Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Steve Jobs screamed advice at Starbucks CEO, who wishes he'd listened

Starbucks seems to have done okay despite ignoring advice from Steve Jobs

Then Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asked Steve Jobs for advice and got a profane tirade in response — which he says he later wished he'd listened to.

In 2008, Schultz reportedly asked many people for advice about problems he was having with the Starbucks coffee company. But perhaps his wisest choice was Steve Jobs, who the following year would be named the worlds' best performing CEO by Harvard Business Review.

However, speaking on the Acquired podcast — a business series beloved by Apple's Eddy Cue — Schultz said he didn't think Jobs was serious.

"Basically, we took a walk... [and] I just told him all my problems, everything that was going on," said Schultz. "He just stopped me and said: 'This is what you need to do,'" continued the Starbucks CEO. "'You go back to Seattle and you fire everyone on your leadership team.' I thought he was joking."

"'I just told you,'" continued Jobs. "F***** fire all those people."

"He was screaming in my face," said Schultz. "I said 'Steve, I can't fire all these people, who's going to do the work?'"

"He said: 'I promise you in six months, maybe nine, they'll be gone,'" continued Schultz. "He was right. Except for one, the general counsel, they were all gone."

So Schultz had ignored Jobs's advice and continued for that time with a dwindling leadership team. At some point later, Schultz says he met Jobs at an event and told him that he had been right, that they had all left.

"'Well, you're six months, nine months late,'" said Jobs, "think about all the things you could've done."

Schultz doesn't say if he were annoyed by Jobs. But even if he were, some years after these exchanges, he had Starbucks buy 23,000 iPads for staff training.