-twenty of the number of coffee stores. But he says, there's a lot of options, but I always go to Starbucks and it's the best. And then I check into the hotel and before I go upstairs to my room, I ask the woman behind the counter. I got to get a cup of coffee tomorrow. Where do you recommend it? And she said, oh, there's lots of places, but I always go to Starbucks. And here's the spy. So I woke up the next morning and I always had a principle that I would never not visit the company's stores that I was calling her. So they sent me to the Kiosk in city center that's still there over on 5,000. Just a Kiosk, not the full store experience. It was a Kiosk because there was no store near the hotel. There was so under penetrated versus now. And so I sat there for about 45 minutes and people were lining up for this coffee. And I was like, why is this coffee so great? And I wasn't a coffee drinker at the time. And it was the kind of one of the first times I ever had coffee was that day. And so we headed over to Starbucks. And for an hour and a half, Howard just talked nonstop. And he was talking about the business model. He was talking about his people. He was talking about his customers. And this kind of passion that was completely intoxicating and contagious. But I was an investment banker. And investment bankers have to sell. And if I couldn't talk, I couldn't sell. And I was kind of frustrated because at the end of an hour and a half, literally, he looked at his watch and basically he made it clear to me that it was over. He kind of closed up his notebook and he kind of started walking me to the door, basically. And I had just been kind of overwhelmed by this incredible experience about, there was about passion. But most importantly, for me, it was about a guy who understood that his business was more than his shareholders. He kind of talked about his customers and he talked about his people in an incredibly compelling way. And I was just really struck by that and hadn't really heard that prioritization of people first, customer second, shareholders third from anyone. And so there was a long hallway in the Starbucks, the old Starbucks headquarters, which is down near Airportway South. And he walked me out and in the middle of the hallway, he stopped abruptly turned around. And he said, do you know what the problem with investment bankers are? I mean, while you haven't gotten the word in, right? I could not have gotten the word in. And I said, excuse me. And he said, do you know what the problem with investment bankers are? And I had no idea where he was going with this. And he said, there are no menches in investment banking. And in 1991, mench was not a word in the urban dictionary. It was just in the Yiddish dictionary. It was only in the Yiddish dictionary. And that was not widely circulated in 1991. And so I was like, who is this guy saying this? It was really incredible. But to his credit, he gave me the investment banker, the keys to getting their business. Well, wait. So was he implying that you were one or was he implying like from there, you had to form some relationships so he could get some data on you, like how did that go? Well, so he was implying that he hadn't met one as an investment banker and that I had the opportunity. He wasn't convinced yet, but he was going to give you a shot. He wasn't convinced at all. And I wasn't convinced that I was going to get a shot. But I remember taking a plane back from Seattle back to LA. And in those days, air phone, it was called on the planes was like super expensive. And I spent the whole trip on the air phone talking to all my colleagues saying I had just discovered this incredible company. So what happened fast forward is occasionally came to LA and over time, we just started spending more time together. And in those days, it was harder to get references and he spent a bunch of time with a bunch of different firms and kind of narrowed it down. The whole selection of the investment banker is a whole nother story, but it's not really related to tech, it's related to human psychology. But I was particularly fortunate that our firm, as David said, was part of the IPO, which was an incredibly interesting experience. Basically, the beauty contest went on in the end of March, beginning of April of 92. And the markets were particularly slow. And when you say the beauty contest, what do you mean by that? For a two day period, the company invited six investment banks in to quote, pitch why they should be part of the IPO. And it was always going to be a small IPO. So it was pretty clear that there were going to be two investment banks, maybe three max. And there was a bunch of different vectors off of which they would make their choice. The chemistry with the people, what the industry specialization was of the people, what the track records of the investment bank were, the trading history. They sent us this seven or eight page checklist that we had to submit for the answers in advance. When we got there, they would take you through a tour of the roasting facilities. And we didn't know it, but we were being judged as to who was really interested in the roasting facility versus who was really just there to pitch the idea. So Howard's assistant at the time, a woman named Laura Moitt, Laura took us around the roasting plant. And she was making notes that she then backfed to Howard about this. Wow. These people are jerks. And these people are really interested in what we're doing because they were trying to parse through who had the heart and the passion and the connectivity with the company. And a few months after this, Howard kind of told me that they dinged us because we showed up in a limousine because we had five or six people. And there were no suburban back then. So it showed up in a limo and that was a negative. Everything was being scripted in this beauty contest, which is really interesting. And it was an hour and a half presentation. And it was a committee of Howard, the CFO at the time, Orrin Smith and two directors. And it was those four that were going to make the choices to who to pick between the six possible ones and the two they eventually picked. And the company was quite thoughtful and discerning. A company like Goldman Sachs was interested in pitching, but Goldman kind of said, hey, we'd like you to come to New York and meet all of our senior people, but they can't come to