Starbucks CEO discovers what Israel already knows

by Robert Maynard

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Srarbucks recently announced a “$30 million gift for U.S. troops“.  Here is what that gift is targeted for:

I think one thing that is necessary is a comprehensive mechanism for job training. But another is the fact that, depending on who you’re talking to, 20, 30, 40 percent of the two million people who have served are coming back with some kind of brain trauma or PTS. So we’re going to fund the opportunity for significant research and for medical practitioners and science to understand the disease and, ultimately, hopefully, come up with some — a level of remedy.

In addition to this much needed assistance, Shultz is interesting in informing the American public of the valuable skills that veterans offer American businesses.  This is important, because too many in our society see our returning veterans as victims, rather than the victors that they are.  We need to start seeing them as a valuable resource in our nation’s economic development.  Here is how Shultz put it in an interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley:

HOWARD SCHULTZ: The truth of the matter is, and I say this with respect, more often than not, the government does a very — a much better job of sending people to war than they do bringing them home. These young men and women who are coming home from multiple deployments are not coming home to a parade. They’re not coming home to a celebration. They’re coming home to an American public that really doesn’t understand, and never embraced, what these people have done.

What they’ve done, Schultz says, is incredibly valuable to American business.

SCOTT PELLEY: These returning troops have management skills that you can’t get any other way.


SCOTT PELLEY: No Harvard Business School is ever going to teach you how to lead people into combat.

HOWARD SCHULTZ: That is something very, very different. And these life skills can’t be taught. And what I’m saying is that they’re extraordinarily valuable to any business, any institution, any enterprise.

This is an insight that the small nation of Israel has long realized.  “Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” is a 2009 book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer about the economy of Israel.  The book addresses the “trillion dollar question: “

How is it that Israel – a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources—produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful,and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada, and the UK? How is it that Israel has, per person, attracted over twice as much venture capital investment as the US and thirty times more than Europe?

Besides factors like a welcome approach to immigration, one big factor that makes Israel a “Start Up Nation” is that they are able to integrate veterans returning from war back into their economy and take advantage of the leadership skills these returning soldiers have gained.  The U.S. is WAY behind in doing this.