Joe Pinsker on a unique strategy employed by Herb Hyman, the owner of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf:

He determined his shops’ proximity to Starbucks to be such a boon that he began opening locations close to established Starbucks—a sly reversal of the national chain’s strategy. “We bought a Chinese restaurant right next to one of their stores and converted it, and by God, it was doing $1 million a year right away,” Hyman is quoted as saying in Starbucked.

Rather than run and hide from the big guy, or be terrified of his arrival into town, Coffee Bean started doing the opposite. And they thrived — undoubtedly because it helps to be next to Goliath when you’re trying to get people to pull for David.

(Also interesting data on small boards versus big boards — which makes total sense.)

A few days ago, upon noticing something while traveling, I posed a question on Twitter: Are there really no Starbucks in Italy?

Several folks responded that there are indeed no Starbucks in Italy — which still blows my mind. And a few sent the link above full of interesting details as to why not — at least not yet

Worth noting: were it not for Howard Schultz sitting at a cafe in Milan while on a business trip in 1983, there would be no Starbucks as we know it today.