Monday, March 24, 2008

"Before I was at Nagasaki, I was a good American boy. I was an Eagle Scout; I was the commander of a sub-chaser in the Normandy Invasion. Anyone who saw Nagasaki would suddenly realize that they'd been kept in the dark by the United States government as to what atomic bombs can do." Poet, publisher, and bookstore proprietor Lawrence Ferlinghetti. After college, he served in the Navy during World War II. He was sent to Nagasaki shortly after the blast. He became an anti-war protester. Ferlinghetti was born today in 1919.

Starbucks wants our ideas about how they can improve.

Here’s mine that I just posted on the above site:

I went to a small liberal arts college in the 60s. To break the image of "in loco parentis" it put up a kiosk where anyone could post any thing. It quickly became a vital part of the campus.

Coffee houses have been the center for such things since the founding of this country, vital places for neighborhood communications. Until Starbucks.

Please, please at least put up a community bulletin board in each store. Or even better, put up a kiosk in front of each store so it is available to the neighborhood 24/7. Strip it of all messages once a week or so, other than that just let it be self-regulated by the community. If you want to know how to best manage it talk with the owner of the Tattered Cover bookstores here in Denver which do a great job with their community bulletin boards.

Do you think Starbucks will listen? Probably not. A few years ago I invited the local Starbucks PR person to be on my radio show (John Wren's Journal. Never heard of it? You are not alone!) to discuss bulletin boards in coffee shops and the Starbuck policy of not allowing them. Starbuck's reaction was to contact my sponsor, with whom I'd made the big mistake of inviting to co-host the show, and he used their concern that the topic not be discussed as an excuse to fire me from my own show!

I'm thinking of putting the show back on the air, but I need to find a sponsor first. Starbucks? I'd certainly consider it if they'd put up community bulletin boards in all their stores. Starbucks's John Wren Hour-- Practical wisdom and applied creativity of, by, and for the grassroots. We could brainstorm, talk with people about their startup experience.

It's unlikely Starbucks will go for it. How about you? Please, no co-hosts.

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