The point is, in case you truly didn't get it, is that these guys are a scrappy start-up (which, we hope, isn't burning money into a fiery pit of despair), and Webvan is a too-big-for-its-britches lumbering incumbent.
Good luck guys - Instacart seems like it's got amazing potential and I hope you guys do wonderfully.
Start-ups that 'succeed' (buyouts, etc) for their founders can still fail before making any real difference in the actual marketplace.
Nothing against Instacart, but that first picture must become like the second before history will call them 'successful'
Also, "historically notable" is a pretty high bar you're setting.
Finally, I'm sure Instacart hopes to reach that kind of scale eventually. But they don't want to start there because again, that's how you fail spectacularly and lose tons of money without giving people something they want.
And for those who aren't aware, WebVan attempted to do roughly the same thing over 10 years ago in the dotcom boom and was a poster child of the famous crash.
Now that I have a job and live a few blocks from the nearest store and have a car, is it right to pay someone else to do my shopping for me? Am I really that lazy? Do I really value other's time less than my own? I have often pondered these questions ever since services like Taskrabbit started and I saw people (able-bodied 20-somethings) using TR to do things like screw new light bulbs in.
So I'm not saying services like this shouldn't exist, because there is clearly a need...but I worry about what it means for our culture.
If you think it's worthwhile to do your own grocery shopping, then you may do so. But there's nothing wrong with paying someone else for a service.
It's not a cultural failure to hire someone to do something you could do yourself, but rather wouldn't. Someone who is on TaskRabbit delivering groceries probably isn't using a bicycle, can get better at it than you can by combining deliveries, and can make money at the same time. It's a win for both parties.
I'm not saying its an immoral service. I'm implying that "distributed labor" startups are problematic for me to participate in as a customer because I find the notion of spinning up people like we do servers to do tasks that I can buy my way out of to be problematic.
I love Instacart, I use it almost every day! Glad to see some big name investors agree.
I also plan to integrate Instacart in one of my features, and see how it can happen.
Applied to YC this batch.
What you think ?
I also love that you guys have an Android app now. Makes it much more accessible!