Starbucks Was Almost Named... Pequod

Daily Mail: It's the largest coffee house in the world, but Starbucks may have had a very different story had one of its founders had his way.

Writer Gordon Bowke, who co-founded the company in 1971, originally wanted to name the company Peqoud, after the doomed whaleship in Moby-Dick. Luckily, his business partners settled on the name of the ship's first mate instead.

According to Howard Schultz's book Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time, Mr Bowker suggested the name Pequod to his then-creative partner, Terry Heckler, who responded: 'No one's going to drink a cup of Pee-quod!'

After a brainstorming session, Mr Bowker's co-founders, teachers Jerry Baldwin and Zev Siegl, decided Captain Ahab's first mate Starbuck would be the name of the then-unknown brand.

It was not the only inspiration the entrepreneurs found in the unusual name. It also inspired Starbucks' famed green and white logo, which features a Siren from Greek Mythology. As the story goes, Sirens lured sailors to shipwreck off the coast of an island in the South Pacific, also called Starbuck Island.

The company, however, could have gone by many different names with founders so captivated by the Herman Melville classic. Stubb, Flask, Queequeg, Tashtego, Daggoo, Pip and Fedallah are among the other characters in the story about Captain Ahab's search for a monstrous sperm whale wandering the seas after it destroyed his boat and bit off his leg.

Starbucks, it seems, proved a wise choice. The company later changed hands and Mr Schultz became the company's sole owner when he bought out the three founders in 1987. Starbucks went on to become the largest coffee house company in the world, with 17,009 stores in 50 countries, including more than 11,000 in the U.S.

Moby-Dick, first published in 1851 by American author Herman Melville, is peppered with unusual names that could have replaced Starbuck.

Its main characters include:

Ishmael - The narrator, and a junior member of the crew of the Pequod

Captain Ahab - Lost his leg to Moby Dick and is in a search for the monstrous sperm whale

Starbuck - The first mate of the Pequod. A Quaker who believes that Christianity offers a way to interpret the world around him

Stubb - The second mate of the Pequod, characterized by his good humor

Flask - The third mate of the Pequod with a confrontational attitude that earned him the nickname King-Post

Queequeg - Starbuck’s skilled harpooner and Ishmael’s best friend, a former prince drom South Sea island

Tashtego - Stubb’s harpooner and a Gay Head Indian

Daggoo - Flask’s harpooner

Pip - A young black boy who fills the role of a cabin boy or jester

Fedallah - An old Persian fire-worshipper


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