In January 2007, Steve Jobs took the stage at Macworld, introduced the iPhone, and forever changed the smartphone landscape. You might remember that he also prank called Starbucks during a demo meant to show how easy the iPhone made it to find nearby coffee shops using Google Maps and call one up.
"Yes, I'd like to order 4,000 lattes to go, please. No, just kidding. Wrong number. Goodbye!"
So there was Steve Jobs, introducing what would soon become the most profitable product in Apple history, ordering 4,000 lattes to go. Indeed, it was a fitting demo for a man who once prank called the Pope while pretending to be Henry Kissinger.
So why is any of this significant?
Because, believe it or not, the Starbucks that was on the receiving end of Jobs's semi-infamous prank call still receives joke orders for 4,000 lattes.
Incredibly, FastCompany was able to track down the woman who answered Jobs call. Her name is Ying Hang "Hannah" Zhang and she still works at the very same Starbucks.
FastCompany's report reads: "Sincere and sweet, Hannah has been working at the same Starbucks for more than a half-decade. "Honestly, I was shocked," she recalls. "I have never heard somebody order 4,000 lattes to go. I didn't say anything because I was shocked. But my first impression was that he was just being humorous. He sounded like a gentleman"."
Of course, Hannah at the time had no idea that she had spoken to one of technology's greatest visionaries. It was only until Apple fans began going to the store that she got wind of Jobs' little Starbucks prank.
"I feel very happy and lucky that I had a chance to actually talk to him. It means a lot to me that he picked our Starbucks," Hannah told FastCompany. "My friends were surprised and jealous, like, 'Wow, you got a chance to talk to Steve Jobs?' They say to me, 'You should've said more! You just say Good morning and How can I help you.'"
Somewhat comically, Hannah relays that folks still call up the Starbucks and put in orders for 4,000 lattes to go. Adding to the humor is that store managers weren't even aware of the significance of the fake orders until FastCompany contacted them and alerted them to the existence of Jobs's now iconic iPhone introduction.
On a related note, here's a bit of Steve Jobs trivia for ya. Jobs' first business, well before Apple Computer even existed, was back in the early 70s when Jobs had the idea to sell "blue boxes," devices that enabled folks to make phone calls for free by emulating the tones used by telephone systems to route long-distance calls.
In a 1995 interview, Jobs looked back fondly at his experience with the blue box.
"We were so fascinated by them (blue boxes) that Woz and I figured out how to build one. We built the best one in the world; the first digital blue box in the world. We would give them to our friends and use them ourselves. And you know, you rapidly run out of people you want to call. But it was the magic that two teenagers could build this box for $100 worth of parts and control 100′s of billions of dollars of infrastructure in the entire telephone network in the whole world… "
"Experiences like that taught us the power of ideas. The power of understanding that if you could build this box, you could control 100′s of billions of dollars around the world, that’s a powerful thing. If we wouldn’t have made blue boxes, there would have been no Apple."
Naturally, the blue box business didn't last too long as the devices were illegal and getting caught by the police was a real concern. Nevertheless, they did earn a few thousand bucks hocking blue boxes before moving onto bigger and better endeavors.
This story was originates from Macworld UK's sister title Networkworld. You can read the original article here.
Illustration by Ryan Macro.