Welcome to the new economy: in the WSJ, Geoffrey Fowler recounts his experience living off of service-based apps:
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 […]
Life sure is easy when you let your apps do the walking, but I learned they’re not only for the lazy. Most provided great service and, to my surprise, some have ingenious new business models that actually saved me money. It’s just not clear how many will make sense outside dot-com Camelots like San Francisco—or even still be in business in a year.
Apps are creating jobs and even industries—removing life’s inconveniences for reasonable amounts of money, sometimes even at a saving—because technology offers ways of doing things cheaply that in previous times couldn’t be done at all.
It will take time for human ingenuity to figure out the various services that can be done this way and to harness the awesome (and still-growing) power of information technology to meet the needs and wants of human beings going about their lives. Many of the new ideas and companies will fail, but many will also succeed, making our lives richer and better. Lots of people are going to get wealthy, many more will be able to make a living in ways past generations couldn’t even imagine, and a vibrant new information-based service economy will increasingly take the place of the industrial economy that no longer works very well.
As we already see, the Europeans will be too busy trying to regulate the internet and stop it from disrupting the existing economy to take full advantage of its powers for a while. The U.S., less inhibited and more willing to live with the costs of disruption, will find likely find its way to a new kind of prosperity while many other countries are still fighting to preserve a way of life that is no longer sustainable.