Help Stefan get his Mac

Stefan Constantienescu has been a reader of my blog for a long time (and hangs out on Channel 9). When he told me about his plans for buying a new computer that he couldn't afford, I wanted to hold off on posting it and see if he could make something happen on his own.

He did. He raised $1,000.

Let's go further and get him a MacBook. That costs $2,000 plus taxes (I might be able to get him an employee discount via my brother-in-law which would help). I'll throw in a copy of Windows XP so he can switch back and forth every day (his whole schtick was "make me switch"). :-)

Comments

  1. Robert, I am thrilled to see you support Stefan in his cause. I interviewed Stefan on my Podcast , Typical Mac User Podcast http://www.typicalmauser.com.

    Go hear Stefan explain in his own words why he is doing this and how this 19 year old is showing many of us the power of blogging and tenacity.

  2. Robert, I am thrilled to see you support Stefan in his cause. I interviewed Stefan on my Podcast , Typical Mac User Podcast http://www.typicalmauser.com.

    Go hear Stefan explain in his own words why he is doing this and how this 19 year old is showing many of us the power of blogging and tenacity.

  3. Robert,

    You know what would be brilliant? If Stefan collected enough money for the Mac he wants with exactly $1 leftover. Then he should find someone else who wants to switch but doesn’t have the funds. Donate the $1 to help get them going and get them some traffic. It’d be a neat social experiment.

  4. Robert,

    You know what would be brilliant? If Stefan collected enough money for the Mac he wants with exactly $1 leftover. Then he should find someone else who wants to switch but doesn’t have the funds. Donate the $1 to help get them going and get them some traffic. It’d be a neat social experiment.

  5. Awesome. More virtual panhandling.

    Explain to me again why I should give him money to buy a computer, while there are plenty of schools that have no or completely outdated computers?

  6. Awesome. More virtual panhandling.

    Explain to me again why I should give him money to buy a computer, while there are plenty of schools that have no or completely outdated computers?

  7. “this 19 year old is showing many of us the power of blogging and tenacity.”

    What this 19 year old is really doing is showing us the power of begging. The fact it’s online begging for a $2,400 computer doesn’t change its nature in material way. It doesn’t even make it original:

    http://www.savekaryn.com/

    There are starving families too proud to beg for food and this guy is begging for a luxury item from the comfort of his climate controlled home and likely on a full stomach. Why an RSS feed makes this somehow less reprehensible is beyond me.

  8. “this 19 year old is showing many of us the power of blogging and tenacity.”

    What this 19 year old is really doing is showing us the power of begging. The fact it’s online begging for a $2,400 computer doesn’t change its nature in material way. It doesn’t even make it original:

    http://www.savekaryn.com/

    There are starving families too proud to beg for food and this guy is begging for a luxury item from the comfort of his climate controlled home and likely on a full stomach. Why an RSS feed makes this somehow less reprehensible is beyond me.

  9. This guy and his blog where banned from digg.com for spamming, try to submit the blog and see for yourself, he was also spamming story comments with his blog link asking users to give him money. I don’t see a cause here. Sorry.

  10. This guy and his blog where banned from digg.com for spamming, try to submit the blog and see for yourself, he was also spamming story comments with his blog link asking users to give him money. I don’t see a cause here. Sorry.

  11. I continue to say that before it is called ” More virtual panhandling,” we examine the way that Stefan is going about this. He is being thou rough, communicative, keeping good records and sharing them openly, and he is exercising the freedom that we all still share on the ‘net’ to “Think Differently”

    Of course there are many that have needs and I also donate to those causes. However I have a teenage child and if I saw him having this kind of tenacity and drive I would applaud the fact that he is pursuing a dream. Many will disagree, but I continue to applaud Stefan and in his quest.

  12. I continue to say that before it is called ” More virtual panhandling,” we examine the way that Stefan is going about this. He is being thou rough, communicative, keeping good records and sharing them openly, and he is exercising the freedom that we all still share on the ‘net’ to “Think Differently”

    Of course there are many that have needs and I also donate to those causes. However I have a teenage child and if I saw him having this kind of tenacity and drive I would applaud the fact that he is pursuing a dream. Many will disagree, but I continue to applaud Stefan and in his quest.

