Source: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/wondery/business-wars/e/677... (This is the start of the series. The story itself is a few episodes into the series)
But if I was an owner of Starbucks and Bill Gates Sr called the high bidder and scared him off so someone else could buy my business for less, I don’t know if I’d ever forgive that.
It doesn’t strike me as fair or righteous.
It sounds like the Starbucks owners already offered it to Schultz and gave him 90 days to buy it and it was an exclusive offer. Part way through fundraising, an Il Giornale investor caught wind of it and approached Starbucks with a higher bid. I think the fact that Starbucks had offered it to Schultz first and then his own investor tried to undermine him and Il Giornale is sort of rotten and underhanded. I think the fact that Starbucks had offered it to Schultz first and agreed on a price and Il Giornale's own investor tried to undermine the deal is where things get a little shady.
Apologies for telling the story poorly and missing some important details.
His presidential bid was DOA.
Did you even read the story? The founders wanted to make more coffee, Schultz wanted to make more stores. Seattle used to have an amazing coffee culture, and starbucks largely killed that. Schultz rightly gets the lion's share of the blame for that
Starbucks seems to act as if it has a habit of making quarterly plans and mostly executing according to that intent.
But when I look at Consumers as a single entity it seems remarkably undisciplined. It can't seem to hold any plan in mind, coordinate its actions with any moment-to-moment follow-through on, or even _agree_ on a single intended plan. -- Consumers acts like it has no Chief Executive Function!
I'm loathe to admit that starbucks quality has gone up a bit lately, but even today their standard pull is burnt to hell in the name of homogeneity. So yeah, they dealt a huge blow to Seattle's (and many other cities) local cafes, and replaced them with a sanitized lack of culture.
Definitely really good western café’s in Singapore too. Ronin is prob my favourite..... looks like they had to close :(
What about places with a newly-growing coffee culture?
What about places with a coffee culture whose strength is starting to temporarily weaken?
What about places which occasionally undergo change?
For instance, many cities in southern and perhaps central Europe seem to have local cafes that don't do anything "special" with their coffee (what's a Chemex?) besides just existing as a local institution for decades with a consistent experience in quality and pricing, and that's something that I expect is very difficult for Starbucks or any foreign player to break into regardless of the quality or international popularity of the brand.
Sounds more like people were not keen on Trump
If you and I handshake on buying my house, you’re rightfully upset when I sell to someone else for more.
On the other hand, all we had is a handshake, so I’m rightfully upset when you chase off a higher bid.
I guess how shady depends on the agreement that Schultz had. The fact that Sr was able to chase them off suggests the agreement was at least of some
The point of handshake deals is to give everyone time to get the details right, without the pressure of having the deal stolen. Forcing parties to rush through the details damages the whole ecosystem, so everyone is motivated to encourage everyone else to respect handshake deals.
Our attorney (from Fenwick & West) told us the same, that it would damage the VCs reputation and that this was pretty much unheard of for them.
But I never heard another thing about it and that VC firm seems to not be having too much trouble filling out their rounds.
There are some things that are on the fence in terms of materiality. For example, is the valuation pre- or post-money? Is there an option pool set aside?
Lastly, there are some types of agreements that cannot be done just on a handshake — there has to be a written agreement in order to be enforceable. IIRC from my law school days, this includes the sale of real estate and a contract that, by its terms, cannot be completed in a year. The latter excludes things that are known to take more than a year, like building a skyscraper. It would include "pet-sit my dog for 13 months while I'm vacationing", for example.
Breaking a contract is typically not breaking the law.
And there, something is enforced that is not the law but where you are lawfully obliged to a sanction afterwards ?
I don't really understand why you'd say that ? Isn't the law kind of saying "you shall not break contracts" ? And if it's not, what's the point of a contract ?
Regarding "breaking a contract": Contracts often stipulate penalties for non-performance of terms within them. For example, you contract with me to rent my house for 5 years. The contract stipulates that if you leave early, I am entitled to keep the deposit. In common language, people will refer to leaving early as "breaking the contract", but there is nothing illegal about doing so.
Regarding "illegal": If the contract does not specify some penalty for non-performance of a clause, or it does specify one but you somehow avoid the penalty, then it would become a matter for the courts, but importantly, it would be a civil court, not a criminal court. You have not broken a law, you have broken a contract, and the civil courts will determine how this situation will be made right.
