My first thought with these services is always "that's cool!". I'll save time, won't have to bother with some boring task etc, no more inconvenience! Same reaction with Instacart. Then I questioned that reaction. The store where I buy all my food is roughly a 100m away from my apartment, and it takes me roughly 10 minutes to get there, buy food and get back. Yet I still find it inconvenient. And after I get rid of that inconvenience, there will be something else that will start to bother me, a smaller inconvenience than the last one, but still bothersome. So where does it stop? I always think of those kids you see around, whose life has been completely removed of all unpleasantness by their overprotective parents, and who are spoiled/irritating beyond belief. Will we all turn into that?
Expanding on that, we probably won't all turn into that in the near future, because the inconvenience that we'll have removed will be taken care of by another human being, who in turn will take on all the unpleasantness. So there will be a class of people who do all of the "boring" work so the top class can "do what they want". It's already long established in things like house-cleaning, gardening etc. And the argument I get into is, why do "we" get to do what we want, and "they" get to do the work we (and in most cases they) find a waste of time. The counter-argument I get is it's a job, people get paid, and people can make any work enjoyable for themselves, even if it's picking up groceries/laundry for others. And I argue that if they can make any work enjoyable for themselves, why the hell don't we make picking up groceries/laundry enjoyable for ourselves? Or is making a boring task enjoyable again reserved for that other class of people, who don't have the means to avoid it?
This is quite a tangent, and I still think it's a cool idea, we're all working on projects which serve to remove pain-points for people, and abstracted away, you could argue my points for any business in the world.
Still, I'd like a start-up that instead of shifting my inconvenience to other people, removes my feeling of inconvenience itself. Once someone teaches me that, I'll be set for life. Maybe we can revive Marcus Aurelius and give him a few million dollars.
You don't need anyone to teach you this, you already know. All you need to do is pay attention.
You'll get unhappy if you think of your trip to the grocery store as an unpleasant thing you need to "get over with" so you can do... what exactly? Laze on the couch? Is that your perfect day? All tasks become pleasant when you put your full attention into them. The suffering only occurs when you wish you were doing something else.
I sometimes think what I'd do if I were a billionaire. I'd buy a huge yacht and fill it with models. And lots of property everywhere. But then maybe I'd spend all my time managing my yacht, my properties, and my portfolio. Hold on, that doesn't sound like fun at all. Maybe I'd hire managers for the yacht and the properties... then I'd spend all my time managing the managers. Doesn't sound like fun either.
Maybe I'd sit on a beach and do nothing. But then I could do that right now. Ta.
A program that instills resiliency into people (a dual n-back for virtue) would change humanity forever. I could see it happening through future versions of the Oculus Rift.
They still have to go home and do their laundry.
Funding and celebrating startups should evaluate the value that is offered to users and to the people who staff the companies. There's a lot of workers who are going to get the shit end of the value proposition here.
a start-up that instead of shifting my inconvenience to other people, removes my feeling of inconvenience itself
I don't think getting a stoic to do your laundry will have the desired effect. I get what you're saying. But this is a matter of right tool for the right job. Marcus Aurelius for figuring out if you should do your own laundry or use Prim. Laundry services for doing the laundry if Marcus says it needs doing.
This kind of dynamic is not with hard to beat I think.
Are you or aren't you describing the whole of non-medical, non-moon landing human technological progress? (Yes, 'progress' is a loaded word, but depending on your perspective, that may be the point.)
Neolithic Rev. onward, it's been specialize, optimize, specialize, optimize. What's Excel do that you can't do with an abacus?