The Starbucks Theory
Going slow in the age of fast. Why Starbucks Coffee, Instagram and Steve Jobs all understand the importance of handcrafted quality.
On my desk sits a Starbucks cup – Tall, Half-Caf, No Foam, One Sugar Pack Latte. It’s a mouthful, but here’s the point: when was the last time you got a Latte in less than 20 seconds? Never. And if you did, it was probably a bad tasting cup of coffee.
Here’s the main idea: You want your barista to go slow when they make your coffee. Why? Because it makes you feel like someone spent time on that item. It is a perception of what we think someone else did for us. They put effort into that item. They spent a good amount of time making sure that product had just the right chemistry.
A cup of coffee from Starbucks is a handcrafted experience.
Ask any teenager if they would want to share multi-photo albums on Instagram, and they wouldn’t understand you. The special thing about Instagram is that they focus on one photo at a time. Every single photo is a piece of handcrafted excellence. When you view an Instagram photo, you know the photo is the best photo of many photos. The user chose to upload that specific photo and spent a good amount of time picking a filter and editing it. Just like the Starbucks coffee, an edited photo on Instagram looks like valuable time was spent on it. We are given the feeling that someone else did this for us. They put effort into that photo. Instagram is meant to be slow, not fast, so you can value each photo’s quality.
A photo on Instagram is a handcrafted experience.
Just like Starbucks and Instagram, Jobs understood the value of handcrafted excellence in the age of shortcuts. If you ever buy an Apple product, opening the box is an experience in itself. In some respect, the box is just as engineered as the computer. Every nook of the packaging was handcrafted. It is the perception that someone else put effort into something for us. Unlike other companies, the products come fully charged in the packaging. The materials used are expensive, but it gives you the feeling that the designers and builders didn’t rush the experience.
A Steve Jobs product is a handcrafted experience.
Is fast really better? Going slow may be the key to success, in an age where everyone is obsessed with going fast.
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