At least, that's what I (mis-)remembered from a Contract Law 101 course taken long ago during my undergrad days.
Usually, though, handshake deals mean "these are the commercial terms, let's go draw up the contract", which isn't legally binding. In many places, though, they're respected by convention and protected by reputation.
I am not a lawyer, either. Just an engineer with the minimum legal training required for licensure, which is basically, "know when you should ask for help."
In some cases it can be, but a mere agreement to agree is not binding.
The biggest takehome is 'consult with legal before making promises or representations to counterparties".
Edited this a few times to keep it as short as possible without being misleading.
What’s the importance of bearing that in mind?
What's more likely is that Schulz would simply have started a different chain, and we'd be talking about that company the way we do about Starbucks now.
The focus is not on the other bidder (who may or may not have gone on to make a fortune).
The point is the seller could have gotten more than what Schulz paid for the chain. If this was a corporate m&a situation and a second bidder arose at a higher price, the board has a fiduciary duty to consider that offer.
So he was a billionaire or a soon-to-be billionaire.
(Starbucks also used to be a lot more, well, serious about coffee, selling fresh-roasted coffee in bins in the store rather than bags shipped out from central roasters, as well as selling a small but well-curated selection of brewing equipment that wasn't just Starbucks-branded stuff. Peet's still has some of that vibe, although they're less eclectic now than they were even 15 years ago.)
Moral of the story is to cultivate and understand the value of your Network. It takes a village to compensate for things you cant do by your self.
If you are not a networking type, latch on to/be useful to/connect with a couple networking types. Every hard problem you hit, that your skill and experience cant solve, talk to them about it.
Probably I was triggered by you saying "highly respected lawyer". lol. And, he also ran planned parenthood.
But note that "noble" isn't really the right translation for "plemenit" (despite what Google translate might tell you) -- it's closer in meaning to "selfless" or "generous" (which you could argue are noble attributes, but "noble" has certain connotations in English that "plemenit" doesn't).
But to me it still doesn't sound right. I asked my mom (native Serbian speaker) and she said she's not heard of it as a proverb, and some Googling reveals that native Serbians are confused why foreigners seem to attribute it to us. I also weirdly found a lot of questions on Quora and Yahoo answers asking for people to translate it to Serbian -- which explains why the proverb sounds slightly strange when read in Serbian. My guess is that this is actually some recent English proverb which someone decided to attribute to us (though it is neat that "zemlje" and "zvezda" do have a certain kind of rhyme).
(I also think this supposed saying is quite hokey and dumb. The earth is as much 'made of stars' as we are.)
"Bolje vrabac u ruci, nego golub na grani" means "better to have a sparrow in your hand than a pidgeon in a tree." Far less poetic than the native English bird-holding proverb "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" (which sounds strange when translated to Serbian as well -- "ptica u ruci vredi dve ptice u šumi", despite the fact it happens to rhyme).
Proverbs and sayings have a specific kind of poetry in their native language which doesn't survive translation. It seems much more likely to me that it was simply misattributed.
Gates Jr. would have had some real good karma in his bank to have had a father like Gates Sr.
It's only in later years, upon reflection, we can understand how much we become is the influence of our parents and especially of our father.
I feel really pained to see so many places in the world where children grow up without fathers.
No one in the world can replace the roles played by parents in a kids life.
My sincerest condolences and prayers to Mr. Gates’s family and friends. What a gift to have had such a long life and a good relationship with those he loved.
I can only hope that my children will talk like this about me some day.
I'm glad that Mr Gates got the chance to enjoy and develop his relationship with his dad into adulthood.
I do wish that everyone live long, healthy happy lives, but as a species, longer living human beings will eventually destroy earth, and eventually themselves.
Even if such technology would be available to the entire world, it would still not solve the issue of overpopulation and the pollution associated with it.
Why invest into making a few thousand immortal when you can help billions with much simpler anti-malaria programs?
Feeney, Buffett, and Gates need to be celebrated and revered way more than sports and movie idols IMHO.
I mean, I recall a lot of stories about throwing their weight around that were playing kind of dirty/hardball. But from the vantage point of 2020, with Theranos, Uber, Fyre, Dieselgate, Wirecard, the NSA and so on, I start to think, while they were ruthless competitors, were they particularly evil?
This is much easier to say in retrospect, of course, but it's truth nevertheless: ActiveX was never going to "win" the web because it was fundamentally tied to one CPU architecture. It wasn't close at all, for all the same reasons that MS never made a successful mobile device. Or that Flash failed. Some technologies are just dead ends, even if they seem popular for a while.
We still see the echos of it to this day as PC based gaming is confined to the closed platform of Microsoft DirectX as they managed to squeeze out and nearly kill off OpenGL. To this day no alternative has threatened this monopoly as Linux and OSX gaming has been utterly subdued by Windows and never took a foothold.
There was no "slipup with ActiveX rollout" - it worked fine on a single CPU architecture and did what it was supposed to do. But it was never going to have adequate security to be widely used on the low-trust web, and i86 was never going to take over mobile. It was a technology dead end.
So you'd be fair to talk about how things felt in the 90s, but the current state of the world is not an "accident of history".
There's lots of 3D graphics in the majority of my Steam library that I can play on my MacBook.
I’m a founder of a business. We’re of a reasonable size now and growing. The memory of fighting for every $1 early on really feels like yesterday. I doubt I’ll ever lose that feeling.
I’m not surprised at times when founder-led businesses go too far when they become extreme outliers (like Microsoft or Amazon). Even when I was in my teens and reading about Microsoft, the message was consistent: the fundamental problem was this guy didn’t appreciate he’d won. But now had the extreme resources to fight with the biggest “army” available. He ran Microsoft like he was going to fail and it was a scrappy startup just ripe to be crushed. The numbers get bigger and change, the fundamental drive, personality and (frankly) fear of failing, do not.
As I mentioned, I’m not condoning things, just sharing an observation.
Thankfully open standards like ECMAScript were adopted, but I never saw what MS was doing as being so sinister.
I would also argue that today we're much closer to a "GoogleInternet" than we ever were to a "MSInternet" in the 90s, yet we don't hear near as much uproar about that. (And we definitely should...)
It just strikes me as pretty low on the "evil" scale compared to everything else that's been going on.
Do you remember the kids-for-cash scandal?
Maybe I was too young at the time or not so much involved in Tech to really pay attention, but I think what happens today is worse.
I never saw that as Bill Gates being evil and more a very competitive and ruthless person, which is an important distinction to make.
As a Brit, I think he's just viewed as "the rich computer guy". It's hard to fathom that people think he's involved with political topics.
You have to be satirical right? Microsoft is notorious for lobbying everything to this day. Browser monopolies, OS monopolies, they pretty much invented EEE, made whole cities switch to their OS and the whole xbox platform is very political regarding software, gambling and IP politics.
But I get it. If I were slotting tech companies into eras, they'd be before Facebook/Google, but after the real old school guys like IBM, AT&T, and Xerox.
(Work at M, may be biased :) )
Here's a bbc article: https://www.bbc.com/news/52847648
Maybe hard to fathom, but just have a closer look and you'll see he has a lot of irons in the fire
For people who take a serious look he is a respected philanthropist doing lots of funding of polio research and other related topics.
The average won't know much about him, he is the Windows guy, rich ... that's about it.
I think that one person is much worse at charity than a public organisation dedicated to it would be.
So, these people are (1) simply not being evil or extremely stupid (2) there are much better ways of having charity done. Therefore, I don't see why these people should be revered.
That being said, society should not be at the mercy of the whims of billionaires. Their very existence is a grave error.
I praise people who do good things all the time.
But there's a massive difference between (a) praising someone and (b) having society revere per.
If we should revere anyone, it's certainly not the person whose great achievement was to spend lots more money than the next person.
However, what I think he does deserve some level special recognition for is what he is devoting his philanthropic efforts toward, which is making a tangible difference for the worlds poorest and worst off people. It can be credibly argued that the efforts of the Gates foundations have saved many millions of lives and alleviated a huge amount of suffering.
I also disagree with the argument that a public organization would be more effective. If by "public" you mean government-run then such an organization would almost certainly be focused on helping relatively wealthy (by global standards) middle and working class Americans. It seems unlikely that they would focus their efforts on something like eradicating polio in the developing world.
Public institutions are good and American should have more of a social safety net but I think it's probably a good thing that individual American billionaires are focusing their philanthropy on things that would be politically awkward because the people who benefit directly don't get to vote in US elections.