Seattle. So boom, they got dinged because they couldn't bring their senior people. Not no wake love service there. Exactly. Yeah. Well, and this was, it's hard to imagine today, but as we talked about, it started the intro to history and facts. Starbucks today is like it's a verb. It's a noun. It's on every corner in every city in the entire world. But back then, this was small fry as far as Goldman was concerned. I mean, even the IPO, which we'll get into in a sec, prices, prices. The IPO priced on June 26, 1992 at a roughly $225 million market cap, which was more than that it is today. But these were still very, very early days for the company. Oh, 100%. I mean, there might have been 80 stores, but the visibility of companies was a lot less back then. Again, you don't have the internet. You don't have dedicated news sources about business. So it was harder to discover these companies, something like retail.co.com where you can go and see every perspective, every video of every IPO. That didn't exist. So the underwriters on Starbucks, the lead underwriters were our firm and Alex Brown. And unless you had accounts there, it was hard to get a prospectus. And so the access to information wasn't what it is today. And part of the reason why the company went public, frankly, was the visibility of going to a bigger platform. And in fact, in the months following the IPO without getting ahead of ourselves, the comp store growth significantly increased because they realized the successful IPO would equate to curiosity amongst customers. Yeah. Of course, one of the reasons to IPO, not always the greatest reason, but for the visibility hit that you get from it. And along with raising the capital and getting liquidity for your shareholders, you certainly get that buzz for a few weeks or a month around the IPO like we're seeing with Snap now. Dan, what do you think the competitive mode around Starbucks is? What is the defensibility? Why can't any mom and pop shop knock them out of business? I think there are probably two competitive modes that have been around Starbucks since the beginning. The first is Howard. I would say Jeff Bezos is a competitive mode. I would say Steve Jobs is a competitive mode. These companies are willed into existence through ups and downs because of the resilience, the grit, the determination and the ability of these founders. I think that's super important. And then in terms of Starbucks specifically, I frequently talk about the psychological contract that Starbucks has with its employees and how the strength of that psychological contract manifests itself in the psychological contract between the employees and the customers. And so Starbucks is an incredibly retail-facing consumer-facing business with 26,000 points of distribution. Wow. And even if you're doing the mobile order and pay, you show up and physically see the barista. I think that certainly Howard thinks the product is much better, but I think if you talk to 100 people, some might say yes, some might say no. The real differentiation and how they have withstood the competition is because of the commitment of the people which then made Starbucks become in customers' mind something bigger than just buying a cup of coffee. And in the annual meeting this week, they talked a little about using their platform and their scale for good. And I talked a lot about that actually. And that's just been a theme that Howard has used for a long time. Well, this is, just a second, we'll wrap up the history in facts with the IPO itself. And then talk a little bit about Starbucks evolution after that. But I think this is something that's super clear going back and reading the S1, which also was super fun because it came out before the internet. So you have to do some rooting around online to find it. We'll link to it in the show notes. But Howard, and Dan, you mentioned Howard, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, being Modes. I think something that's common to all of them and really comes out reading the S1 is how deeply Howard understood and the company understood customer loyalty, especially it seems obvious. But for thinking back to when they started Starbucks or when Howard started El Gio Nali, the idea that you would go and buy your coffee and drink it either to take away your drink at a store in a city, that was just something nobody'd ever thought of. It was just you made it at home, but creating this place and this experience where people are going to come back again and again, that's what enables the business to work, enables them to invest money in opening the store, invest money in marketing because when you acquire that customer, they're going to be coming back again and again and again for their lifetime. Yeah. And I remember the research at the time of the IPO was that the average engaged Starbucks customer came 18 times a month. Zachary, for me. Yeah. I mean, that compares favorably with like, you know, apps today with like Facebook. Exactly. But I think the other thing I would say is if you know you have 18 opportunities to exceed your customer's expectations or flubbing, everything matters. And so your attention to detail and your earn it every day attitude becomes present. I'd like to go back before we leave the IPO just one anecdote. So in an IPO and it's still remarkably similar today, the management of the company goes around the country and depending upon the size of the IPO, perhaps the world and pitches to investors. And they do it in two formats. One is group breakfasts and launches and the other is one on once. And the one on ones are for the biggest investors, fidelity, serial price, capital research. And so in the Starbucks IPO, there were 61 on one schedules over a two week period. And it was eight or nine days in the United States in a few days in London, Paris and Geneva. That is a lot of meetings in a short period of time. There was a lot of meeting. Sixty one oh one's and so Howard said to me before right as we were starting, he said, how many of the 60 do you think I'm going to get? And I said, what do you mean? And he said, well, of the 60 meetings that we're going to have one oh one, how many do you think we'll convert to orders? And at that time, I had probably done 10 IPOs. And you know, I said 80 or 90% and he said, I'm going to get 60. And I said, Howard, not 60%, 100% get all 60. Exactly. And I said, you know, Howard, there's