We last spoke to Rob Shoesmith back in November 2011, where he shared with us his incredible 10 night camping experience outside the Apple Store in Central London. Whilst awaiting the arrival of the new iPhone, Rob survived the tough streets of London using only donated equipment from companies and sponsors and met some inspirational homeless people along the way.
Here at iPhoneAppCafe, we are truly impressed by Rob’s drive and dedication and have invited him back to discover more about his latest charitable endeavours.
iPhoneAppCafe:Hi Rob, It’s a pleasure to have you join us once again on iPhoneAppCafe and we are eager to discover your latest craze of events! So, since we last spoke to you, you have been working on your debut Apple iBook release titled ‘Bin There Done That’. Tell us about the inspiration behind the book and how it came about?
Rob: Whilst in line for the iPhone, the last thing I was expecting was to come into as much contact with the homeless as I did.
Here is an extract from the book.
“Excuse me mate what are doing?” asked a homeless man named Terry.
“Oh God, I’m going to get a lot of hassle from THEM” I thought. Admittedly, at the time, I was being extremely ignorant.
“Camping for up to a month for the iPhone buddy” was my reply. Terry explained to me that he had been homeless for a couple of months and had a real passion for Apple products.
Then something happened that I could have never envisaged when preparing for my experiment. Terry opened a shopping bag and pulled out a MacBook. I was taken aback. You just don’t expect to see someone living on the streets to have an expensive item like a MacBook in their possession.
“This is the one thing that keeps me sane whilst living rough; I cherish and look after it as if it was my child” commented Terry. To most Apple fans a MacBook is a prized possession they claim they could not live without but in Terry’s case it most certainly was! He went on to say that he often frequented the Apple Store to connect to their free Wi-Fi to download films. “Every night I pitch a tent in London’s Hyde Park and settle down to watch a film. It helps me escape the hell I’m living in. It’s the one thing that helps me connected to the world I miss.”
Before Terry disappeared into the vast London crowds he offered me something to help me with my experiment. “I don’t have a lot to give you” said Terry and offered me his last slice of bread. I was gobsmacked. Terry had nothing but was prepared to go hungry. This had such a profound effect upon me.
iPhoneAppCafe:Wow, it sounds like you encountered some life changing moments there. You have pledged to give away your home to a homeless charity after 1 Million copies of the iBook have been sold. Was it this experience that has made you decide to do something so drastic and awe-inspiring?
Rob: I camped out for 10 nights and by the end of the experiment I was a physical and mental wreck. It had taken its toll. I had top-notch camping equipment and still found it incredibly tough. Some of these people had been there years and I just couldn’t compute the thought of being there for so long.
They were hugely inspirational to me and helped me through the 10 days and I now want to do my bit to help.
My book also talks about how the world of iPhone apps had picked me up from rock bottom. I was in a bad place suffering with extreme anxiety and depression and it talks about how apps bought colour back into my life.
I’m looking to raise awareness and try and break the stigma attached to mental health along the way as well.
iPhoneAppCafe:We think it’s amazing how apps have had such a positive impact in your life and how you can now use this to raise awareness for a good cause. I guess it shows just how much apps have revolutionised the way users can find help to their individual needs in a non-invasive and personal way. How have companies and charities been responding to your incredibly generous offer?
Rob: I have spoken with a few charities but I just want to make sure I choose the right charity where the money would be donated too.
iPhoneAppCafe:You became involved with app development back in 2009 with the release of your agony aunt style app Problem Halved. Do you have any other app releases or iBook’s in the pipeline?
Rob: I always have ideas for apps but as of right now I’m so busy promoting apps for MEDL Mobile, so I don’t have the time to explore these ideas further.
I am currently planning a new experiment for 2012, which will hopefully be a whole lot of fun and will require tech and social media fans to come and help me!
Depending on what happens, I imagine a new book to be released after this new challenge so watch this space!
iPhoneAppCafe:How are you planning to top this amazing charitable event in the future? Can you spare us some details?
Rob: As mentioned above, I have a new experiment in the pipeline that is currently being planned. What I can tell you is that it does not involve camping at an Apple Store again! I like to come up with fresh ideas with new different challenges that I must overcome.
I also have an idea for 2013, which some people would perceive as very dangerous and a bit odd.
iPhoneAppCafe:This all sounds very interesting and I’m sure our readers are all intrigued by what you have planned for the future!
Rob, on behalf of all the team here at iPhoneAppCafe, we would like to wish you the best of luck in reaching your 1 million target and urge all our readers to back you too!
Please stay in touch, as we are always keen to hear about your latest ventures.
You can obtain your copy of ‘Bin There Done That’ by following the links below: