Original Starbucks


Posted on November 18, 2009 by Blake Leath

Before dinner tonight, I found myself in the very first Starbucks -- the one that started it all. 

Though I'd been once before, I noticed something this time that I failed to notice last time: no chairs.  No seating whatsoever.  It's Starbucks as we know it...but totally stripped down and unplugged.


It got me thinking about this distinction between simplicity and elaborateness (the opposite of simple is elaborateness, not complexity, as we often suppose).

We're all biased, of course, and my bias is this: simple is better.  It just is.  The best car I've ever driven, the best home I've ever lived in, the best clothes I've ever worn, the best friend I ever knew...they were all very straightforward and simple.  And I loved 'em that way.  Preferred them, in fact. 

Just like I loved this Starbucks. 

It lacked all those messy chairs, newspapers strewn on the floor, squatters hogging the best spaces in the place for hours on end with their computer cables running this way and that.

Instead, this tiny 28-year-old joint was full of an eclectic energy, eager buyers, photogs, and folks just happy to get in, get out, and get on their way, steaming cups in hand.

I accept that there are times we wanna flop down in a big cushy chair, but this original Starbucks reminds me that often, we overburden great ideas with unnecessary elaborateness...and lose the essence that made something special in the first place.