Amazon Dash, Amazon Prime, delivery drones and instantaneous gratification. “I want it now” is one of the big trends in tech at the moment, as if waiting a day or so for that new T-shirt is suddenly unacceptable. It feels like the ultimate end-point of consumerism; the asymptote (for all you maths-nerds out there) of a curve that started in the fifties and accelerated with the advent of e-commerce.
Since the mid-nineties, we’ve been hearing of the benefits of having a fridge that will re-order milk and a washing machine that will autonomously replenish detergent. Sure enough, the 2015 version has arrived with a tie-up between AmazonDash and GE Appliances. Both very laudable companies, but this hardly qualifies as saving the world. What’s different now with the 2015 vintage of this trend is the sheer volume, scale and audacity of the ‘instant availability’ industry. I mean, do I really need the skies swarming with drones so that I can get my detergent in under an hour? Especially given that it takes me approximately 3 minutes to get to my local shop (owned by a member of our community) to buy from a wide range of detergents thank you very much.
I understand that companies like Amazon have to be seen to be delivering the next big thing, but do VCs need to keep funding startups that will do your ironing in less than five minutes (there probably is one, but I haven’t checked)?
There are some serious problems in the world that could usefully harness the best brains and without wishing ill on the instant-delivery industry, I hope that we can get through this fad as quickly as possible so we can get back to the serious job of saving the world…