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James Freeman on Startup Success: “It Helps to Be Kind of Desperate and Unhappy”

One of specialty coffee’s most intriguing characters, Blue Bottle founder James Freeman has some advice for people launching a new coffee venture: “It helps to be kind of desperate and unhappy, then you have less to lose,” he recently told Fox Business News. Caveat, he later says, you also have to “not listen to too much advice.”

For a segment called “Success Stories,” the clarinetist-turned-coffee-pioneer is introduced as someone who “was into high quality joe way before it was cool,” and asked to talk about the “daily grind of the coffee business” (cringe).

Awkward transitions aside, the 6-minute interview is full of Freeman’s characteristic humility and humor, offering some insight into how to perhaps unexpectedly find success in true passion for coffee quality: