I ran across a post about Johnathan Stark’s crowd-funding experiment this weekend and I couldn’t resist playing along. Here’s the story. Johnathan created a web page on his site and uploaded a screen shot of his Starbucks Card. Anyone who wants a free cup of coffee can download the card to their phone, scan it at any Starbucks that accepts mobile cards, and–if there’s enough money on the card–get a free cup of whatever. Now if there’s NOT money on the card you can add money to it to cover your coffee and maybe the next person’s as well.
I was going to post the screen grab of his card here, but I figured it would get me in some kinda hot water (yes, pun) so you’ll have to go to his site to try it out. I did use the card and it worked flawlessly. and then I uploaded a little cash to keep it going.
What’s been even more interesting than that it works though is that Johnathan and his friends built some graphing apps to upload the progress of the card to a special Twitter stream just for the card at @Johnathanscard (over 3600 followers to date) with up to the minute balances and it’s pretty cool seeing how it flows. He even shares the code for doing it with the Twitter API calls on his site in case you want to do something similar.
The graph below was pulled from the last two hours of his Twitter stream and shows an update every minute. It’s interesting that most people seem to upload enough money to cover their coffee and some change, while others clearly added larger amounts, up to $50. From a VERY rough analysis with a tiny portion of the data, 32% didn’t upload any funds, 68 added more than they spent and the average was $9.64.
All in all it’s a great experiment in crowd-funding and it will be interesting to see how long it goes and if Starbucks gets upset about the whole thing. It will also be interesting to see if somebody else does something equally interesting with the idea. If you do, please post here and share it with us!
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