by Nicholas Stehle
May 11, 2015

We’ve written quite a bit about Uber, the market-disrupting car service that has taken the nation – and indeed the world – by storm.

Because Uber’s business model has been so profitable, many entrepreneurs are taking the principles involved in making the transportation start-up a success and applying them to other industries. The Wall Street Journal‘s Geoffrey Fowler writes:

A concierge economy is sprouting up on phones, and no place more so than in my city of San Francisco, the capital of Internet La La Land. These startups like to say they’re just like Uber, the car service that has upended transportation, because they use phones to connect customers with nearby workers on demand.

There’s an Uber for everything now. Washio is for having someone do your laundry, Sprig and SpoonRocket cook your dinner and Shyp will mail things out so you don’t have to brave the post office. Zeel delivers a massage therapist (complete with table). Heal sends a doctor on a house call, while Saucey will rush over alcohol. And by Jeeves, cutesy names are part of the schtick—Dufl will pack your suitcase and Eaze will reup a medical marijuana supply.

Fowler took a week trying out these services, including the arrangement and delivery of mimosas and a massage.

The services he tried out might or might not survive, and even if they make it, those of us who live outside of a handful of large cities may not be fortunate enough to get access to them. On the other hand, some of them might catch on in flyover country.

Still, everyone values time differently. One way to measure a service app’s value is by the hassle it replaces. Paying an $8 premium to have Postmates deliver a gourmet family dinner might seem a small price to a harried parent. And Postmates is available in 14 states—far more than most other services I tried.

What’s a luxury anyway? Nobody calls Uber a “limousine service” anymore—they just call Uber. A lot.

Indeed. We’re just happy that so many new business owners are making life easier for millions of Americans.


— Nicholas Stehle is Vice President of Operations at The Martin Organization.