lots of reasons why people don't invest, including the fact that the IPO is so popular that they might not want to, they might not get enough stock to be meaningful to them. So don't hold yourself accountable to 100% hit ratio. And he said, I'm going to get 100%. And recently, there's only raising $25 million, right? So they raised 40 something million, part of the offering was a secondary. I see. Not a good sale by, no. No. You're not a money, right? Like, they're just not that many shares go around. Definitely true, but everything was smaller back then. So 40 was not a necessarily small IPO in 1992. I see. But as it turns out, he got 59 of the thing. I'm sure it kills him to this day. Well, no, the story gets better. There was a guy named Mickey Strauss. And Mickey Strauss was at a firm called Weisspeck and Greer. Wonderful man, may rest a piece. And Mickey decided not to buy it at Weisspeck and Greer. And then nine months after the IPO, who was the largest shareholder of Starbucks? Weisspeck. And the lesson for your entrepreneurs out there is what goes around can come around. And however, it was so frustrated that Mickey Strauss didn't buy on the IPO, but he then became in the public markets the biggest buyer. So the lesson for the venture capitalist is if you really want to invest in a company, you should turn them down the first time because then the entrepreneur is going to want to get you the second time. So I earn that right in the A round. That's such a great story. So we go around the world and it's finally time to price. And the offering was oversubscribed eight or ten times as I remember. And we had filed at 14 to 16 dollars a share. So during there's like ten times more interest in the IPO than there was room. Correct. Wow. What's normal? Well, and snap and some of these others, it's a lot more. Okay. You know, it's zoolily, I think we had 20 times interest because what ends up happening is if these things get hot, then everyone acts like they really want it, but maybe they don't really want it for the long term. They want it just for the flip. And so it's very hard to gauge real demand versus flipper demand. But what ended up happening at the pricing was the comps went down 30 percent if there were comps between the time we filed and the time that the company priced. And by the way, that was so different than you couldn't file confidentially. So when we filed, everyone saw our filing and it was super bad because if you couldn't complete an IPO, then everyone knew that you had filed and you couldn't get it done. And that was quite a taint. Yeah. But in terms of the pricing, the deals way over subscribed and the capital markets guys recommended that we priced the deal at $16 a share high end of the range. And Howard said no, we have to price it at 17. And the capital markets guys from both firms recommend we priced at 16. And so we had this very awkward phone call where these wise guys who somehow couldn't really tell you why it was 16, but they felt that it was 16. They kept saying it had to be 16 and Howard kept saying it had to be 70. And it was a difficult spot for me because as the investment banker who's in corporate finance and kind of representing the client, I was kind of pulled toward Howard yet the colleagues in my firm were saying 16, 16, 16, how are relentlessly prevailed and we priced the deal at 17. And ultimately the stock traded to 2021 that day and kind of the rest is history. It's gone up 183 times. So you priced at 17, which was roughly a $225 million market cap. And then today Starbucks has a $83 billion market cap. So that's about a 18,000% return since then. So the selling shareholders in the IPO probably should have held onto those shares. Yeah. Like every other early company, they might have had a fiber at 10X at the offering. And so for the apples, the Amazon's, the Starbucks, those turn out to be incredibly bad sales. But you have to have patience and tenacity and you can't be thinking of yourself as a trader. Yeah. And then before we move on from this, what are the implications of pricing at 16 versus 17, both for the company, for the people buying those shares for the investment bank and why was that a contentious issue? Well, the pricing of an IPO is a very complicated thing because you have multiple constituencies. For the company, clearly, they would have gotten more money. They did get more money at 17. And in theory, for the flippers, they wouldn't get less money the higher you price. And so I think from the very beginning, the investment bankers are trying to find what a nice bump is, but not an incredibly overwhelming bump. Because it feels like you've left too much money on the table. Yet if you don't kind of have it be, if it breaks the IPO price, then it becomes a negative story. Right. And it's good. Exactly. And one of the things that I always use to counsel public company CEOs is don't let yourself for your people be judged by whether or not the stock today goes up or down. It's your building a company. And in the long term, they will correlate. But in the short term, they can frequently, widely diverge. Yeah. I want to get into this sort of maybe a one-off section if you guys are willing to experiment here. We introduced on the Snap IPO a new section, Narratives. But one, I think that doesn't make total sense and would be really hard, given how long ago the hard to do the research, given how long ago the Starbucks IPO happened, the narrative section that we're going to do going forward is what the company's narrative is that they're trying to tell during the IPO process and what the narrative is in the press and the market around it. But what I think is really interesting, especially for listeners of this show, is that there has been a narrative that's emerged over the last 10 to 15 years around Starbucks. And it's a coffee company. It's a retail company. It's a real estate company, but it's also a technology company. And I think that's, especially for you, Dan, being a technology venture capitalist and a consumer-only technology venture capitalist and founding Maveron with Howard, how has Howard's thinking and the company's thinking evolved from those days when it was, you know, it was, there was no internet. You could only find out about Starbucks if you saw them on the street corner to the days today when, you know, you can request your usual mobile order, you know, on your