The Bluebonnet Cafe is a coffee shop and cafe in San Francisco’s Bayview District that has been a staple for more than a decade.
Owner and proprietor Josh Smith is a graduate of the prestigious Harvard Business School and was once a partner at venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.
He’s also the founder of a company called New York Times Best Places to Work, a website that tracks which coffee shops in the city are best for freelancers and what to do when you’re asked to do work for someone else.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Smith talks about how he became so passionate about working in the coffee business and why he thinks it’s so important for entrepreneurs.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
[Editor’s note: Edited transcript below.]
What inspired you to become a coffee-industry entrepreneur?
I came to the Bay Area from Brooklyn in 2010.
I grew up in the Bronx and my parents had a business that made bread.
My brother and I went to Brooklyn high school and I took advantage of the opportunity to go to work there.
I got to work for a bakery, which was a big deal to me, because I was really good at baking.
I loved the atmosphere and the culture and the people.
I felt very fortunate to have that opportunity.
When I moved to the bay area in 2015, I really got into it and started working in restaurants.
When my friend Josh first started working there, I was a little skeptical.
He was from the Bronx, and he was working for a coffee company.
I had no idea how to approach it.
I didn’t know how to say, I’m here to help people.
So I just told him to come and meet with us.
The next day, we had a conversation about how we could work together and how I could learn a lot about the business.
How I could help him make a lot of money and learn how to build his business.
I saw the opportunity.
I knew he was passionate about the coffee industry and wanted to help.
But I was nervous about the whole process.
He has a business background and he knows how to do the work, but I didn and still don’t understand how he was going to be able to pull it off.
What was the hardest part of growing up in Brooklyn?
Growing up, I grew in a very conservative environment.
My parents were very religious and didn’t go to church.
I was raised by my grandmother.
We never went to church, we didn’t pray, we never ate together.
I remember being very religious as a child, but it was a lot different in my middle school years.
I started going to church and I had a really hard time going to Mass.
I wasn’t able to be the person I am now because of my upbringing.
I don’t know what I was taught.
So the hardest thing was, I wanted to grow up in a family where we would have fun.
It was very different.
I thought, “Oh, I’ll just grow up and be a good kid.”
I went out with my friends and did whatever we wanted to do.
I would do the dishes.
I did the dishes at the house.
We went to the movies.
We would just go to the beach.
My sister-in-law, who is a Catholic, we did the same thing.
So it was just a lot harder for me to get a foothold and be comfortable with that.
I learned how to embrace who I am and be who I want to be and how to be confident in my identity as a person.
How did you first get into coffee?
I was doing a book tour for a couple of books.
One was about the origins of coffee and the other was about what we were doing to try to understand why coffee is such a big thing.
It’s really hard to understand.
How do you start your own business?
I didn, like, think it would work.
The first time I tried to open my own business was at a book signing in New York City.
I wanted a space to set up and I didn’s a lot more comfortable in a space.
But that was five years ago.
But after that, I started getting emails from people who had started their own businesses.
And I realized that people had really been working their butt off to get started.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs?
If you’re trying to start your business, get a good partner.
Get the best team.
Don’t be afraid to hire a good accountant.
Be a good team player.
Have a great team.
Do things the right way.
You don’t have to be in the kitchen.
I think that’s a huge difference.
The hardest part is, if you’re starting out and you don’t want to get into a business, you’re going to have a hard time.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten about how to get through life?
When I was growing up, my parents were really supportive. I’m