  13. Yeah, I gotta agree… This virtual panhandling crap is obnoxious.

    I’ll give my change to the guys outside the McDonalds. they look like they need it more than I do. I expect this guy could _easily_ take out a college loan for the computer if he desperately needed it, or just start saving his money and make do with what he’s got in the meantime.

    “He is being thourough, communicative, keeping good records and sharing them openly,”

    Sure, but he could also _do something_ for the money instead of just ask for it. If it was some sort of cool entrepenurial thing, I’d be less inclined to even write this post. Heck, he didn’t even bother to open up a Google AdWords account!

  14. Yeah, I gotta agree… This virtual panhandling crap is obnoxious.

    I’ll give my change to the guys outside the McDonalds. they look like they need it more than I do. I expect this guy could _easily_ take out a college loan for the computer if he desperately needed it, or just start saving his money and make do with what he’s got in the meantime.

    “He is being thourough, communicative, keeping good records and sharing them openly,”

    Sure, but he could also _do something_ for the money instead of just ask for it. If it was some sort of cool entrepenurial thing, I’d be less inclined to even write this post. Heck, he didn’t even bother to open up a Google AdWords account!

  15. Had a look at Steve’s site, and I’m beginning to believe that anything is possible through the blogosphere…

    I’m coming up with my own wish-list for the blogosphere to grant. Not too sure how it will go, but if nothing else can be learnt from Steve’s quest, it is that anything is possible!

  16. Had a look at Steve’s site, and I’m beginning to believe that anything is possible through the blogosphere…

    I’m coming up with my own wish-list for the blogosphere to grant. Not too sure how it will go, but if nothing else can be learnt from Steve’s quest, it is that anything is possible!

  17. “However I have a teenage child and if I saw him having this kind of tenacity and drive I would applaud the fact that he is pursuing a dream.” Comment by Victor Cajiao

    If I had a 19 year old begging on the web I’d smack him up side his head. Learning how to save up your own money is a good lesson to learn.

    I don’t like asking for money and I certainly do like to borrow from anyone this included my own father when I need a PC in college. When you buy with your own “sweat” then it’s really yours.

  18. “However I have a teenage child and if I saw him having this kind of tenacity and drive I would applaud the fact that he is pursuing a dream.” Comment by Victor Cajiao

    If I had a 19 year old begging on the web I’d smack him up side his head. Learning how to save up your own money is a good lesson to learn.

    I don’t like asking for money and I certainly do like to borrow from anyone this included my own father when I need a PC in college. When you buy with your own “sweat” then it’s really yours.

  19. If you want to contribute to a charity fund, go ahead.

    If you want to contribute to someone buying a different computer so they can write about the experience, then go ahead and do that.

    What is unique about blogging is that it isn’t forced upon me, it is entirely optional to enjoy or not. By writing interesting things, he provides a service. I don’t feel obliged at all to give this person money, but I can certainly imagine saying “eh, what the heck, I’ll give him a dollar and see what else he writes.”

    Would you rather give money to a street performer playing a guitar (with some degree of accuracy), or a beggar sitting there on the sidewalk with a cup? I would rather spend my money on talent and effort (the guitar player).

    Charity is a different budget item entirely. Donated money for a computer, in this case, is not charity – it is a tip for a service.

  20. If you want to contribute to a charity fund, go ahead.

    If you want to contribute to someone buying a different computer so they can write about the experience, then go ahead and do that.

    What is unique about blogging is that it isn’t forced upon me, it is entirely optional to enjoy or not. By writing interesting things, he provides a service. I don’t feel obliged at all to give this person money, but I can certainly imagine saying “eh, what the heck, I’ll give him a dollar and see what else he writes.”

    Would you rather give money to a street performer playing a guitar (with some degree of accuracy), or a beggar sitting there on the sidewalk with a cup? I would rather spend my money on talent and effort (the guitar player).

    Charity is a different budget item entirely. Donated money for a computer, in this case, is not charity – it is a tip for a service.

  21. [...] Following on from recent successes, two short-term job offers, Tom Rafferty's job experiment and the evolving discussion around the web after the boston.com article I found Scoble's link to Stefan Constantienescu very interesting. Steve wants a new Mac, and has so far raised $1000 towards his goal. Steve has come under a lot of fire as a result of his virtual 'begging' – and has defended himself by linking to other projects before his: here. All of those mentioned in the post have been successful.  [...]

  22. I’m gonna launch my Ferrari website. Who wants to donate the first $10,000? Come on… Anyone?…. What’s the world coming to?

