Lesson From An Analyst: Never Make A Call Using An iPhone Demo Unit

Ben Bajarin has attended every Apple event apart from the introduction of iPhone back in 2007, but his father was there and the event impacted his life even before he got his hands on one. His dad was able to access a private demo given by an Apple executive he was familiar with, right after Steve Jobs presentation.

He later called Bajarin using the iPhone, and the phone number was displayed on the news. It then received 1,500 calls.

From Bajarin’s blog:
In the moments after the iPhone launched my father was walking around the MacWorld show room when he saw an Apple exec whom he knew. He was able to get a quick demo of the iPhone and even a demonstration that it could make a call.
The exec offered to let my dad call someone. He called me on my cell phone. Ironically, I was in a meeting with the Windows Mobile team at CES when he called so I did not answer. When I got out of the meeting I listened to the message and it was my dad saying he called to tell me the iPhone was awesome and he was calling me from one.
This is when it got interesting:
Not long after my dad called me this same Apple exec demonstrated the iPhone to a number of national and international TV networks. Guess whose cell phone number was on the screen while he did the demo? If you guessed mine you are correct.
Not only did my cell phone number make the news, still pictures of that iPhone with my cell phone number on it hit the pages of most major newspapers the next day. Guess what happened in the days following? I got a minimum of 1500 calls a day for about a week.
No problem, he must have ignored those calls, right?
Here is what was really terrible about this situation. Because I get many calls from the local, national, and international press looking for quotes and perspective on the latest news, I had to answer or at least listen to the voicemails of very single one of these calls. Since the iPhone had just launched I did do well over two dozen press interviews.
I only have the numbers of several journalists in my contact list so most who call me I don’t know their number.
It was a surreal experience to have so many people calls the number just because it was in the news, and then more funny part was majority of them wanted to speak with Steve Jobs.

“They assumed this number was a way to reach Steve Jobs and most wanted to pitch him on an idea or set up a meeting,” the analyst recalled.

One guy also screamed ‘dude your phone number is on the news’. Also see Steve Jobs making a prank call to Starbucks, placing an order of 4,000 lattes.

The women who picked up belonged to ‘Hanna’ Zhang Ying Yang. She even gave a comment to FastCompany:
Honestly, I was shocked. 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. 
The funny talk went viral and people started to copy Steve Jobs for prank calls. Bajarin also learned a lesson: no calls with demo units.

As a reminder, here’s Steve prank-calling Starbucks, ordering four thousand lattes to go.

As for Bajarin, lesson learned: never place phone calls using demo units at trade shows.

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