3. Adam Brotman

Chief Digital Officer of Starbucks, How To Not Reinvent The Wheel And Still Merrily Roll Along

3. Adam Brotman
Infographic by Brian Rea

America’s coffeehouse also boasts retail’s largest and most popular way to pay via smartphone. The Starbucks app (free) serves as a virtual Starbucks card. Customers put cash on it, the barista scans your phone instead of handling cash or plastic, and folks get through the store faster. Coffee hounds used the app to make 42 million mobile payments through March, with usage growing “week over week, month over month, and quarter over quarter,” Adam Brotman says. Most impressively, he did this without a convoluted new technology (cough, MasterCard PayPass, cough) or unproven system (cough, using PayPal in the real world, cough). “We realized we could innovate by just combining some things that were in front of us.”



  • 1995

    Graduates from University of Washington School of Law; while there, named editor of the Law Review

  • 1996

    Raises a $10 million venture capital round to launch entertainment services company PlayNetwork

  • 2010

    Launches free Wi-Fi at Starbucks and the Starbucks Digital Network

  • 2011

    Launches Starbucks’ “Create Jobs for USA” campaign

  • 2012

    Promoted to Chief Digital Officer at Starbucks