Steve Jobs wanted to be Willy Wonka for a day

From Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success, by Ken Segall:

Steve's idea was to do a Willy Wonka with it. Just as Wonka did in the movie, Steve wanted to put a golden certificate representing the millionth iMac inside the box of one iMac, and publicize that fact. Whoever opened the lucky iMac box would be refunded the purchase price and be flown to Cupertino, where he or she (and, presumably, the accompanying family) would be taken on a tour of the Apple campus.

Steve had already instructed his internal creative group to design a prototype golden certificate, which he shared with us. But the killer was that Steve wanted to go all out on this. He wanted to meet the lucky winner in full Willy Wonka garb. Yes, complete with top hat and tails.

Gizmodo: Steve Jobs Wanted to Be Willy Wonka For a Day


  1. The whole thing would hinge on whether or not you could get the suicidal 14-year-olds who make them to do decent Oompa-Loompa impressions.

  2. I am an admitted Apple hater, but actually love the idea of the Golden Ticket promotion. It is a shame it never happened. 

    They would have to return production to the US to make that promotion happen today.

  3. I once saw a can of dog food that had a similar promotion.  The idea was that some lucky person would win the weight of the dogfood in gold or something like that. There was some fine print that read “winning can will not contain dog food”.  I always thought of the poor dog going “Hey, hey, hey, I’m hungry!, hey, hey!” as the owner freaked out. 

    1. A milk producer up here in Canada has a similar promotion, where when you open the carton, it will “moo” and you will have won a prize. But the winning cartons contain no milk. I always make sure to shake them, as I don’t want to be thirsty & end up with a coupon for a baseball cap.

  4. i really wish they would’ve been able to pull this off. it was a perfect idea. if there ever was a real-life equivalent to Wonka and his mysterious factory, it was Jobs and Apple.

  5. If it happened today, Tim Cook, dressed as Tim Cook, would bring you to a white clean room with no recording devices, then give you a standard 20  minute presentation; then he’d probably give you the chance of asking a maximum of three questions which can only touch the following topics:
    – Perfection of design in Apple products;
    – Advantages in using a smartcover;
    – New multitouch gestures;
    – Materials used in the Apple Genius badge string.

    The tour would end with a complimentary Apple sticker and a handshake from Jonathan Ive (via Facetime).

    Unfortunately, that was a “funky Steve Jobs from the 90’s” idea. Things are different now. Completely different.

    1.  “I said GOOD DAY!

      Would Jobs then turn the keys to the Foxconn plant over to the kid and tell him to get to work managing the “Ummpa Lummpas?”

      1. Of course.

        They’d travel on a glass elevator over to Foxconn. Luckily it was patented, putting off Mr. Slugworth. 

  6. I think Jobs was a real d0uche, and am not an Apply fan, THAT said… frickin’ cool a$$ idea I have to admit.

  7. This was at a time when Apple was falling below stall speed five thousand feet above the cold Atlantic with  a bunch of numskulls at the controls. To recover from that the new pilot had to do something thing different, so lets do that.

  8. As I recall, most of Willie Wonka’s guests did not leave alive.

    So yeah. A dick dresses as a dick. Seems like that could work.

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