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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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices 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.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.