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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 loved Howard Schultz and the way he leads as well as the way he thinks! Great class!

I have been attending to some of the workshop but never thought the Class from Howard would be this good and practical. I am too an entrepreneur and his sharing had change the way of my thinking about my business with more passion and believe. I'm sure to set an action plan after this class. Thank you and I wish Master Class would have more class focusing on Business like this.

This is a class that you would need to listen to over and over again to absorb all the content.

Every bit as informative as I imagined. Really inspiring to a small start-up company like mine.


Syed Shahid I.

Great! Howard's narration of his Chinese experience is quite relevant and insightful

Cédric J.

Leçon 4 : Howard Schultz : Don't Pioneer. Disrupt. Si tu réfléchis au Startups, la majoritée de leur idées n'ont pas de succès. Mais regarde le monde et toutes les opportunités qu'il y a. Qu'elle route je dois prendre. Dois perturber la catégorie ou en créer une autre ? Je ne veux pas être une entreprise pionnère, c'est si dur le comportement des consommateurs. Sa demande du temps et beaucoup de ressources. Et tu dois avoir l'idée irresistible, la forme et la plateforme. Je pense que la route la plus simple, c'est de perturber la catégorie qui existe déjà. J'aime cette idée, quand les entrepreneurs, peut perturber, tu peux innover beaucoup plus que les autres. Il est important de savoir quelle taille de Business, nous voulon avoir. C'est important car il n'y a pas tout les produits, les services ou l'entreprise qui est une opportunité national ou une opportunité global. La grande opportunité c'est d'investir dans des grands magasins. Dans le bien être santé, et la pour la nourriture des animaux de compagnies. Il pense prédire un bon avenir pour ses 2 niches. Par exemple, nourriture sans gluten. Créer un article qui sort vraiment du lot. Comment réduire les risques ? Trouvez des personnes du domaine et discuter avec la personne du succès et des échecs. Qu'est-ce qui va se passer ? Tu dois avoir un GUIDEBOOK, pour savoir qu'est-ce qui à marcher, qu'est-ce qui n'a pas fonctionné, qu'elles ont été les ressources? Concernant une compagnie, qui à la même niche que la tienne. Tu dois vraiment comprendre la mentalité de cette compagnie. Qu'est-ce que tu peux préparer sur cette échéquier ?

Mark G.

To be good at pioneering new ideas and business ventures I think you need experience with a few failures, which Howard has. I agree, far more failures than successes in pioneering. The business environment is changing rapidly and I expect it to accelerate even more with Covid-19 impacting our lives. This lesson is very applicable at this time, but some much more to discuss, before anyone puts time and money on a wild venture. How do you start that with no capital?


Its funny that he brought up business and pets, because this is what we do.


I had always believed that pioneering is a better option when compared to disruption. It's because of two reasons. #1 This generation, people these days want something new and innovative. They are easily bored by the existing products and trends and are always look for something new. So when you find something as fascinating and innovative instead of disrupting the old line to provide the slightest of variation, wouldn't it lead to greater success? #2 Isn't it difficult to beat a company in a line it has been working in for many years? They might have a huge customer base and loyalty and beating all these odds and competing would be close to impossible! I'm not sure my perspective is quite right because I speak with lack of experience but I would love to know others' views on the same.

A fellow student

Great - After the class - I'm not sure how to relate to the "Pet" venture described and the "Shoe" company described - Are they both presented as disruptive? Is one a pioneer and one disruptive? Happy to get some clarity.

Pureum K.

Another good lesson- Disruption is much more efficient- Be the niche :D Also, asking those who succeeded and failed is a great idea. Just google/YouTube and you can find so much about the business. Also, Yelp helps a lot too. Wish they taught these things in school but unfortunately not much. Still we have Master Class :D

A fellow student

I almost fell off my chair when he spoke about the "pet" niche. Back in 1979 my soon to be husband owned an insurance agency and I went to him and his partner one day and told them they should design a pet insurance program as I see how much money people put into their pets and to have an insurance program for them would be beneficial to everyone.....They laughed at me. My now, X-husband, still talks about that day and how he didn't listen to me. I guess my point is if I hadn't listened to them and tried to do it on my own I'd be the one who disrupted the pet industry. In short, my bad for not following through with my own dream.

Ekin Ö.

Sometimes it may be easier to pioneer than to disrupt. Creating a business that does not have any competitors is a significant advantage. Other times, it may be safer to go the way to disrupt.

Tyler S.

Look carefully at 5:06...What would it be like to be a fly on the able while Howard gives key business advice?