Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Last Call For Anything You Want

The Internet Service Economy(tm) reaches its nadir. TechCrunch's Sarah Burh introduces us to Magic.

Get sushi on a boat, a tiger at your door, or make your parking ticket vanish into thin air. An ambitious new startup says it will let you text for anything you want (and they do mean anything) as long as it’s legal, and it will magically come to you. 
Just text 408-596-5017 and Magic, a texting service that seems to have blown up over the weekend, promises to deliver. 
Magic is only 48 hours old, but we’re told it has already had over 17,000 text messages as of this morning. Someone added Magic to Product Hunt over the weekend and it was No. 1 on Hacker News within 20 minutes. 
Requests have ranged from help getting out of court to a tiger delivered to a customer’s door, according to co-founder Mike Chen. 
Magic seems to have blown up because of what I call “Product Hunt Effect” (similar to the “TechCrunch Effect“). A small startup with a simple idea gets posted on Product Hunt and it’s flooded with more traffic than it knows what to do with. 
Chen seemed overwhelmed when I spoke to him. “I had zero idea it would get like this. You know people say things happen overnight and I didn’t believe them before and now it’s happening to me,” he told me over the phone. 
The original idea was to create a service using text messaging instead of going through several steps on an app to order food, a driver or other things people might want. “Something like DoorDash or Postmates you have to manage it a bit,” Chen said. 
So this last Saturday his team put together a simple site with a number to text that would try to give you anything you want, as long as it’s legal and you are willing to pay the price.

And off to the races Magic goes.

Magic charges a fee on top of the cost of the products or services you're requesting, essentially acting as a middleman for services like Instacart or Seamless that are already acting as a middleman. That means you're paying two premiums: one for the convenience of simplifying the process to just a text message and one premium if Magic ends up using an existing delivery service. To be clear, you can definitely save some money if you go directly through those delivery apps or just order those plane tickets online yourself.

The ultimate concierge service for people with too much money and not enough common sense? These guys are going to make billions.

1 comment:

RepubAnon said...

Wasn't that Heinlein's "General Services" company in "We Also Walk Dogs"?

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