Typically, around these parts at least, technological innovation is associated with tech titans like Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing.
But there’s a bit of a technological revolution brewing at one of Seattle’s other big brands: Starbucks.
Make no mistake about it, Starbucks is still very much about the coffee experience. But the world’s best known coffee colossus is embracing its inner geek, with eyes on a new digital frontier.
And leading the charge in that arena is Adam Brotman who was promoted to the position of chief digital officer after Stephen Gillett left for Best Buy in March. Brotman has helped usher in some pretty big initiatives at Starbucks, including a partnership with mobile payments provider Square that launched this month. That allows Starbucks’ customers to purchase their lattes from their mobile phones by simply scanning a barcode at the checkout counter.
The company also is experimenting with new ways for mobile phone users to wirelessly charge their devices while in coffee shops, the latest of what’s to come for Starbucks as it continues to marry the physical and digital worlds in creative ways.
“At Starbucks, we’re not technology oriented just for technology’s sake,” says Brotman, a former executive at Corbis and PlayNetwork. “Rather, we intently seek to understand our customers’ needs and how they want to engage with us – what are we doing that is most relevant to them in terms of storytelling, how can we better engage with them, and what can we do to make their relationship with us even stronger, more convenient and even more of a value for our most loyal customers.”
Given Starbucks’ push into the digital realm, we’re excited this year to honor Adam Brotman as one of our GeekWire Newsmakers of the year.
We’re spotlighting all of our Newsmakers on GeekWire this month, leading up to the GeekWire Gala Dec. 6 at McCaw Hall in Seattle. Many of the newsmakers from the list will be joining us and the rest of the tech community that night to mark a remarkable year of news. Tickets available here.