오늘 아침 편의점에서 사온 스타벅스 프라푸치노를 먹다가 병을 보니 “본 제품은 스타벅스의 커피와 동서식품의 기술로 제조하였습니다.”라고 적혀있었다. ‘그럼 원두만 스타벅스 원두를 쓰고 나머지는 동서식품에서 다 알아서 한 건가?’ 궁금해서 인터넷을 찾아봤는데, 뭐 거창한 건 아니지만 재미있는 커피 마켓의 흐름을 볼 수 있어서 정리.
1. 2005년: 스타벅스가 동서식품과 제휴를 맺고 한국 편의점에서 액상 커피 판매 시작 [link]
2. 2011년: 스타벅스가 스스로 인스터트 커피 VIA를 판매하기 시작, 동서식품도 서둘러 고급형 인스터트 커피 카누를 출시 [link]
3. 2011년 말: 스타벅스와 동서식품의 인스턴트 커피 경쟁에 남양유업이 어부지리를 얻음 [link]
마지막에 남양유업이 과연 어부지리를 얻은 건지, 단순히 제품이 좋아 판매량이 급상승한 것인지는 명확하진 않은 듯.
Turning a culture around is very difficult to do because it’s based on a series of many, many decisions, and the organization is framed by those decisions. Here’s one example: In the late-’80s, before we went public in ’92, Starbucks gave comprehensive health insurance to part-time workers and equity in the form of stock options to part-time people. That created an unbelievable connection, and we still do it. … I also think that I was insecure about being a poor kid, but with that came a sense of values and sensitivity about those people who didn’t get respect and had low self-esteem because of that. So in the early days of Starbucks, my office was in the roasting plant. And I ended every day by walking the plant floor and thanking people who were the unsung heroes of the company. For many people, that demonstrated that I wasn’t sitting in some ivory tower. I was one of them. And I think the leadership style I have is that I’ve never put myself above anyone else, and I’ve never asked more of anyone than I was willing to do myself.
(How do you hire?) I want big thinkers. I want people who are going to be entrepreneurial. I want people who are going to have important things to say and the courage to say them. I want people to challenge the status quo, but I also say something to everyone I hire, and that is: “You don’t have to come in here and try to hit a home run, and let me tell you why. You’re coming in here because I and many others believe very strongly in who you are and what you can bring to the company. So you don’t have to come in here and prove something right away.” People who succeed at Starbucks are going to demonstrate a healthy level of respect and understanding of the culture of the company and the people who have come before them. There have been great people who have come into the company who haven’t succeeded because they have not embraced the culture and values of the company, so you need to do that.
I think one of my strengths is that I have a very good antenna about people. I’ll ask a few things that are probably different from a traditional interview. First off, I want to know what you’re reading and then I’ll ask you why. Tell me what work-life balance means to you. I would want to know specifically their level of understanding about our company and Starbucks culture, and I’ll see early on who’s faking it and who’s not. I obviously want people who enjoy coffee. I think it would be very difficult for me to hire somebody who doesn’t drink coffee. I want happy people. I want people who enjoy other people. And we’ll talk about what it’s going to take to win and I’ll ask people to describe that for me.
I think it’s so difficult to succeed today in business. The ability for the team to function together, to support one another, to trust one another, to have cohesion and to also have creative tension, is just mission-critical. If you came in to our weekly Monday-afternoon meeting, you would think, “Man, this company’s in trouble.” Because we are incredibly self-critical, and that’s an attribute I have because I know there are always areas of improvement. But we also have to find opportunities to celebrate success, and I want to find opportunities for the people in the company to find those moments where people are doing things really well and recognize them and support them and celebrate them, especially in this kind of environment.
If you don’t love what you’re doing with unbridled passion and enthusiasm, you’re not going to succeed when you hit obstacles. I want to see emotion. We are in an emotional business, and I need people around me who understand that we are an emotional business and have a visceral affection for it.
I would say one of the underlying strengths of a great leader and a great C.E.O. — not all the time but when appropriate — is to demonstrate vulnerability, because that will bring people closer to you and show people the human side of you. Now, in order to demonstrate vulnerability, you have to make sure you have people around you who will never use that against you, because you trust them and they trust you. So the ability, behind closed doors, to have open and honest conversations with your team about the concerns you have, the fears you have, and the opportunities, is the balance that someone needs to succeed.
Today, Joonhee and I discussed the neural network and the topic model at Starbucks. By the way, I highly recommend Starbucks’ new menu Green Tea Affogato Frappuccino, which is now available only in Korea.
Here the topic model indicates generative probabilistic models like LDA. The class of these models is called the “topic” model because this approach was first studied and employed mainly in document topic analyses, but now this approach is widely used in various domains and the models still seem to be called topic models by tradition. For the neural network, actually I’m not very knowledgable. What I learned in the machine learning class is all that I know. Anyhow, my opinion is this.
The topic model has several advantages over the neural network. When the results from the two models are compared, the topic model allows a clearer interpretation than the neural network. The neural network does not have explicit explanations of its process. Even though we analyze the mathematical process of each node and edge does in the model, their “roles” may not be human-interpretable. In contrast, the roles of the nodes and edges are explicitly modeled in the topic model (of course in bad models, the nodes and edges may act differently than expected), and thus it is relatively easy to interpret the result. This interpretability matter in turn affects the flexibility of the two models. When we get a bad result, for the topic model, we can find the part where unexpected behaviors occur, or we can change the previous assumptions and modify the model. For the neural network, however, it is not intuitive which nodes and edges to modify.
You may say it does not reflect the reality to assume a generation process of documents using probabilistic models, because these models are often simplified too much. The neural network could be more appropriate because the brain is indeed composed of neurons. Why not use the real implementation of the brain instead of the uncertain high-level and abstract probabilistic models? Another benefit of the neural network is the well-developed inference techniques such as back-propagation. On the contrary, different topic models usually require different inference processes and many times it is very tough to induce the right mathematical formula.
Again, I’m not really familiar with the neural network. If you visitors have opinions, your corrections and comments would be appreciated. Plus, I wonder if the neural network is still being widely used or it has become old-fashioned.