phone or from Alexa and then pick it up in the building of your lobby or have it delivered to you. Yeah, it's changed a lot. In 1998, when we started Maveron, the whole thought was, holy cow, technology is integrating into consumers' lives in unprecedented ways. So how will it change the business models of these companies? And I think in 1998, a company like Starbucks or even in 2008, most companies that were in the retail business thought of themselves as using IT as a way to manage their business, but not really as a way to attract customers. And I would say in the last 10 years with the advent of the web and the power of social media, you saw the eye-opening opportunity that social media can drive traffic into stores. And say that was the first aha that a lot of companies had. And Starbucks maybe was a little more advanced because with Maveron and Howard was on the board of eBay. So I think it came from that regular retail world, but he was exposed to consciously exposed to technology, perhaps before other traditional retail companies. And I think now I find it somewhat humorous that people refer to Starbucks as a technology company. I would say it's an incredibly powerful consumer company that's utilizing technology to integrate into customers' lives. But I think it's interesting though, you're right, it is a consumer company. But you mentioned JC Penney, you mentioned Sears, these were its peers for a long time that haven't evolved. Obviously, being co-founding Maveron with you, being on the eBay board, Howard was for a while on the square board. I guess the question is, what along the way do you think were some of those key moments when Starbucks built that capability and that part of that transformation into being a technology company when some of its peers didn't? Well, there was a guy named Chris Brasow who was the first social media person at Starbucks. And he's now in marketing at EA, but anyhow Chris was kind of before his time at Starbucks. And just kept pounding on the opportunity that social media had to be an awareness vehicle and a traffic driver. He didn't have much budget, but he kind of relentlessly kept on it. And I think Howard started seeing that through social media, they could literally send people into the stores. And if you think about retail, one of the key metrics that every investor looks at is same-store sales. And in fact, I was privileged enough to know a guy named Jerry Gallagher, Mayor Reston P. Sue, was the inventor of same-store sales. And I asked him to join the pop-belly board with me, which he did. But anyhow, the concept of same-store sales was, I think, became a valuation driver for these retail companies. So at the beginning, the first aha was if technology and social media could drive traffic and incremental traffic into the stores, then that was worth investing in. But as recently as five years ago, many traditional food and other retailers really had a hard time investing in technology because they couldn't really see the return. They felt it was cool to be on social media, but they didn't want to spend the money. Yeah, I think that's a good tech-trying to extrapolate here is the shift from technology as a cost center in the IT spend to a revenue driver and a core part of the product organization and the driver of part of the innovation of the company. And I mean, we look at some of the things that have happened with Starbucks. They've had a lot of experiments with other technology company partnerships and bringing things in that weren't huge. I mean, there was like that 2012 square deal. They had that early partnership in the mid-2000s with Apple and iTunes and co-advertising there. And then they still have, I think, the song of the week and the app of the week with the free download card in the stores. And the thing that ended up really working in my mind is they have incredible loyalty due to their app or manifested in their app. They were one of the first to pioneer putting those gift cards in the app. And now I don't think I've actually used cash or a credit card at a Starbucks to buy anything other than reloading my card so I can get my stars. Like they've always been pioneers in loyalty and then using technology as a lever to strengthen the loyalty program. I think, in my mind, at least, that's the thing that they've really exemplified the best in using technology to have any retailer on Earth. Yeah, it's funny that you say that because 12 years ago, Madron and us invested in a company that had order ahead. What company was that? And it went flop. I've forgotten the name of it. I kind of plot out there. But we literally lost $10 million investing in a business that had order off your cell phone. But at the time, we had a test going with 5 or 6 Starbucks and they didn't think it was relevant. But the complication of understanding this stuff is they didn't think it was relevant partly because the smartphone proliferation wasn't as wide as it is now, obviously. And the feature set wasn't as compelling as it was. So I think the stored value component coupled with the order ahead became kind of a compelling feature set. And now I would argue that the suite of products that Starbucks has in mobile order and pay is being clamored for by all sorts of other restaurant and retail companies. What I think it's, I feel like we're, maybe we can mark the official transition and detect the aims of the show at this point. We're sort of in it. But something that we've talked about a lot on the show and I'm just such a huge believer in technology is it has to be in service of a superior customer experience. And just doing technology, just doing tech or just doing mobile ordering for the technology aspects isn't going to work. And this is what I think Starbucks has executed so well on in the last few years is doing order ahead in the app with my stored value. Like it makes the experience better because I get my coffee faster. But I still interact with the people there and my name is still written on the coffee and it's wonderful. It's just, I don't have to wait in line. And so it's better as opposed to forcing you to jump through technology hoops just for the sake of jumping through technology hoops. Yeah. And where I've had the most luck working with technology companies is companies that have a great compelling product but can put themselves in the shoes of the retailer or the consumer company and try