Howard Schultz on Necessity of Omni-Curiosity


As we wrote in our books, one trait that is found in nearly all intelligent fanatics is omni-curiosity.

Mere mortals restrict their curiosity to their chosen field.

Omni-curiosity is more than that. It is to be deeply curious about the whole world because you never know what might spark a new, innovative perspective on a common problem. A multi-disciplinary approach provides a “whole new roadmap”.

Starbucks founder Howard Schultz described his omni-curiosity and why it was important in the video below. Notice how he stood on the shoulders of Aldo Lorenzi, master Italian cutlery merchant. Schultz also learned from jazz musician Kenny G. (Emphasis is ours)

I think I have a level of curiosity about our company and the world that is greater than the the the sandbox that I’m in. And so you know I open the book [Onwards], as an example, with an experience that I had that probably a thousand people would have walked by. But, something there was a twinkle of what I saw in the windows of that store that I had to investigate. This was all the Lorenzi’s cutlery store in Milan. I opened the book with that because being an entrepreneur I think you’ve got to be open to the world and you have to understand that there’s so many things out there and you never know that there could be something a little something that could provide you with a whole new way of thinking. A whole new roadmap.

When I met Aldo Lorenzi and sat down with him, here was a guy who’s close to 80 and he has one store but that store is a shrine to what it means to being a merchant. I wanted to sit down with him despite the language barriers and just be at the foot of the master for however long he would allow me just to talk to him.

It’s that kind of thing I think that I don’t want to avoid being curious. I want to avoid thinking that Starbucks coffee company and all of our people have all the answers because the consumer has so many choices. The consumer is walking by all of these stores and they’re seeing all these things. My interest is how could we advance the company? How can we get better and what else should we do in the future that leverages the infrastructure and the capabilities that we have beyond what we’re doing today?

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