The Google-fication of Uber
Because there aren’t quite enough made-up words entering our lexicon at an alarming rate these days, we now have Uber to thank for a new way to describe any job performed by part-time, temporary workers who are hired or dispatched via an app.
There is an “Uber” for a wide array of jobs, and the list keeps growing:
The Uber of Grocery Shopping: Instead of having an Uber driver pick you up and take you to the supermarket, why not have Instacart assign a shopper to buy your groceries and deliver them to your door?
The Uber of Snowplowing: What’s that? You’re snowed in and the Instacart shopper can’t get to you? Never fear, Plowz and Mowz has a snowplow with your name on it. (Not really. Instacart is only available in Northern California and Plowz and Mowz is East Coast only.)
The Uber of Shipping: Granny left you the china in her will? Forget FedEx; Roadie will find a traveler who is heading your way to drop off the gravy boat and soup tureen en route for a whole lot less money.
The Uber of Massage: And if the Roadie driver hurts his back while hefting the tea set, he can always download Soothe to schedule a deep-tissue massage.
The Uber of Drones: Trying to save money on your next big construction project? Hire a local drone pilot to do your survey mapping for you. (This one isn’t an app, but it’s too cool not to share.)
There is nothing new about freelance work, but the fact that there is a market for these app-driven employment opportunities—both from workers and consumers—is further representation of the speed at which we now live and work fueled by our connection to our smart devices.
There is some debate about whether this employment model is good for workers, but it certainly seems to be popular with the college crowd and those looking to supplement their income with part-time work. The flexibility and low-level commitment is a good fit for a student who needs to work around her course load or an underemployed individual in need of a second job.
Who knows whether the Uber-economy will continue to grow? As with any business model, the market will determine whether it survives. What I do know is our culture of connectivity is here to stay, and I predict we have a lot more “Uber of” products coming down the pike.
Do you have an Uber-ific job or, better yet, are you part of a team that is Uber-zing a task or service? Share your experiences in the comments below.