to understand what that customer experience is as opposed to just kind of selling it based upon where we've had. Heads and speeds, yeah. Exactly. Where we've had no luck is where tech companies think that well, these retailers just don't get it. They don't understand the big idea. And it's that alchemy of building cutting edge technology that thing can be adopted, relevant and embraced by these companies who are responsible for nurturing the relationships with their customers. Great point. Well, before we go whole hog into a and detect themes here, it's worth stopping for a moment in our what would have happened otherwise section. And we've talked about in at least the before the second area in that initial IPO, they raised $25 million, did Starbucks ever consider doing that on the private markets like we see a lot of today? I mean, obviously they needed a capital infusion to continue opening the stores at the rate that they were doing that. But I guess the two possibilities are what if they grew more slowly would Starbucks be the way it is today and then two, could they have raised that money in a different way? What if they had grown more slowly? They probably wouldn't have the domination that they have unlike a Amazon Starbucks kind of one market by market. And so it was super important for them in their mind to get to markets quickly and eventually build the resources where they could go into a market and kind of own it. And they did that in a number of different ways. I remember when I was privileged enough to work with Starbucks and buying a company called the Coffee Connection in Boston. It was a venture fund company by a guy named George Howell and I was funded by a bunch of VCs and we basically told him, you know, we're coming to Boston. Were you going to either steamroll you down or you could sell us? Sell to us and they did. And same thing in London where Scott Svensson from Mod Pizza sold what he called the Seattle Coffee Company to Starbucks which served as the footprint for Starbucks in those stores. So it's in Howard's DNA that grows, grows, grows. And I think part of that is to give back to the partners and create opportunities. So I don't think in the early days there was much of a chance that, you know, he was going to slow down. But you would ask that as a two-part question, I'm sorry, I lost this. Part being raised in the private markets. Oh yeah. I don't think many of your listeners can comprehend the vastness of what's happened and the changes in the capital markets over the past 25 years. There were no, there was no, not even late stage quote unquote, but there were especially no, there probably weren't even very many hedge funds period but there certainly weren't any of them that were investing in private companies. Right. There were a few crossover funds but the amount of capital doing that was small. And so Starbucks did a $20 million raise in December of 91 and that was a big raise. And they used DLJ as an agent for it. So the fact that you have $180 multi-billion dollar or more private companies today, that's probably 178 more than there were in 1992. So they didn't have access to the capital that private companies have today period full stuff. Well that's a great lead into going hard in tech themes here. It's shocking to think of the lack of information and the significantly fewer options available to anyone, to companies, to investment bankers, to venture capitalists in those days. And we see very different companies and very different market dynamics falling out because of well the internet. Which is related to one. I had some fun thinking about this and you guys and listeners might think I'm just going off into crazy town here but I'm curious what you think. I think it's so cool that in the coffee industry there's this concept of waves, right? Everybody talks about third wave coffee and for listeners that aren't steeped, quote, unquote in coffee culture. The first wave of coffee was the Folgers and the Maxwell House that we talked about. In the beginning of the show, making your coffee at home, perhaps on like many of our listeners and old and the perhaps dating myself a little bit and I remember growing up, my parents having the TV on in the morning and hearing the, you know, the jingles, like the best part of waking up, you know, as Folgers in your cup and the good to the last drop Maxwell House. It was never true. It was never true. But then Starbucks really was like the, that was the second wave and that was the first time that this sort of orthogonal business model had emerged in coffee which was this idea of, you know, coffee as an experience, not just as a beverage. And Starbucks obviously rode that huge wave into becoming orders of magnitude bigger than Folgers and Maxwell House ever were. You know, and then today you have the third wave coffee which is the sort of disaggregated, you know, the artisanal, brew, small batch, you know, roasting and brewing local coffee shops. But I think there's this great analogy between all of that to the tech industry and that the first wave being, you know, like, to the tech industry in the internet, the first wave being AOL, right? Like everybody remembers the jingle and like it wasn't nearly as good as it was supposed to be. And the second wave being, you know, the truly compelling version of AOL being Facebook and social, and we talked about social media earlier and I think of, you know, Starbucks being the social place, Facebook being the social place, the insight being that once you bring human interaction into a, you know, a market, you can completely transform it. And then you have the third wave today of the further disaggregation of everything happening on Facebook that of course Facebook is a big part of with the messengers and WhatsApp and Snapchat and Instagram, I'm taking the photos, but basically, you know, creating through tech, through data, but also through humans, you know, matching the best of each individual element for you, personalizing it to what you're doing. So would you summarize that as first wave being one size fits all, but bad. Yep. Second wave being one size fits all, but good with your friends, with your friends. Yeah. And then the third wave being, you know, not one size fits all truly this broken up small group, small batch, highly targeted, highly personalized experiences. That would be a summary of my coffee drug-induced fever