Jacob Jaber

CEO of Philz Coffee

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON February 21, 2017
Thank Jacob Jaber on Twitter

Discussion

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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
Hi I'm Jacob and I'm super excited to be here today! A bit about me –at around the age of 18 I started running Philz Coffee full-time, after years of helping my dad in the original Philz location in San Francisco’s Mission district. I'm incredibly proud to say that the hard work and passion is paying off with Philz having since grown from 1 location to over 40 locations across 3 markets, with Encinitas opening just last week and Boston on the way! I’m most passionate about our customers, our employees and creating a strong company culture, expansion while keeping true to your roots, and about thinking counter-intuitively when it comes to creating and serving a product people love. Ask me anything.
Andreas Klinger
@andreasklinger · Tech at Product Hunt 💃
hey jacob honest to god: how much of your quarterly revenue is consumed by @rrhoover ?
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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
@andreasklinger @rrhoover Ryan is an icon. HIs contributions can't be quantified :)
Andreas Klinger
@andreasklinger · Tech at Product Hunt 💃
@jacobjaber @rrhoover ok won't let you off the hook that easy i am sure you have to have your own key account manager for him by now honestly - he drinks more philz coffee in a day than other people do drink water you know the number i am sure how much coffee/coffee-dollars does he drink in a month? if you dont want to share consumer insights publicly i get it - but give a hint 4 digit coffee-dollars? it wont be 5 right?
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Ryan Hoover
@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@andreasklinger @jacobjaber you know, I'm itching for another cup of Silken Splendor. brb... 🏃
Philip Kuklis
@philipkuklis · Co-Founder, Hubble
Hi Jacob, what's an interesting fact about coffee that most people don't know?
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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
@philipkuklis Lighter roasts are more caffeinated than darker roasts!
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Chris Messina
@chrismessina · 🏆 PH Community Member of the Year!
@jacobjaber @philipkuklis I knew that (because darker roasts are roasted longer, and therefore destroy more of the caffeine molecules)! :)
Rajoshi Ghosh
@rajoshighosh · Co-founder, Hasura
Hey @jacobjaber, curious to know about what's the most counter intuitive insight that you've had recently about your product/customer :)
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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
@rajoshighosh It continues to surprise me how powerful perception really is. Managing perception is just as important as managing the real thing. For example, a line could send the message to one that the wait is long but that's not necessarily true.
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Austin Sandmeyer
@as_austin · Thinker/Student/Rockstar
Hey @jacobjaber! Lover of Philz Coffee and of course the Caffeinated Kitty! I'm really interested in your viewpoint on Starbucks recent "mild-expansion" and movement into the more high-level offerings with "Premium Roasters" and the "experience" aspect of the coffee industry. When you look at the coffee industry as a whole do you see and "shifts" happening?
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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
@as_austin Hey Austin, great question. Starbucks's original core competency was coffee but over the decades as they've expanded it's shifted to operations. With new players in the game schooling them in many ways, they recognized they need to go back to the basics and the easiest way to implement was to create something new. Will be interesting to see what happens. All in all, I think there is room for everyone to succeed who brings unique value.
Idea Spies
@ideaspies · Chief Idea Spy-IdeaSpies
@jacobjaber @as_austin Why do you think Starbucks failed in Australia? Australians love coffee but not Starbucks..
Very excited that Philz is coming back to Marin with the new Corte Madera location this summer. On that note, how do you manage growth and your pace of expansion while maintaining the experience and consistent quality that people associate with Philz?
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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
@cgomez It's tough! The simple answer is an unwavering commitment to our core values. The more complex answer is in the actual work we do everyday to uphold them. For example, our hiring standards are probably on par with google for engineers. We created Philz University where we invest heavily in every new team member. Every team member, even if your an executive goes through Barista training. Barista training lasts for 15 days and costs us thousands of dollars. We invest in our people. These examples are just the beginning at the things we do.
Rebecca Du
@beckydu512 · Project Manager, Zeta Interactive
How did it feel to start running Philz Coffee full time at the age of 18?
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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
@beckydu512 It didn't feel much different than being a Barista :)... It was my dad and I working side by side for 12+ hours a day 7 days a week. It was a lot of work but so rewarding at the same time. This is where I built so many wonderful relationships with customers I still know and see today. As a young ceo, the biggest challenge was not knowing what I didn't know. I solved that by seeking guidance, keeping an open mind, asking stupid questions with focus on the right answer, crazy strong determination, competitiveness and passion for quality and people. I still have a lot to learn but I believe determination w/ a great ability to learn trumps any academic accolade.
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Mike Coutermarsh
@mscccc · Code @ Product Hunt
Hey! I just noticed the menu changed last week (or couple weeks ago). No more It's The Best. How'd you all decide on what blends to keep and which to remove?
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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
@mscccc Great question. Firstly it was hard. 10 of our blends account for close to 90% of what we sell. In addition to that we are always trying to improve coffee quality. We found that by removing the absolute lowest sellers, we can improve the overall customer experience. The good news is, there are fantastic alternatives and no shortage of varieties. If you like it's the best try half Julies Ultimate and half Silken Splendor. It's a fantastic combo. I get my coffee with honey and cream all the time!
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Mike Coutermarsh
@mscccc · Code @ Product Hunt
@jacobjaber thanks! will give that a try :)
Hello Jacob! What is the most difficult management task regarding your whole barista team? (From Motivation to accountability) Thanks!!
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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
@hectorhs7 It's really hard being a Barista, especially at Philz. Everything is handmade, we are a high volume business and our service is very high touch. Not easy to sustain, especially over a long period of time. We have fantastic people and ensuring we have the right leadership investing in them is the key. People is our focus.
Alex Baker-Whitcomb
@awhitcom · Founder of Whitcomb Works
If you could go back give yourself 1-2 pieces of advice when you first started your company at zero, what would it be?
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Jacob Jaber
@jacobjaber · ceo, philz coffee
@awhitcom Great question. I've always loved getting advice but ensuring you surround yourself with the right people makes the difference. Surround yourself with people who intrigue you, challenge you and share a sincere concern for your success and happiness. Anything less than that is no good when your trying to grow.