For all the talk here about how PR and ads don't work and ad spending is a waste of time, it sure seems like it works wonders on the HN crowd.
So for example, there was a PR/press story of Gates "turning his attention to opportunities for innovation in VR", not one of "he's helping his colleague Myhrvold patent troll VR, because the opportunities there are too rich to pass up". Or here, Gates's dad "pushed him to excel", not as an old biography suggested IIRC, "taught him the most important thing was to win, leaving him ethically impaired".
As a rule of thumb, if you hear a self-serving story that lacks nuance, it's likely... incomplete. Maybe someday, hagiography will work less well, and we'll get self-serving stories with nuance, but for now, that doesn't seem the common case.
If someone wanted to put something into your bloodstream they could simply put it in your food, your medicines, your eyedrops or your deodorant or whatever. Or sell you clothes with the stupid microchip in it, all of which is unnecessary since they have your phone.
Even if you turn GPS off, it is possible to locate you by triangulating your phone using cellular network antennas, or via Wifi, since the WiFi networks you can see have an associated location assigned to them by wardriving cars (e.g.: Google Street View cars).
But, people are complicated. I remember reading somewhere that he was a generous donor to a number of schools & STEM programs, that he was a patron of the sciences, and an abhorrent sex offender. They aren't exactly mutually exclusive, but just goes to show how people are complex and multifaceted
I've always found that "libertarian is closer to Republican than Democrat" take from libertarians mildly exasperating. There's a case for it economically, but in terms of social policy Republicans have long been pretty damn supportive of the state restricting individual liberty, whether on a federal level (abortion, LGBT rights, etc.) or a state level (the myriad ways "states' rights" has been used as a cover for blatant discrimination). It's depressing that so many libertarians have decided, when push comes to shove, that higher taxes are worse than calculated bigotry -- and, as you note, increasingly conspiratorial nonsense.
It is unfortunate how unhinged criticisms are used to dismiss what is hiding in plain sight.
>"So Melinda and I wondered if providing new medicines and keeping children alive, would that create more of a population problem?"
GATES: Here we can see a chart that looks at the total world population over the last several hundred years, and at first glance this is a bit scary. We go from less than a billion in 1800, and then 3, 4, 5, 6—and 7.4 billion, where we are today, is happening even faster. So, Melinda and I wondered whether providing new medicines and keeping children alive, would that create more of a population problem?
SCOTT PELLEY: . . . and what the developing world does not need is more children.
MELINDA GATES: And I think that was the biggest “ah-ha” to Bill and me when we got into this work. Because we asked ourselves, of course, the same hard-nosed question you’d ask, which is: “If you get into this work and you start to save these children, will women just keep overpopulating the world?” And thank goodness, the converse is absolutely true.
1: (source) Social media is doing reinforcement learning on their "lab rats". This is true for all the social media platforms. It's not like you read one fake news article, you see them non-stop: your world becomes fake news. Just like how YouTube keeps playing the same type of content. Facebook and Twitter do the same thing. Good for engagement ($), not good for society.
2: (psychology) The way the human belief system works, is to try to find evidence in favor of your own beliefs (not against). Social media reinforces your existing belief system: your political, religious but also conspiracy beliefs. Our ego doesn't like to be wrong, we like to be right (see heated debated about adults discussing religion for example). Humans aren't particular open-minded by nature, this sometimes includes scientists. This is human psychology at work.
3: (state sponsored, large budget) There are large botnets spreading fake news: including deep fakes, bogus scientific articles, using famous figures etc. It's very sophisticated psychological warfare: a day-time job for many. For instance, the son of President Kennedy made a speech about mass surveillance (facts), but in doing so he supported the whole conspiracy scene. But AI botnets spreading fake news is something many governments do. Like all mass media news, it plays on the sub-conscious level (fear), not the logical level. The entire goal of media (news) is to manipulate, not inform. Social media is just better at manipulation.
4: (propaganda effect) Like any propaganda, it's mixed with reality: stories of Epstein, Bill Clinton, Climate Change etc. This makes it more difficult to disprove a story.
4: (the effect) For any system (including the human brain): garbage in, garbage out. Watch this junk to long, and you start to become crazy yourself. Yes, even you yourself can be manipulated by social media + AI botnets. In fact, entire countries are manipulated using social media (cambridge analytica didn't stop it, see: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24474343 ).
