The Barista Stole My App Idea – A Cautionary Tale

September 06, 2017

The Barista Stole My App Idea – A Cautionary Tale

Tommy and I rushed through the door of the coffee shop in an attempt to escape the Seattle style downpour that was beginning to fall. We shook the rainwater from our umbrellas and approached the counter.

“It’s getting pretty bad out there.” The barista noted unenthusiastically.

 “Uh, yeah, it is.” I responded just for the sake of responding, “I’ll have a soy latte.”

“And can I get a...” Tommy referenced the menu, even though the two of us come to this same shop at least three times a week.

“Just a coffee. Black.”

“Are those together or separate?

Tommy goes to say “separate” when I cut him off.

“I got this.”

“Are you sure?” Tommy asked, hesitating to put his card away.

“Yes, I’m completely sure. You’re looking at a soon-to-be multi-millionaire.”

“Oh I am? Well, in that case I’m getting a scone too.”

“Hold your roll, I said soon to be.” I said handing my card over.

“Are you talking about that app again?” Tommy asked visibly irritated.

“It’s a brilliant idea!” I defended as we moved aside to wait for our drinks. The barista kept a keen eye on me as he whipped up my latte.

“If it’s so brilliant, why won’t you tell me about it?” Tommy retorted.

“Because, I need to be first to market before I go around bragging.”

“Oh c’mon, like I would actually steal your idea!”

“It’s not that I don’t trust you... it’s just that this idea is... it’s a total game changer.”


“Alright, fine, just the gist” I relented, “I have been itching to tell somebody.”

I lowered my voice a little and motioned for Tommy to come closer. As the latter leaned in, as did the barista.

“You know how everybody hates bugs?” I asked excitedly.

“Uh, well, no, I mean there’s insectologists and –“

“No, like in your house. You know how everyone hates finding bugs in their house.”

“Sure, okay, I guess.”

“Well, most of that fear and hatred, I believe, comes from the unknown. You see a spider in your shower and you kill it – that fear doesn’t just go away. Your head starts to reel, you start to wonder what type of spider it was, whether or not it was poisonous, native to your area, did it lay eggs in your house? And suddenly, every hair ball on the floor or tickle of a t-shirt tag is a spider and you’re jumpier than a June bug.”

“Is that even a saying?” Tommy asked with a cynical edge.


“I am focused, I’m just waiting for when your app comes into play.”

“Right, so, it’s called What the Bug? and it’s a photo app that allows you to take pictures of these bugs before you kill them and send them into a data base. Which in turn, will send you a message identifying the bug, and telling you all kinds of facts. Maybe that spider is just a common house pest that’s harmless and doesn’t lay eggs in the carpet. Or, maybe it’s a brown recluse and you need to call an exterminator like yesterday! Tommy... this app will save lives.”

“Riiighht...” Tommy said as he grabbed our drinks and thanks the barista. “But can’t people just use Google?”

“No! Google will give you a number of possible options and next thing you know, you’ve mistaken a Japanese killer wasp for a bumblebee! It’s too risky.”

“Uh huh. Well, okay. I guess there’s something there...”

“Something there? There’s everything there! Ugh, you just don’t get it.”


We went to our favorite table in the back and changed the subject to Tommy’s new business venture within the world of in-house tattooing.

 A week later...

Sitting in this exact spot, Tommy and I are in the middle of discussing Tommy’s potential ink poisoning when I get a tech-news alert on my phone. I open up an article headlined Local Barista Launches Amazing new Insect Identifying App – Rockets to #1 in the App Store.


-Written by Sawyer Smith

Sawyer is a creative writer, bookworm, and movie-nerd. Sawyer attended the University of California, Santa Cruz and has years of experience writing creative, academic, and marketing pieces. Sawyer recently wrote a play that was picked up by several Fringe Festivals across the country.