dream. Well, I guess where I would go is we've been spending a lot of time at Maveron thinking about voice and how voice facilitates impulse. And I think if you kind of step back, kind of version one was Amazon in 95, 96 where you had to intentionally go and it was hard. And in many ways, the digital ordering experience has gotten better on it's become more mobile, but mobile is only one step toward impulse. And we were fortunate enough to be involved from the very beginning, it's Zoolily, which was another kind of impulse experience somewhat of an intersection between QVC and traditionally commerce. The Internet, yep. I think voice is the next frontier. Part of that is our obviously artificial intelligence, but at the Starbucks annual meeting this week, they previewed you get into your Ford car and you order your latte from there and you pick it up on the way to where it's awesome. And so I think you're going to see voice on ramps adopted within e-commerce situations that are going to change the way and how we buy. And seems like such an exciting time to do that, but you have to do it in a way that reinforces kind of the brand and the buying experience. Yeah, and I think that's super insightful. I think that's totally right. And I think that I have the Starbucks app on my phone, I pull it out when I get to the register. I often don't think it's worth it to pull my phone out when my hands are cold in the Seattle weather and like punch in the order. But if there were, and I know this is a problem on Apple side, not Starbucks side, but if I could pull out Siri and say, you know, three minutes, all in Milk Latte, Starbucks third in Madison. And it was just there. I think that's the, that's when you break out of that uncanny valley and it actually slots right into your life in a convenient way. Yeah, and I think it comes back to what we were talking about a minute ago of, you know, everything has to be in service of creating a superior customer experience. And part of a superior customer experience is not taking your phone out when, in your hand and pushing the button when it's gold out. Yep, yep. All right, onto grading the IPO. So the way that we do this and Dan Smiley and guests can participate or not, but would love to get your commentary is as we started with acquisitions, we would grade based on was that a good idea for the acquirer to acquire the acquirer, like did that was that a gigantic money pit for them or did they actually manage to turn that into a one plus one equals three. And then as we shifted over to IPO is the way that we think about it is, what did that event enable that company to do both on all three of the pillars that I mentioned earlier of notoriety and brand for the company giving liquidity to those early investors and primarily what did they do with that capital infusion. And I think before, before diving into it, it's worth recapping a little bit that, you know, Dan, you made that great point that the DNA of the company and of Howard was growth and they needed to open more stores. They needed to go into more markets. And the question that's been kind of like hanging the back of my head is, were they in a highly competitive landscape like did they need to rush into markets and beat out competitors because there were other sort of copy cats coming in and starting these coffee chains that were getting brand loyal or could they have afforded to buy their time a little bit more and just reinvest their profits. Starbucks IPO even back then when you had a successful IPO in a particular sector, it drew a lot of copycatters. So they went public in June of 92 by the fall of 92. There was a couple of companies that were rolling up different existing coffee chains. Gloria Jeans and I forget the other ones, but many of them have gone by the wayside, but they were trying to put mass together. And what they didn't realize is that, you know, they really weren't focused on execution. They were focused on creating something that was IPOable, but not exceeding customers' expectations every day. But I would think that part of the reason Starbucks is where it is today is that Howard was impatient and always wanted to grow. And as a result of that, he got to markets quicker than he might otherwise. And he, you know, you talked about pizza. I haven't seen the numbers for Starbucks San Francisco, but I would say that whether or not it's blue bottle or pizza or... Or fills. Excuse me? Or fills. Or fills. The fact that they didn't have the dominant position the way they have it in Seattle or LA, enabled these smaller competitors to pop up. So, you know, I remember making my first investment in Starbucks was in that December 1991 round. And you saw this cauldron of consumer passion in a market by market basis and you really asked yourself, is the East Coast any different? Is it not any different? And if you came to the conclusion, no, well then it's okay. So how would we go? Go, go, go. Yeah, it's interesting. As you were talking there, I was... At first, because you mentioned, you know, when a company would IPO back in those days, you know, would attract coffee cats and it reminded me of something Brad Stone said on our episode about the Uber and DD merger that there are folks in China, especially, but all over the world that are just reading tech crunch and as companies get, you know, raise their first round of venture funding, they're copying themselves. So, funny how the acceleration has happened. But yeah, it also made me, you know, I think one of the dominant themes of the IPO and lessons from it and from Starbucks and Howard is that focus, like you just said, Dan, on, you know, exceeding your customers' expectations at every opportunity, you know, and I just look at companies today that are doing that well versus ones who aren't. And again, you know, thinking back to the Uber DD episode and all the, even since that episode, all the challenges that have come out about that company and, you know, not to pile on, the Uber has done many, many amazing things. But, man, it just really come out in the culture that, like, the culture there is not about delighting your customer and exceeding their expectations. And I just think about the competitive bloodbath that we saw in that episode in China and that is playing out all over the world and how Starbucks was able to avoid that, even as the copycats popped up by A growing fast, but also