Caffeine power

Who are those folks in the funky dragon boat? Starbucks employees, out having fun on the company dime.

By Chris Morrison, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- The fiercely carved dragon head on the prow of the boat glares over the water while 18 paddles churn rhythmically to the beat of a drum. It looks like a sight from ancient China, but the bizarre vessel is crossing Seattle's Lake Washington, powered by some very contemporary Starbucks employees. They're in training, hoping to repeat their gold-medal performance at Vancouver's Alcan Dragon Boat Festival next year.

The dragon boat club is a product of the coffee company's work-life initiative. Starbucks subsidizes several hundred employee-organized activities through a program it calls Partner Connections. The company also helps workers indulge their passions for knitting, scuba-diving, and kickball.

But to dragon boaters, there's no substitute for their obscure sport. "Sometimes you go home soaking wet," says Adam Diamond, an international marketing manager who co-captains the boat. "But after the adrenaline and excitement, when people get off the boat, they're ecstatic. There's nothing like it in the world."  Top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.