Starbucks as a Center for Innovation

I have been very fortunate in the past months to have attended some amazing tech community gatherings, featuring some very interesting minds of our time, including Elon Musk, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Mark Zuckerberg.

One common theme I noticed from listening to thought leaders is how much innovation and cultivation of ideas occur in the coffee shops and beer pubs of our cities and towns. Coffee and beer seems to play a central role as an elixir in the collective technological R&D of our current online world. As I write this post I am sitting in a Starbucks in Ukiah, CA. Audrey just finished a blog post on Gene Simmons, and is working on another application review. We have been in multiple Starbucks in last couple days from Oregon to San Francisco, and we have commented on the consistency in coffee, wifi and a place to work at Starbucks.

As Audrey and I are scheming and sewing seeds of destruction in Starbucks, so are thousands of other techy folks. I find myself regularly using Starbucks for meeting clients, friends and other collaborators.

Is Starbucks consciously making a move to be at the center of this movement with their embracing of wifi at all locations?

While other coffee shops are beginning to snub us techy folks by limited the time we can hang out on our laptops, and removing their wifi, Starbucks is going the other direction. Starbucks is embracing the tech community.

Ideas need forums to germinate and grow that aren't always online. Starbucks is stepping up as a sort of distributed R&D center for the tech startup community. I predict many great ideas will continue to flourish and come out of Starbucks.