Richard Tait, Co-Founder, and CEO of Cranium on Death Hoax – Richard Tait, a successful Seattle entrepreneur, is joining the world’s largest coffee retailer. Tait co-founded game maker Cranium and built new businesses at Microsoft. He’s now senior vice president and entrepreneur in residence at Starbucks. The Seattle coffee giant’s first such post. We discovered the new role while researching Tait’s latest business, soccer-themed energy drink Golazo, which filed for bankruptcy last year.
Who is Richard Tait?
The Scotsman seemed to have survived the ordeal unscathed. Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz backed both Cranium and Golazo. After Hasbro bought Cranium for $77 million in 2008, Tait served as a consultant at Starbucks. He’s back at the coffee shop. Tait calls himself “Chief BoomBoom” at Starbucks and says he “brings startup spirit to a major organization.” Intrigued by the title and the fact that the coffee store is embracing innovation, we contacted Tait.
Tait, who joined Starbucks 11 months ago, wouldn’t discuss the role. Tait’s bio appears on the Starbucks Newsroom website under the executive team section, where it says he “helps lead future product development as part of Starbucks Innovation Lab’s steering committee.” He reports to CEO Kevin Johnson. It’s a new venture for the huge firm and startup champion.
The entrepreneur-in-residence job is widespread in venture capital organizations, where established entrepreneurs investigate new business concepts. But entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) is rare in Fortune 500 organizations. Schultz is the co-founder of Seattle venture capital firm Maveron, which has long believed in nurturing experienced entrepreneurs for interesting commercial projects.
Richard Tait’s statement on his LinkedIn page
He wrote on his LinkedIn page, “I am the first Entrepreneur in Residence at Starbucks, which I LOVE!!! Bringing the energy and passion of a startup inside the rhythm of a large corporation. Working side by side with the strategic leadership team and their functional expertise, and changing the clock speed and innovation cycle to that of a startup. I work directly for the new CEO at Starbucks Kevin Johnson. I smile when I explain my role at Starbucks, I say I am Kevin’s backpack. 🙂 Kudos to Starbucks for giving someone like me a roll like this. Changing big think by embracing small think, and ensuring innovation are embraced and applauded.”
Richard Tait’s connection with the Starbucks
Starbucks used a sentence from GeekWire co-founder John Cook’s 2011 profile on Tait for his bio. Tait spent 10 years at Microsoft starting in 1988. On LinkedIn, he called paperboy to software giant his first job. He launched 12 firm startups. Tait co-founded and operated the board game firm Cranium, which sold over 40 million games globally. In 2008, Hasbro bought “America’s smartest small firm.” Tait introduced the Real Food, Simply Delicious campaign and developed Starbucks’ health and wellness approach in 2009 and 2010.
BoomBoomBrands launched Tait’s Seattle startup incubator. He co-founded Moment, Marc Barros’ 3-year-old Seattle-based smartphone lens and case maker. This company’s third Kickstarter effort reached $500,000 last week. Tait founded the soccer-themed energy drink Golazo in 2010. In 2011, Schultz invested $3.7 million in the product. Social marketing and Seattle’s emergence as a soccer capital helped Golazo gain popularity. Tait called Seattle “soccer central USA.”
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