The world is a place of amazing possibilities and more often than not, we have the ability today to do things we only dreamed of as kids. Our children are growing up with the idea of “instant everything.”
If you want to purchase something and have it the same day or the next day, it is very possible today that you can order what you want online and get it that day or even that next hour. Uber has become a household name beyond simplification for picking people up. The reality is that instant gratification happens in multiple directions. The people receiving a service, the people providing a service and the people that potentially own the franchise or organization that governs the service.
It is easy to do almost anything today and we the people are consuming these services in both micro transactions like in application purchases or services fees and in high quantities like Amazon. Regardless of how we feel about these services, they are here in our world and changing the way we behave and do business.
Something that strikes me here is that a lot of these services have been around for a very long time, they just weren’t application based and they weren’t available to the general public. One of the key factors here is accessibility in terms of affordability. Limo drivers were around for many years, you would have required enough money to have them “be available” for you as an individual. Take a look at the list below of “uberfied” businesses and think about who the target audience and accessibility was prior to application based availability. (source: http://digitalintelligencetoday.com/the-uberfication-of-everything-master-list-of-uber-inspired-businesses/)
- Uber for Liquor Delivery: Saucey, Drizly, Minibar…
- Uber for Cannabis Delivery: Eaze, Canary…
- Uber for Errands: TaskRabbit…
- Uber for Odd Jobs: GladlyDo
- Uber for Hotel Rooms: HotelTonight
- Uber for Beauty Services: Swan, Stylebee, StyleSeat, Manicube
- Uber for Home Cleaning: Handybook, Homejoy
- Uber for Car Repairs: YourMechanic
- Uber for Babysitting: Urban Sitter…
- Uber for Pizza Delivery: Push for Pizza…
- Uber for Medical Equipment: Cohealo
- Uber for Quiet Spaces: Breather
- Uber for Vet (Home Visit): VetPronto
- Uber for Dog Sitters: DogVacay
- Uber for in-home Massage: Massage, UnwindMe, Zeel, Soothe
- Uber for Doctor House-call: Medicast, Pager
- Uber for Doctor (Remote) Consultation: Doctor on Demand, dvisit
- Uber for Courier Deliveries: Deliv, Postmates, Shyp
- Uber for locksmiths: KeyMe, KeysDuplicated
- Uber for Childcare/School Run: KangaDo…
- Uber for Dry Cleaning/Laundry: Cleanly, Dashlocker, Washio, Flycleaners
- Uber for Hotel Dry Cleaning: Oliom
- Uber for Mobile Repairs iCracked
- Uber for Removals: Moveline
- Uber for Lawnmowing: Lawnstarter, Plowz&Mowz…
- Uber for Restaurant Home Delivery: Seamless
- Uber for Taxis: Lyft… Sidecar: This ridesharing company, also based in the Bay Area, promises the “lowest prices on the road.” Available in 10 major U.S. cities, Sidecar aims to match riders with “everyday people” driving their personal cars. But unlike other services that rack up a fare as you go, Sidecar asks riders to enter their destination and offers a selection of pre-set prices, along with ETAs, which the rider can choose from. The company also offers a cheaper “Shared Rides” carpooling option like Lyft Line and Uber Pool.
- Flywheel: Taxi companies are using apps like Flywheel to re-disrupt the disruptors. Currently in San Francisco, L.A. and Seattle, Flywheel allows users to order a taxi on-demand and have payments made automatically through the app. The ride likely won’t be as fancy as an Uber black car or as cheap as an UberX, but there’s no surge pricing and the company is brokering deals to allow scheduled rides to airports, places where ridesharing companies are typically non grata.
- Curb: In August, Taxi Magic launched as the rebranded Curb, broadening their focus beyond providing licensed taxis on-demand to include fancier cars-for-hire (like Uber black cars) in some of the 60 markets where Taxi Magic was already working with fleets. Unlike most of the other app-based services, customers have the option of paying with cash rather than through the app. The refreshed company is also working on launching pre-scheduled rides, to the airport and beyond.
- Hailo: Another e-hail company that works with licensed cabs, Hailo is focused on the European market, having launched in London in 2011. (betrayed by their slogan, “the black cab app.”) In October, the company announced it would be closing operations in U.S. cities like New York, Chicago and Boston, shifting their eye to growth in Asia and, perhaps, re-entering the U.S. market in a few years. In September, the company launched an innovative feature that allows users to pay for the bill in a street-hailed taxi through the app.