B, just keeping that core mission of, of always exceeding the customer's expectations. Yeah, well, I think, you know, it starts by just a fundamental belief that at these 26,000 points of distribution, everything matters. And you've got to provide training and you've got to invest in your people such that they feel good about themselves and therefore they feel good about the brand. I mean, they're the brand ambassadors and in many ways, I would argue that Starbucks is one of the most difficult, daily execution. You know, they have 90 million customers coming through their stores every week, 90 million – Wow. – every week, wow. And so, and they're so visible that every opportunity to screw it up is an opportunity for social media to amplify that message. And I kind of frequently talk to our Mabron companies about relatively speaking how easy their task is to exceed customer expectations. Because if you're – you have your own distribution, then you just really need to customer service infrastructure that gets what you're trying to do and what the brand says and speaks for. And it's just much easier. And I think that's one of the masteries of Starbucks, but I look at Apple as an example and I look at the Apple stores. And I don't know how you guys feel, but, you know, I knew 15 years ago that Apple was onto something when my 70-year-old mother-in-law at the time told me how she's making reservations at the Apple store and, you know, she just loves it and she's learning. So I think, you know, it's not a surprise to see Amazon first with the bookstore and then eventually go. Because again, let's take it full circle. Technology for itself is not the issue. Technology for serving customer needs to me becomes incredibly powerful and sticky and indirect. Well said. Completely agreed. So I will stop dancing around it and say that, yes, very, very much well said. Obviously I'm biased. I'm sitting in the room here with Dan, but we've gone over this full analysis and I'm going to give this an A. You know, I think for the branding event reason that enabled them to go into markets and really like that worked, right? Like when they spread to these new markets, they were suddenly national news and people understood this, it wasn't this little coffee chain in Seattle on the West Coast. It was an IPO that people knew about and they had a pedigree and they could move to these new markets with that. And then also, then I'm splitting what they did with the capital into idea and execution. The idea of what to do with it to continue this frenzy of opening new stores the right way in new markets and moving in was both the right thing to do with that capital and really well executed. I mean, when you look at that, well, you hear your stories, Dan, of 59 out of 60 said, yes, and pricing it at 17, not 16 and still getting that little pop, not a ridiculous one, but a good one. I was just pulling up the history of the stock price. There was no, I'm just looking at these first few years because I think that's relevant part. There was no like, oh crap moment. I mean, there was no, the bottom didn't seem to have fallen out. Fallen out. It was like, it went to the public markets with a true to the company value and continued to grow from there as the company's value grew. That's definitely executed by the investment bankers. I agree 100% on the IPO analysis. I would say that, but when you say there was no, oh crap moment, there's plenty of times in the history of all these businesses where there are, oh crap moment. And I think that's another thing that we try to help entrepreneurs with, which is there's plenty of dark days in every business. I've spent too much time with Howard where people say, how did you know when you were successful? He kind of is taking a back a little, and he kind of says, what are you talking about? I have to earn it every day. We have to earn it every day. I think there's a life of process, right? It's not a destination. It's a journey. I think these businesses are tested and different, I can give you a bunch of examples where Starbucks was truly tested. He's sitting on the top of the hill now, and everyone kind of thinks, it's been... Dave made it. Yeah. So, but in terms of the IPO, I agree with you are assessing it. Hey, and I think... Look, I'm in A2 here, and not just because we're talking to Dan. As an aside I do think, we gave the Facebook IPO as a very challenging one and we gave that well we gave it two grades one of which was an A one of which was a was I think a C where we both but anyway we need to do a bad IPO one of these days soon. It's hard to argue with an 18,000% appreciation since the Starbucks IPO but for me the two things like taking away from this conversation and you know Dan all you know your stories and your insights that are I thought about a lot but it's the combination of the two I think are so powerful and expressed so beautifully within Starbucks and within Howard it's that Starbucks and Howard had this these two equal drives within them and that one was was for growth and the other one was for for exceeding customers expectations you know every single time and I think it's the the marriage of those two things that make for the most powerful consumer companies out there I mean I think about you know and ones that I work with you know one that you know Dan we work with together you know with with your colleague David in booster early stage company that Madron and Maveron are investors in together and that's what you know Frank and Diego and Tyler and the team and John and everybody there you know that's what they do every day they they are hyper focused on growth and they are hyper focused on exceeding customer expectations every day and and if you can nail that and sustain that like that's how magical companies are created and that's in the DNA of the CEO or isn't and I remember the early days and my relationships with Starbucks and as a scrappy investment banker one of the many things that I tried to do was always give store experiences and I was hated within Starbucks because my phone calls at the beginning and then my emails were rooted through the ops department and you know like you know in Westport Connecticut at 9 p p.m. or 9 a.m. there was a problem and people would go crazy because I would tell Howard and then Howard would tell oh man the head of ops and then the head of ops would tell the regional person