Apple fan boy to donate house to charity if e-book gets 1m downloads

14 May 2012

Pictured: Rob Shoesmith's house which he says he plans to donate to charity

After penning an account of his 10 days camping adventure outside an Apple Store in London in time for the launch of the iPhone 4S last year, Rob Shoesmith says he will give his house to charity if his new book documenting his adventure sells 1m copies on Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks.

Shoesmith’s camping adventure on the street saw him connect with dozens of homeless people in London.

It also resulted in generating stg£30,000 worth of sponsorship from 100 companies worldwide. It also resulted in a belly dancer travelling from Scotland to entertain him, a hairdresser cutting his hair outside the Apple Store as well as numerous gadgets and camping equipment.

Shoesmith says that if his new book ‘Bin There Done That’ reaches a 1m downloads his home will be sold at market value and 100pc of the value will be donated to a homeless charity.

He found success in 2009 when his agony aunt iPhone app Problem Halved was submitted to California app incubator MEDL.

He decided to offer his house to charity after realising that just giving a percentage to charity won’t cut it.

Humbling experience

Recalling his camping experience last year he said: “After setting up my camp, a homeless man of my age approached me and asked me what I was doing. I explained the experiment and he then offered me some slices of bread, saying ‘I don’t have much to give you, but I want you to help you with your experiment.’ I felt incredibly humbled and overwhelmed at this mans generosity. 

“Throughout the course of my 10 day camp out the homeless people outside the Apple Store played a huge part in helping me get through to the end, and I was motivated to stick with it so I could give away some of the camping equipment to people who really did need it! Before coming into the world of smartphone apps I was suffering with severe anxiety and depression and without the support of my family and friends I could have possibly ended up on the streets.


Shoesmith outside the Apple Store in London last year awaiting his iPhone 4S

“It would be very easy to rattle a collection tin outside a supermarket, collecting some loose change for a homeless charity and patting myself on the back, but I know I can do more!

“I’ve decided to aim for 1 million downloads to capture peoples’ attention and do something different, which will hopefully raise awareness for anxiety and depression sufferers and the homeless. I want the book to inspire people,” Shoesmith said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years