  23. I’m gonna launch my Ferrari website. Who wants to donate the first $10,000? Come on… Anyone?…. What’s the world coming to?

  24. Stephen could build a business inside some place like say, Second Life, and then buy a couple Mac computers. It’s called, er, *work*.

    This kind of reminds me of the million pixel guy only without the million pixels. Let’s hope your post doesn’t spawn copycats of this, Scoble.

    Weak.

  25. Stephen could build a business inside some place like say, Second Life, and then buy a couple Mac computers. It’s called, er, *work*.

    This kind of reminds me of the million pixel guy only without the million pixels. Let’s hope your post doesn’t spawn copycats of this, Scoble.

    Weak.

  26. I would think that if there are any SMRT Apple employees paying attention to your blog, they would donate a Mac to your friends cause. What better way to get “free” advertising than to give a friend of Robert Scoble a Macintosh!?!

    But then again, your other readers are sure giving him the gears for resemblance of a Panhandler.

  27. I would think that if there are any SMRT Apple employees paying attention to your blog, they would donate a Mac to your friends cause. What better way to get “free” advertising than to give a friend of Robert Scoble a Macintosh!?!

    But then again, your other readers are sure giving him the gears for resemblance of a Panhandler.

  28. This ethical sparring is total bs. Donate money to who you want to.

    So kids in a third-grade class in Brooklyn need a computer more than Stefan? Well, I’m sure there are kids in this country who need food more than Brooklyn third graders need computers. And there are kids in distant countries who are starving on a scale much larger than kids in the US. If you want to give money to them, fine. If not, don’t. But it doesn’t help anyone to get judgmental about charity, and who should be the recipient of it.

    And in unrelated news: Scoble, can you confirm or deny this Windows Vista rumor:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/04/27/schneier_infosec/
    If it’s true, you might want to rethink that MacBook purchase.

  29. This ethical sparring is total bs. Donate money to who you want to.

    So kids in a third-grade class in Brooklyn need a computer more than Stefan? Well, I’m sure there are kids in this country who need food more than Brooklyn third graders need computers. And there are kids in distant countries who are starving on a scale much larger than kids in the US. If you want to give money to them, fine. If not, don’t. But it doesn’t help anyone to get judgmental about charity, and who should be the recipient of it.

    And in unrelated news: Scoble, can you confirm or deny this Windows Vista rumor:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/04/27/schneier_infosec/
    If it’s true, you might want to rethink that MacBook purchase.

  30. Stepahn: I dont have money to spare, but I do have a lot of goodwill to share. :)- hope that you dreams come true !!

  31. Stepahn: I dont have money to spare, but I do have a lot of goodwill to share. :)- hope that you dreams come true !!

  32. Good article, Jon, thanks for sharing. This summarizes the situation pretty well: “I blew him off completely when he first contacted me, because, well, he’s a guy who’s trying to get a new 20″ iMac for free off of a bunch of strangers.”

  33. Good article, Jon, thanks for sharing. This summarizes the situation pretty well: “I blew him off completely when he first contacted me, because, well, he’s a guy who’s trying to get a new 20″ iMac for free off of a bunch of strangers.”

  34. Sam: I have an interview coming up with the Bitlocker team. I don’t believe their tech will prove as nasty as Schneier is making it sound.

    MacBooks are showing up all over campus. Just interviewed the MSN Messenger Ad-Ins team and he was using a MacBook with both Parallels and BootCamp.

  35. Sam: I have an interview coming up with the Bitlocker team. I don’t believe their tech will prove as nasty as Schneier is making it sound.

    MacBooks are showing up all over campus. Just interviewed the MSN Messenger Ad-Ins team and he was using a MacBook with both Parallels and BootCamp.

  36. Stupid question….but what is the hook? He’s not offering to DO anything if you donate money. I didn’t see it in his blog, but did he offer to donate his old computer to a needy school (admittedly, it’s not a fantastic computer, but…)? He’s a college student, not much time, but what about commiting to donating SOME time to help tutor at-risk kids? In a billion other ways, he can offer to help someone the way he is asking people to help him, I just haven’t seen any offers of that kind from him.

    Or is this just a social experiment? Is he getting graded on it?

    Stefan, I wish you the best. But if you’re asking people to donate money just for kicks, I’m sorry but I don’t think it would be right for me to help you out.