and the district person and the store manager would eventually get it and people would oh you're Dan you know we've heard about you we've heard about your feedback and they would say thank you but and and and then I contrasted to what happened on Sunday morning and here's the company as you said 80 billion dollar plus I was waiting on Sunday morning for my coffee at the Starbucks Madison Park and I was stuck behind two large mobile orders physically and and so I was waiting for a super long time and I shot Kevin and Kevin is the incoming CEO of Starbucks Kevin Johnson and I said you know and I kind of framed the problem off and the frustration and I thought that was the end of it I go to the Starbucks annual meeting and the head of US stores the head of Adam Brockman the digital person and one other person all said to me we saw your email from Kevin thanks for the insight and it's that one customer one cup at a time and that's in the Starbucks vision statement or their mission statement you know kind of they're they're gonna I wish I had it memorized but they're gonna seed customers expectations one cup one store one neighborhood at a time yeah and so there's this incredible balance between detailed execution and yet having a big vision that their employees first and then their customers can it break yep and after the after the show I want you to shoot me Kevin's email and then I'll be able to tell her listeners will appreciate that too yeah that's a great story great story to wrap on to remove on the car belts yeah let's do it so mine is a lot of the time we'll go wax philosophically about some cool burning man video that we saw or some completely unrelated book that we read mine mine mine is something that I think every single acquired listener will enjoy and that is an email newsletter called pro rata by Dan primac on the new company from the new company axios so Dan wrote the term sheet for a long time at fortune and moved on to help start this company pro rato which is you know this this third wave of email newsletters and there's some really great content that comes out there's also a website but I mean the the newsletters are where it's at and they're the pro rata in particular is great because you get some really good insight insight by Dan who's a true journalist not not to not to knock too hard on a lot of like tech bloggers but like he's a he has the journalistic integrity you would expect out of up you know a Pulitzer prize winning you know someone chasing the story from 50 years ago and I think really a pleasure to read that and then the cool thing is you get a list of all the companies that that have gotten funded today in VC and PE companies have gone public and it really helps me if someone that that works to create really stage companies you know identify Trenton so it's it's pretty interesting to see what what's going on in the world of of new company creation yeah really good dance work is isn't has been excellent for a long time my car about probably also will appeal to I was going to say all acquired listeners but but perhaps not quite all at least those of a certain generation is a super fun podcast and also fun thinking back to the time of the Starbucks IPO that I discovered recently called the wizard and the bruiser which is a is a nostalgic take definitely not safe for work by the way so not like this podcast looking at geek culture from the 80s and it just takes me back to my childhood like you know the legend of Zelda Sonic the hedgehog you know all the cartoon TV shows super super fun stuff and these guys are hilarious so highly recommend this is my first car about and I was trying to decide whether or not I should be self-engrandizing for one of the Maveron companies that I love or not and I've decided to stay away from the Maveron companies they are a great we can be self-engrandizing or we can be aggrandizing for you so many of the companies they funded deliver the same kind of growth and superior customer experiences that we've talked about on this show so well thank you David I hope they deliver the same kind of growth that's your job as a board member exactly well it's a management's job but anyhow I'm gonna I'm gonna do something that I wish when I was in my 20s and 30s someone had said to me because when you're in your 20s and 30s the table is not set yet you're still trying to figure out what your table is and how to set it and there's actually a poem that was written in 1932 by a man named Peter Wimbrill and the name of the poem is called the man in the glass and I will quickly read the poem because in my mind it says it all when you get what you want in your struggle for self and the world makes you king for a day just go to the mirror and look at yourself and see what that man has to say for it isn't your father or mother or wife whose judgment upon you must pass the fellow whose verdict counts most in your life is the one staring back from this glass he's the fellow to please never mind all the rest for he's with you clear to the end and you've passed your most difficult dangerous test if the man in the glass is your friend you may fool the whole world down the pathway of years and get pads on the back as you pass but your final reward will be heartache and tears if you've cheated the man in the glass that's great and Dan uh sexist man you know it's 90 years ago so it's really relevant for people not yes males yeah and I can say for for listeners um one of the first times I've I met Dan we were heading a little email exchange afterwards and he he sent me that that same poem so I know it's near and dear to your heart and great message thank you for having me guys it's exciting your format and what you're trying to do and help educate people and thank you for having me be a part course listeners if you like the show um or frankly if you didn't actually if you didn't we'd love some private feedback acquired at jmail dot com if you did my god do we love five star reviews they help us grow the show they help us get more listeners um they help us have more guests on and uh quite honestly what it helps us do is is bring on sponsors and uh and then like any good growth engine pour it back into the show and uh and figure out how to improve the quality and uh and make a better product so help us do that uh please review us on iTunes share with your friends and we will uh see you next time see you next time