Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Reddit so often serves up interesting content, particularity through its Ask Me Anything feature, and the latest AMA is no exception. It features Brian Hogan, better known as the guy who found a protoype iPhone 4 in a bar in 2010 and sold it to Gizmodo.
A lot of people are amazed by Hogan’s story, which he says he doesn’t often discuss. As a 21-year-old he stumbled across an unreleased version of a game-changing phone by mistake, but his AMA is largely a tale of regret, though he accepts he has an “amazing” story.
He alleges that he never got paid the money that Gizmodo promised him for the phone, and was hounded by investigators, Apple and a back-stabbing flatmate to the point that he and his family relocated to a hotel for a week. Later, he broke up with his girlfriend which he says was down to the stress of media attention.
These days he owns a PC and has a Samsung Galaxy S3, perhaps unsurprisingly.
If that strikes a chord of interest with you, then we recommend that you zip over to Reddit (direct link) now. Here are a few of the more interesting nuggets from the AMA.
How much money did you make from the entire episode?
Gizmodo told me they would give me $5,000 for the story, and another $3,000 after it was confirmed by Apple to be real. They knew that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to ask for the $3,000 after the story aired, but I didn’t. I ended up having to hire and expensive lawyer and had to pay him much much more than $5,000.
Why not leave it with the bar management? That seems like the most appropriate thing you could have done. The owner would surely check there. People leave stuff at bars all the time.
Yeah I agree with you, I should have done that! I was 21, drunk, and I didn’t think about that at the time however.
How did the ordeal affect your relationships with your friends/family?
It was extremely tough on my family, there were news vans in front of my house and we ended up staying at a hotel in the east bay for a week until they left. My name got out in the media because my girlfriend at the time made a Facebook post about it, which I asked her to delete, but the press found her and she couldn’t deal with all the stress that followed and we broke up maybe 3 months after that.
There’s a lesson in here about finding cool phones at bars: proceed with caution, people.
Other AMAs we loved include Snoop
Dogg Lion, astronaut Chris Hadfield and President Obama (we know he’s rightly under-pressure for PRISM right now but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s impressive to see a US President take to Reddit).
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