Sunday, February 7, 2016

Consumer Apps: On-Demand Economy Jumps the Shark

 From Fortune:

Consumer Apps Jump the Shark
There’s too much of a good thing happening.

For the past few months, anytime I scroll through my Facebook feed, I’ve been rewarded with a bounty of new tools and services being pitched to me to make my life easier. There’s Homepolish, the Uber of home decorating that will send a real, licensed interior decorator to my house for the fraction of the price of a traditional professional. Ever since I clicked on the company’s website, I’ve been getting bombarded with ads for a number of Homepolish competitors. Zeel provides same-day, in-home massages on demand for the same price or slightly less than I’d pay visiting a spa. The other day an ad for Parachutes appeared for the first time, a new startup that will ship high-end, low-priced bedding to my door, then let me sleep on it for 30 days before committing to buying it.

These services join a litany of others. There are six or seven different personal styling startups, and an entire cottage industry of home-delivery meal kit startups. Casper sells high-quality mattresses for less than $1000, lets you sleep on it for 100 nights, and will pick it up and refund your money if you don’t like it. Washio will pick up, wash and deliver my laundry; Shyp will pick up and mail my packages; Taskrabbit and Postmates will do almost any errand I want them to. Hello Alfred will give me my own personal butler for the low weekly price of $25.

Many of these services are derivations of Uber, the ride-sharing juggernaut and the granddaddy of on-demand anything. With Uber, I can now get a chauffeured ride to work for around $20. And yet even from its perch at the top of the on-demand ecosystem, Uber is sweetening the pot, too: a few weeks ago it announced a surprise one-day reduction of prices in many cities, mine included, by 15%....MORE
True confessions. I saw Homepolish and misread it as Home Polish and immediately thought of this Reuters story from yesterday:

In February, Chicago goes crazy for 'paczki' as donuts go gourmet
The Business Of Instant Gratification Appears to Have Promise
McKinsey: "Our gambling culture--The craving for immediate gratification has spread well beyond Wall Street."
"The Rise of the On-Demand Economy"
UPDATED--It's The Uber For....Ah Screw It: On Demand Condoms Delivered In Under An Hour
Marketed to whom? Guys whose priapism makes a walk to the corner store less than comfortable?
Shakes the Clown meth-binging and frenetically making balloon animals?
Who needs the service?  
As the Economy Gets Ever Better at Satisfying our Immediate, Self-serving Needs, Who is Minding the Future?


See also yesterday's "Smartphone-Enabled 3D Replicators Are Still 3-5 Years Away, Caltech Professor Says":
I want my iPhone 3D replicator NOW!
But no, it's always nanophotonic coherent imager tomorrow, never nanophotonic coherent imager today.*...