Starbucks: The World's No. 1 Tech Company

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you follow the tech space, it must make you want to vomit seeing Google (GOOG) slum out to the lifted skirt and perfumed inner thigh of low prices.

Outside of the space, you have posers such as Bank of America ( BAC) not too proud to admit that they're posing.

It's an embarrassing shame.

But how can you blame a big bank for not thinking like a tech company when actual tech companies aren't even thinking like tech companies?

That's the quandary we're in.

People often look at me with dullish, blank stares when I rip Google or suggest that dying breeds such as J.C. Penney ( JCP) and Best Buy ( BBY) need to clean house, hire young-minded, forward-thinking hot shots with NO retail experience and start thinking like tech companies.

So many people don't get it. That's stunning, given the reality the world's top tech company floats in your face every single day, no matter who you are or where you go.

Starbucks ( SBUX) took the notion of thinking like a tech company, modernized it for all (even if "all" have not caught on) and adapted it to the consumer/retail/hospitality space it dominates.

If I'm nothing else, I'm honest. I'm not afraid to say, yes, this is weird, but it's what I'm doing and how I feel when I do it.

I used to go to Starbucks maybe twice a month. Ever since downloading its mobile app, I go every single day. There's no question that the mobile app drives this habit.

It makes me feel cool. Like an early adopter. I'm not the dolt still writing a check at the counter. And I imagine, based on the number of downloads, that I'm not having some independent experience.

However, I also realize, based on the number of people staring in wonder when I pay with my smartphone that we're on the cusp of a Starbucks- and Square-led revolution. And I live in Southern California, a hotbed for connected, mobile freaks. Wait till Starbucks unleashes this beast for real on Anywhere, USA.

We keep waiting for a company to come along and do it the way Steve Jobs did it at Apple ( AAPL). That's the theme the media decided to drive home now, all of a sudden, after it became somewhat obvious: Can anybody do anything without Steve Jobs!?

Yet, Starbucks only receives a quiet roar's worth of accolades.

It should be big news that the company is using mobile to drive traffic and sales as well as cultivate loyalty. Major news. It's all so Jobsian.

Great premium products. Loyal customers. Ubiquity. Strong marketing. Unique retail experience. A fearless leader with a great -- and relatively small -- team harnessing technology (be it a software meets hardware ecosystem or the forefront of the mobile phenomenon) to drive retail traffic, engagement and repeat sales.

Few companies -- in or out tech -- do this and do it well.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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