There is such a thing as a free cup of coffee.
Just ask Jonathan Stark, a mobile applications consultant from Providence, R.I., who started conducting an experiment in social sharing in July. That's when he began letting people download his Starbucks card to their smartphones to buy coffee on him.
Stark, 42, calls it "broadcasting money." He asked only that people keep purchases to $3 or less and that they tweet about his project. And, if they wanted to pay it forward, to add some money to the card. His Twitter account posts the card's balance.
Stark was researching mobile payments for a Boston start-up when he hit on an idea: He says he took a screen shot of the bar code in the Starbucks app on his iPhone. He emailed the screen shot to himself. Then he could open that email on any of his phones so the Starbucks barista could scan it. Then he made the screen shot available to the world. People who didn't have smartphones printed out the screen shot. One person even had the barista scan his laptop.
In the beginning, he had fewer than 100 people following him on Twitter, so the card balance always remained fairly low. But over the weekend, Stark's experiment was discovered and the lattes began flowing.
Stark estimates that the Starbucks card has gone through about $4,400, most of it in the last two days. That's $4,000 in anonymous donations, he said.
"95% of people are super cool and like the idea. The last I checked, about an hour ago, the number of people getting drinks versus people contributing money was 2 to 1," Stark said.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Most AWESOME Mobile $ Experiment - Jonathan Stark wants you to use his Starbucks card - latimes.com
Posted by siobhan at 1:40 PM