From Interaction to Transaction

Business magazines and magnates are always talking about the hot industries and where people should be focusing their attention. Lately, instead of one specific vertical, it has been all about the on-demand economy. It covers everything from car service and grocery delivery to massages and oil changes. The food delivery market in the US alone is north of $600 billion.

Who doesn’t love being able to avoid the crowded aisles of a grocery store or have your favorite sandwich from a restaurant up the street just show up at your desk? I have to admit I’m a HUGE fan. When many services have little cost difference compared to me doing it myself, why not have someone else take care of it?

On-demand is like magic… but what kind of magic? I work at Atlanta Tech Village which prides itself on “Creating Engineered Serendipity”. Are these on-demand behemoths reducing the amount of serendipity we have? Think about it. No more running into that couple to sightsee with in the hotel because you are staying at an Airbnb on your own. The cute girl at the mall? Nope. You’ve got Trunk Club dropping off clothes. The overheard conversation that could lead to your next business partnership? Thing of the past with Postmates dropping off your favorite restaurant food.

I’m not saying any of these services are bad or something to avoid. I use several on-demand services myself and think they are GREAT. I just encourage you to use them to free up time for more spontaneous interactions and not to isolate yourself from the joy of happenstance.