Business, Politics & Society

Don't Pioneer. Disrupt.

Howard Schultz

Lesson time 07:57 min

Howard shares his thoughts on a question he gets from entrepreneurs: Should I disrupt an existing category or start a new one?

Howard Schultz
Business Leadership
Former Starbucks CEO shares lessons from nearly 40 years of leading one of the world’s top brands.
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Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz rose from a childhood in public housing to leading a company that revolutionized the way the world drinks coffee. With no formal business education, he relied on his values while growing a 13-store chain into a global brand with more than 250,000 employees. In his 90-minute video series, Howard shares what he’s learned about business leadership and being an entrepreneur.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I have always believed in the Starbucks way to success and the human resource mentality of Howard Schultz. It was an honor to listen to him up close and be reminded of those principles.

This's the best master class I've learnt so far! Thank you for creating chance for us to sit with people like Howard to listen to his iconic story

Great perspective on entrepreneurship and management, especially managing people and organisational culture.

Dear Howard Schultz - Please run for President. I liked how you matched business to your always made sure the business was profitable but then committed it to a giving culture as much as was reasonable. - A Blue Dog Democrat who laments the widening gap between left and right in America


Etienne B.

Maybe a mix of both disrupting and pioneering is a good way to do business. Doing the basics every company in the sector did, as well as avoiding mistakes they did, but implement your own personal idea to change the niche. Thoughts on that?


Great advice and discussion. I worked my way up from poverty through low-end blue collar to a successful business. Always looking to improve. I feel his advice here is boiling down the essence of the fundamental goals of a his organization and making sure to hire folks that understand and agree with those goals; then designing the equity of the company to ensure the folks hired share in the success of the company. It's not ground breaking, but one of those things that organizations can lose sight of in hiring decisions and the implementation of complex processes. Great stuff!

RJane @.

There are a lot of disrupters on Amazon, eBay and Etsy. The problem is we hesitate to buy the product because the company/seller is not familiar to us. We question the quality of its product and presentation of the company/seller. @RJanesRealm

George B.

To everyone in this comment section: I'd love to hear all of your business adventures, and how you learnt from previous endeavours :)

Marty F.

Yes I felt too disrupt is better. Possibly before even deciding on a sector and even product like myself research info info competitors. Although as you mention identifying a high future growth potential sector will possibly tilt the odds slightly more in your favour to succeed. Glad I came to a great place for info. Gather gather information and possibly why you are deciding register your brand trademark in more than one territory with a special consideration for China and the US as the market sector is large.

Dianna Z.

Great ideas! I really like this format for this topic too, like sitting in a cafe with a mentor, just soaking up everything he's saying.

Carol D.

Thanks, Howard! This lesson gave me a few super important insights for a work assignment I have taken up. I would have totally overlooked some of these crucial elements, otherwise.

Bob B.

From my many years in business I can’t over emphasize how important it is too pick the right market, the right people and differentiate your offer based on a clear understanding of what your potential customer values and desires.

A fellow student

This seems great advice, rather than spending so much time, effort, and investment in a 'pioneering' approach, try to do something better than what already exists.

A fellow student

From what I have heard, we probably have political differences, but it's not apparent in his lectures. Very interesting!