I was chatting over coffee today with Jim Schachter of the NY Times, updating him on Speakertext's progress and talking about the divide between what NYT has done w journalism on the web vs what NYT has done with the business of journalism on web. We got on the topic of iPhones and I threw something out there that I want to expand on and share with you all…

The New York Times iPhone app should offer location-based Starbucks coupons. Here's how it would work:

  • Each time someone opens up the NYT iPhone app, the app would find the user's location via GPS
  • Based on the user's location, the app would direct him/her to the nearest Starbucks, and render both the user's and the Starbucks location on a map via the Google Maps API, offering optional turn-by-turn directions
  • At Starbucks, the user could call up the coupon in the app, have it render a unique discount code (or bar code??) full-screen on the phone, and then show the coupon to the cashier in exchange for a $1 discount off of his/her order
  • The Starbucks cashier scans/records the code, which Starbucks tracks in a database
  • The NY Times gets paid a percentage of the total sales
  • Users who don't like Starbucks can opt-out of the coupon offers

Boom. Everyone wins: The user, Starbucks, and the NY Times

Here's why it makes sense: Starbucks and the NYT have a lot of overlap in terms of customer demographics. People also like to hangout and read the NYT at Starbucks. Both are national brands, and now that the NYT has an iPhone app, both physically ubiquitous.

And it would be WAY better than the current stupid Mastercard nag screeen they've got going on.