Welcome to the Instant Gratification Econonomy
August 16, 2014 11:12 AM Subscribe
A series from Re/code exploring the explosion of tech startups that cater to our every need and desire, on demand.
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Part one: I Want It, and I Want It Now — It’s Time for Instant Gratification
A decade ago, we got iTunes, and the ability to buy a song bought and delivered with the push of a button. Then Facebook helped us stay in touch with our spread-out friends and family from the comfort of our couch. Then Netflix DVDs started coming over the air instead of to our mailboxes. Now it’s not just Web pages that we can load up instantly, it’s the physical world.
Part two: It Takes a New Kind of Worker to Make “Instant” Happen
But it can be too easy to forget that people make “instant” happen. And, generally, these people are not a traditionally stable workforce. They are instead a flexible and scalable network of workers — “fractional employees” — that tap in and tap out as needed, and as suits them.
Part three: Can “Instant” Become a Viable Business?
The streets of San Francisco are bottlenecked by double-parkers: Sedans with bright Google Shopping Express stickers on the side carrying bags of online purchases inside, hulking UPS and FedEx trucks, and as of last December, AmazonFresh trucks for the company’s online grocery service. UPS paid $1.27 million for 14,552 parking tickets to the city of San Francisco in 2013, according to the city’s municipal transportation agency. That’s up from $673,000 for 11,788 tickets in 2006. It’s just part of the cost of doing business.
Part four: Instant Replay: The Second Coming of On-Demand Delivery
Many people who remember the dot-com bust, or who know how to do math, are skeptical that same-day delivery can be a sustainable business. But you know who thinks reliving the instant-gratification boom again is a good idea? The people who did it the first time — even after they crashed and burned in millennium-ending style.