  37. Stupid question….but what is the hook? He’s not offering to DO anything if you donate money. I didn’t see it in his blog, but did he offer to donate his old computer to a needy school (admittedly, it’s not a fantastic computer, but…)? He’s a college student, not much time, but what about commiting to donating SOME time to help tutor at-risk kids? In a billion other ways, he can offer to help someone the way he is asking people to help him, I just haven’t seen any offers of that kind from him.

    Or is this just a social experiment? Is he getting graded on it?

    Stefan, I wish you the best. But if you’re asking people to donate money just for kicks, I’m sorry but I don’t think it would be right for me to help you out.

  38. Hmm beggars these days have their own web sites? There are plenty of poor starving people in the world that don’t even have a web site! What is the world coming to?!? :)

    But sure, lets help this poor guy buy a MacBook Pro. Where do I send the cheque?

  39. Hmm beggars these days have their own web sites? There are plenty of poor starving people in the world that don’t even have a web site! What is the world coming to?!? :)

    But sure, lets help this poor guy buy a MacBook Pro. Where do I send the cheque?

  40. how does society benefit from giving this beggar money to buy an Mac for his own use?

    @19, the difference is, I rather doubt all the 3rd graders will be taking the computers with them. IOW, they won’t own them, the school will. So the SCHOOL benefits, thus society benefits in the long run. I fail to see how this poor college kid is any different than any other poor college kid. Isn’t he leaning enough in college to figure out how to finance his purchase on his own without begging?

    Seems like I’d benefit more by giving to the Human Fund.

  41. how does society benefit from giving this beggar money to buy an Mac for his own use?

    @19, the difference is, I rather doubt all the 3rd graders will be taking the computers with them. IOW, they won’t own them, the school will. So the SCHOOL benefits, thus society benefits in the long run. I fail to see how this poor college kid is any different than any other poor college kid. Isn’t he leaning enough in college to figure out how to finance his purchase on his own without begging?

    Seems like I’d benefit more by giving to the Human Fund.

  42. Mark me down as someone tired of these sort of superficial begging for money memes.

    Scoble – use your influence for something more important than buying some college student a freakin’ Mac. Isn’t there a better cause you can push us towards?

  43. Mark me down as someone tired of these sort of superficial begging for money memes.

    Scoble – use your influence for something more important than buying some college student a freakin’ Mac. Isn’t there a better cause you can push us towards?

  44. By the way, when I said “But sure, lets help this poor guy buy a MacBook Pro. Where do I send the cheque?”

    I was being sarcastic. I find this type of thing deplorable.

  45. By the way, when I said “But sure, lets help this poor guy buy a MacBook Pro. Where do I send the cheque?”

    I was being sarcastic. I find this type of thing deplorable.

  46. Ya know, I’d quite like to test an Aston martin DB9, I’m fed up with my 2nd hand small car, I want to see what the other side of the fence is like, a big beefy car, with a big beefy engine. They only sell for around £110,000, not a lot at all really if a very small percentage of the worlds driving population donate me £1 each.

    Any takers?

    No, thought not…..

    I have a job, this job pays me wages, I decide what I can and can’t buy based on those wages and the other things I have to buy. I don’t expect free computers from people just because….

    Earn some money, get on ebay, buy something…don’t ask me for handouts for luxury items.

  47. Ya know, I’d quite like to test an Aston martin DB9, I’m fed up with my 2nd hand small car, I want to see what the other side of the fence is like, a big beefy car, with a big beefy engine. They only sell for around £110,000, not a lot at all really if a very small percentage of the worlds driving population donate me £1 each.

    Any takers?

    No, thought not…..

    I have a job, this job pays me wages, I decide what I can and can’t buy based on those wages and the other things I have to buy. I don’t expect free computers from people just because….

    Earn some money, get on ebay, buy something…don’t ask me for handouts for luxury items.

  48. barter, don’t beg

    I actually hadn’t heard about Stefan’s online panhandling for donations to buy a new Mac until I read about it on Scoble’s blog today. I think it’s weak. Maybe it’s because I live and work in downtown Toronto and walk

  49. I wish you the best of luck in your quest for Mac. Your only 19 so it unlikely that you have a whole lot to barter with. It is amazing how quickly those who are raking in huge salaries forget what is like to be a starving student living on Ramen noodles. The decision to give comes from the heart and no one cause is any more deserving than any other.

