Many of you no doubt are aware of the mobile app developer Jonathan Stark’s accidental “massive experiment in collective consumption and mobile currency” when he made his Starbucks card available to anyone. This post by Alex Goldmark from GOOD talks about how the national news story (in the U.S.) prompted more than 500 coffee drinkers to add (and spend) more than $8,000 through the card. Starbucks shut the operation down after tech entrepreneur Sam Odio hacked the card as an experiment of his own. Odio’s rationale was that the money would be better spent on a nonprofit organization like Save the Children, rather than going toward buying coffee for one another. (The card is currently for sale on eBay, and the top bid, which will be donated to Save the Children, is well above face value.)
“So predictably, the sharers went ballistic at the news that one man’s scheme had shut down the entire venture,” Goldmark wrote. “Odio apologized on his blog, saying he underestimated how invested people were in the project and how upset they might be when he threw a wrench in the plan.”
Stark was upset too, but sees a bigger purpose. He told GOOD: “If I had one goal it would be for more people to think like this and spawn more projects.”
And it has. At least three similar projects have been started, and Stark wrote on his site: “We’ve received hundreds of stories of people doing small things to brighten a stranger’s day: Paying for the next car at the drive through. Sharing a pick me up with someone who has had a rough time. Charging up a phone card and sharing it with strangers at the airport. The list goes on, and on, and on…”
Follow @jonathanscard and Facebook page for updates.
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