The invention of the modern day washing machine must have been a huge load of everyone’s back. I can’t comprehend how long it must have taken households to wash all the clothes in their family. It seems like this would take hours and hours of manual labor. Then the washing machine was invented and we all benefited from having more free time. Every household had more time to do what we wanted to do instead of what we hand to do. Think of how much time we have saved as a society because of the washing machine invention.
The on demand revolution is going to free up even more time and possibly eliminate running errands forever. I often spend an entire Saturday running errands for things I have to do, when I’d rather be doing something else. A standard errand day involves me getting up at 10am, going to get my oil changed, driving to Costco, filling up gas, shopping at Costco, going to the pharmacy, cooking food, and then it’s already 8pm. An entire day spent running errands.
In the near future, I’ll be able to eliminate most of these errands. I’ll have groceries delivered to my house on a weekly basis, I won’t need to fill up gas since a driverless Uber will pick me up and drop me off, I’ll order anything from the pharmacy via an on demand delivery app, and I’ll order food to my door step. As I write this, I can already eliminate most of these tasks, but it’s not perfect enough for me to get rid of my car, and I can’t order on demand for everything.
The on demand ecosystem is going to free up so much time for humans, it is our modern day washing machine. When the cost to use on demand services is cheaper than doing it ourselves, on demand will become the standard.
For example on Saturday night, I wanted to get something to eat and thought about going to pick up food at one of my goto restaurants down the road. I opened up my Uber Eats app and the delivery fee from one of my favourite restaurants was $3.95 for the delivery. I thought about the work required to get the food if I wanted to pick it up. I would have to call the restaurant, drive my car to the restaurant, pay for gas, pay for parking, wait for my food at the restaurant if it wasn’t ready, and then pay for my food with credit or cash, drive back home, and park my car. It would have taken me longer and it would have been more expensive to pickup the food myself. Unless I want fresh air, there was no logical or financial explanation for why I would ever go pick up my food again.
Another night, I was planning to go out in the city and didn’t want to drink and drive. So I had the option of taking an Uber or public transportation. Public transportation was $3.25 while my Uber as $7. Using public transportation I would have to: walk to the closest station, buy a ticket, wait for the subway, sit on the subway, walk from my station to my destination. Now my Uber was almost double the cost, but I simply went on my app, got in the car, and got out at my destination. My Uber was more than twice the cost of public transportation, so there is a lot of room for argument on what is better long term financially. What about when Uber is the same price as public transportation? Or even cheaper? Would anyone ever take the subway besides nostalgia? One could make the argument that public transportation doesn’t have to deal with traffic , not in Toronto with streetcars. When on demand services become the same price or cheaper than our regular way of doing things, it becomes the new standard.
The on demand future is not coming, it’s already here. We will see many more innovations with on demand services that will remove the errands from our lives. As we develop the on demand economy and the price for convenience becomes cheaper than any alternative, we won’t have many errands that we will have to run. We will have way more time. The only question is, how will you be spending your time?