The Coffee Guy

Posted on the 18th September 2011

Anyone heard about Jonathan Stark? Well … he runs a small company that writes apps for other small businesses, and he’s pretty good at it. But that isn’t why the name Jonathan Stark is becoming so well known – no – the reason is because he has become … “The Coffee Guy”.

Let me explain; Stark launched what he called ‘Jonathan’s Card’ on July 14. Basically it was a web announcement that had a picture of his Starbucks coffee card on it and he states that – if you want a coffee but don’t have the money then all you have to do is take a pic of his card using your phone and when you need to pay at Starbucks simply run the pic through the scanner and, Hey Presto, Jonathan has paid for your coffee. At the time, he says he was unaware that others could add money to the card. The initial idea was to fund the card, then put it online and watch the balance fall, a process that Stark says he found “fun.” Why? Stark says he liked the idea of buying people something, but it’s always uncomfortable when one does that in real life. In contrast, doing it via social media “is impersonal enough that people feel comfortable doing it. It’s weird.”

Five hundred or so people felt the same way. Stark says the card has received a total of $8,700 in donations — including his $300 — so far. The card’s balance has been upped more than 500 times and it’s been withdrawn close to 900 times. That ratio was encouraging to Stark, a mobile app consultant, who sees applications for the idea in the future, like donating fees for medication or other services “for someone in a more desperate situation than the average person in line at Starbucks.”

Now this is a great story but that’s not the reason that I brought it up. The reason that I brought it up was that in the past couple of weeks Jonathan has gained over 10000 followers on Twitter and 3000 Facebook fans.  I really cannot think of anyone who has done that before with a mere $300 expenditure – brilliant. And it goes to show – you can do some good and at the same time have good business savvy.