- Summon: The rebranded and overhauled InstaCab, Summon is an on-demand service that has a hybrid approach, offering both taxi e-hails and cheaper peer-to-peer “personal rides” with a no-surge-price promise. Summon is currently available only in the Bay Area, but the company said earlier this year they plan to expand to L.A., Boston and New York. The startup offers pre-scheduled rides through their Summon Ahead program, including fixed-rate rides to surrounding airports, with a journey to San Francisco’s SFO costing a mere $35.
- RubyRide: Based in Phoenix, Ariz., and founded in 2013, RubyRide is a fledgling subscription-based startup that bills itself less as a taxi replacement and more as a replacement for owning a car. A basic plan that allows unlimited pre-scheduled pickups and drop-offs within certain “zones” like Downtown Phoenix costs $299 per month. The company offers limited on-demand service but plans to expand their options—including replacing rides to and from the dry cleaners, say, with delivering members’ dry cleaning—as they grow.
- Shuddle: Dubbed “Uber for kids,” this San Francisco startup positions itself as an app for lightening Mom’s load. Parents can pre-book rides to take kids (who aren’t old enough to drive themselves) to sports practice or school. With safety the obvious concern, the company institutes layers of checks beyond thoroughly screening employees: drivers are given passwords they have to use before picking up kids; parents are given photos of the drivers and cars and can monitor the trip through their app. Drivers must have their own kids or have worked with kids. The company’s first 100 drivers, which they call “caregivers,” are all female. (SHUTDOWN)
- Uber for Home Maintenance RatedPeople, HouseCall, RedBeacon
- Uber for Home Decoration: PaintZen
- Uber for Home Deliveries: Anyvan, Doorman, Instacart, UberRUSH
- Uber for Dog Walking: Wortheem Swifto, Urban Leash, Trottr
- Uber for Private Jets: BlackJet
- Uber for City Parking: ParkingPanda, MonkeyParking, SpotHero…
- Uber for Language Tuition: Cambli
- Uber for Storage [Valet]: Caddy, MakeSafe, Boxbee
- Uber for Bodyguards: Bannerman…
- Uber for Tow Service: Honk
Build Your Own, Be Your Own, Do Your Own
Another aspect of this on-demand concept is that we can do things on our own now more than ever. The ability to build things, learn and do are in our hands. Justin Bieber came from YouTube and many others emerged from everywhere. In fact, today you can create your own music or raps right from an application. I did one for you guys in 3 minutes called “Instant Gratification“
Making things “easy” is why different businesses exist in the first place. Think about it. You do something and you are trading it with someone else that does something else so that you don’t have to do it. I believe this gets lost in concept. Now we are making things easy that shouldn’t be. We are setting expectations for our children that everything is “instant” and “on demand.” At this moment as I write, we can’t get fat or fit in a day. There are natural mechanisms that are intertwined with our humanity. I have to ask, when should we make certain things more difficult as opposed to easier.
The instant mentality resides in our corporate world today. If something goes wrong we want immediate results to resolve the problem. Even if nature doesn’t allow for instant results. I suppose the Japanese would want Fukushima to be resolved immediately, but there is no app for that. A recent story in the Japanese news talks about revival of some business in that area . We should be cautious and temper our desires for easy, fast and instant.
Another aspect of this is the immediacy of a rise and fall in businesses. The tale of Theranos comes to mind as Elizabeth Holmes became an instant billionaire and now she is becoming an instant example of how fast is too fast.
What if we consider a dialogue on waiting. In other words, consider and focus on long term strategies with long term goals and long term considerations. The need for immediacy is clearly important as well but not for everything. I enjoy going to an online store and getting my shoes the next day. At the same time, when I go to the doctors office, I don’t want to be placed on a conveyor belt and automatically diagnosed by the doctors mobile application. Today you can be diagnosed remotely without even being touched. That being said, my last doctor spent more time tooling around on his IPhone vs asking me questions. I asked if I should pay him or WebMD.
We must consider that easy doesn’t always mean electronically delivered and lacking personal touch. We should also consider that “on demand” should be tempered with “the right response” To give the best response possible, it still takes critical thinking and human intervention. We must strive towards balance as we digitally engage in that we should not digitally decouple.