Steve Jobs wanted to plant golden ticket with millionth iMac, give winner a tour of Apple in Willy Wonka garb

According to yet another Steve Jobs biography, Apple's late CEO wanted to hide a golden ticket with the millionth iMac computer and fly the winner out to Cupertino for a tour of the facilities. Jobs said he would even wear the Willy Wonka outfit for the whole thing. This was revealed by Ken Segall, an ex-Apple employee who handled the Think Different campaign back in the day, and helped design the original iMac. His book, Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success, just came out today; here's the excerpt detailing Jobs' golden ticket plans.

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.

Unfortunately, such a contest would require a purchase to enter, which is against California law, so it never happened. For all of the press heaped on Steve Jobs for being a relentless taskmaster, it's easy to forget sometimes that he actually had a pretty good sense of humor. If you've read Walter Isaacson's official biography, you will have heard about some of the shenanigans Steve Jobs got up to when he was younger, but it's good to see the playful streak lived on later in his career as well.

Still, it's kind of hard to imagine Steve Jobs in a top hat, isn't it?

You can order your copy of Insanely Great now from Amazon.

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Source: Insanely Great via MacRumors

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

  • I would have given anything to see Jobs do that Wonka roll when he meets his guests.
    "You stole prototype iPod touches! You lose! You get nothing! GOOD DAY, SIR!"
  • Would Apple employees dress as Oompa-Loompas?
  • '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.' That sounds very little like what Willy Wonka did.
    I also find it infuriating that the author of this book is unaware that Willy Wonka appeared in two books and two movies, not just 'in the movie'.
    Rant over. Time to relax and enjoy the thought of Steve Jobs dressed up as Wonka.
  • This would have been EPIC in at least 472 different ways!!!
  • so in california its illegal to purchase something to enter a competition
  • no, its illegal to hold a contest in which a purchase is necessary to partake in
  • That's dumb. Most every contest requires purchasing something in order to partake in it. How do they do the lotto? Hand out the tickets and then charge people after it's over? I think there is some misinformation around these woods.
  • The lottery doesn't want competition. ;)
  • I want an iPhone 5, daddy, and I want it NOW!
  • Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Brilliant!
  • At the end of the article you say the book is called Insanely Great instead of Insanely Simple. Insanely Great is a book by Steven Levy which is also a good book about Apple's early history.
  • "This would've been another example of Apple taking someone else's idea, and turning it into their own, and having the Kool-Aid drinkers saying, 'wow, no other company has ever done like Apple just did!'. All while Apple basked in the glory."
    Figured I'd beat someone to the punch...
  • Isn't it sad how predicable these comments have become.
  • Agreed. :D
  • Go back to your crappy android phone.
  • Sorry, rockin' a 4S.
  • How would it qualify as a contest unless it was used as a means for some cheesy marketing campaign to sell more iMacs? He could've placed the ticket in the package, done the deal all the while recording a series of impromptu commercials. He could've had just as much fun and gotten the exposure just the same.
  • Too bad - could have been an amazing story.