5: (why) From Zen Tsu quote "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."
Think about it: Who benefits from "defund the police", "overthrow the government", riots in the street, "bill gates wants to kill the world" etc ?
The technique is called subversion and was designed in the Soviet Union. You can watch the historic presentations by Yuri Bezmenov: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yErKTVdETpw
Subversion didn't stop, it just evolved into the digital sphere. Now combined with AI and reinforcement machines (social networks).
Probably this answer could have been shorter, but I'm to tired to write fewer words.
Once in a while, you find posts that advocate for basic common sense or human decency, and they will be greyed out because they touched a nerve that make Republicans uncomfortable.
It is funny that the people that claim to be against political correctness and are constantly glorifying toughness are also the most sensitive and sometimes even coward (e.g.: downvoting instead of replying).
I am slowly coming to believe established media is the worst culprit of all. If everything I see on the major networks (Times, CNN, etc) that a generation ago provided clear journalism and now simply proclaim that tearing down institutions is the only way forward - where am I to go if I don't buy the propaganda? There is a truth power vacuum at play here because no one is willing to give up their ridiculous partisan hackery.
Just like I have taken the time to read your comment, I have taken the time to read many other comments, thousands of them, and talked to different people of different backgrounds from all over the US.
Like you, I also keep certain level of skepticism towards the press, although I understand that there are still valuable journalists with integrity out there. Freedom of the press is important, and the few ethical journalists devoted to service our society need our support and attention.
Freedom of religion is another freedom enshrined in the constitution, yet, I do not hear Conservatives acknowledging that very often. This administration tried to implement a islamophobic travel ban that affected lawful American citizens and permanent residents. That is unacceptable.
Then, the president is asking people to vote twice, and talking about "negotiating a 3rd term". He has also talked of postponing the election, and there are pictures of USPS mail sorting machines disassembled, with their cables cut, just before the election. Does all of that sound democratic or patriotic to you?
As a person with hispanic relatives, seeing hispanic kids being bullied in schools with "build the wall" chants, and seeing newborns and infants detained under torturous conditions... And after weeks of scandals, they get a visit from the first lady wearing an "I don't really care" jacket. Be a real man and tell me: are you OK with all this? Are you going to blame a newborn or months old infant for their inhuman treatment in American detainment centers?
And there's science. Science does understand the behavior of gases. The physical and chemical processes related to gases are well understood and many experiments with gases can be accurately reproduced and simulated. We have satelites monitoring the atmosphere and scientists analyzing the earth geological record and the seas... We are usually not skeptical of science when we see a steam engine or internal combustion engine at work. But this week, we saw the president saying "I don't think science knows, actually", when being asked to acknowledge climate change, in the context of massive fires in California, Washington and Oregon.
And finally: the catastrophic response to the COVID pandemic... Prior to the pandemic, the pandemic response team was disbanded. Then, the president repeteadly claims that the virus is contained, and that there's nothing to worry about. And then, when the virus cannot be covered up anymore, Trump suggests Americans to ingest bleach, and his supporters oppose CDC guidelines. As a result of all that, now there is a massive GDP contraction, unemployment and yet unknown long-term economic consequences.
So, tl;dr: I don't really think there are a lot of good reasons to vote Republican, or to have restraint and respect in the face of what's going on right now. Enough is enough.
In the other hand, I do not support second trimester abortions with no strong justification behind them.
I'm one of those people whose livelihoods was negatively impacted by all that, and for a long time I really didn't like him. He is doing amazing work now, but it is pretty hard to get past that.
I don't think there's much of an intersection between some pissed off techies who worked in the industry in the late 90s, and the millions of batshit insane people who think that he is part of the Zionist deep state conducting mass sterilization through COVID vaccine microchips.
Think twice about that.
The other's political involvement is, quite frankly, something else entirely.
I'm totally with you there but over the years I've come to make peace with that. My pain and those of my colleagues really pale in comparison to the good he's done for the needy of the world. He's neither the most ruthless business leader the world has seem and certainly not the worse and mean spirited person in computing. Over the years, he has proven himself to be among the most generous. Maybe not having used Windows in a decade and seeing Microsoft having real competition has helped with the "forgiving".
I think that is a typo, but a very telling one.
Does anyone know why?