  50. I wish you the best of luck in your quest for Mac. Your only 19 so it unlikely that you have a whole lot to barter with. It is amazing how quickly those who are raking in huge salaries forget what is like to be a starving student living on Ramen noodles. The decision to give comes from the heart and no one cause is any more deserving than any other.

  51. Ahh yes, the joys of panhandling online.

    I myself have been trying this route since January with limited success in order to pay off my ~$51k of remaining student loan debt over at http://www.brendansstudentloans.com.

    Believe it or not though I do agree with much of what has been said here and while there are often far better causes in the world that are worthy of donations… it’s a simple matter of advertising and traffic. Think about it, how often has Scoble or someone else linked you to a charity asking for money to help starving children? If such charities were to receive the kind of word of mouth that some of these begging campaigns get I would expect that people would be more willing to give their money to the better cause.

  52. “The hook is I jump to the 5% market share of Mac users.”

    And you must be the 0.000000000000000000001% of the 5% of mac users who are the leeching, give-me-everything-free type.

    I’m sure the mac users can’t wait to have you on board.

  53. Ahh yes, the joys of panhandling online.

    I myself have been trying this route since January with limited success in order to pay off my ~$51k of remaining student loan debt over at http://www.brendansstudentloans.com.

    Believe it or not though I do agree with much of what has been said here and while there are often far better causes in the world that are worthy of donations… it’s a simple matter of advertising and traffic. Think about it, how often has Scoble or someone else linked you to a charity asking for money to help starving children? If such charities were to receive the kind of word of mouth that some of these begging campaigns get I would expect that people would be more willing to give their money to the better cause.

  54. “The hook is I jump to the 5% market share of Mac users.”

    And you must be the 0.000000000000000000001% of the 5% of mac users who are the leeching, give-me-everything-free type.

    I’m sure the mac users can’t wait to have you on board.

  55. Hey, I don’t even want a MacBook, I just want a Mac mini. This is a great idea. If I can get Scoble and some mac sites to link to me, I’ll have it paid off in no time, and I promise I’ll blog about it.

    Most broke college kids I knew had better things to spend money on than a MacBook – like a cheaper computer that was more in their price range. I doubt it’d go over well if I sat at a freeway ramp with a sign that said “Need Mac 4 Graphic Arts. No Core Solo Please.”

  56. Hey, I don’t even want a MacBook, I just want a Mac mini. This is a great idea. If I can get Scoble and some mac sites to link to me, I’ll have it paid off in no time, and I promise I’ll blog about it.

    Most broke college kids I knew had better things to spend money on than a MacBook – like a cheaper computer that was more in their price range. I doubt it’d go over well if I sat at a freeway ramp with a sign that said “Need Mac 4 Graphic Arts. No Core Solo Please.”

  57. @27 I’ve not forgotten what it’s like and it’s been 20 years. No, the more likely sceanrio is that today’s generation is expecting immediate gratification and can’t comprehend the concept of working and saving and doing things for yourself.

  58. @27 I’ve not forgotten what it’s like and it’s been 20 years. No, the more likely sceanrio is that today’s generation is expecting immediate gratification and can’t comprehend the concept of working and saving and doing things for yourself.

  59. “Who is pious enough to say what man is deserving and isn’t?”

    I am. Go get a job and work like everyone else. You’re a freeloader and you know it.

  60. “Who is pious enough to say what man is deserving and isn’t?”

    I am. Go get a job and work like everyone else. You’re a freeloader and you know it.

  61. I like his blog. I think a lot of potential Mac switchers out there could benefit from reading some of his articles. He talks about the features of Mac OS X that he finds impressive. He talks about different applications, gives his reviews and asks for other people’s opinions. And you have to admit, he’s marketed his website pretty well. The whole idea elicits strong reactions from a lot of differnet people. And I wouldn’t be surprised if all the “negative” posts and links out there are actually driving a significant amount of traffic to his website, which ultimately helps him even more.

  62. I like his blog. I think a lot of potential Mac switchers out there could benefit from reading some of his articles. He talks about the features of Mac OS X that he finds impressive. He talks about different applications, gives his reviews and asks for other people’s opinions. And you have to admit, he’s marketed his website pretty well. The whole idea elicits strong reactions from a lot of differnet people. And I wouldn’t be surprised if all the “negative” posts and links out there are actually driving a significant amount of traffic to his website, which ultimately helps him even more.