Fast Company

Delivering the Profits

I've been thinking about Heath's previous blog entry about MaxDelivery. It's tough reviving a business concept that has already failed and failed spectacularly. But former Kozmo.com employee Chris Siragusa has resuscitated the one-hour internet delivery model. His new company MaxDelivery offers one hour delivery below 24th street in Manhattan.

It's an idea we can all get behind -- getting groceries and non-food items delivered all within an hour. Diapers, ice cream and now even DVDs can be delivered by a bicycle messenger. We don't even have to leave our front doors. Reviving an idea with all the hindsight that the dot com era has brought us reduces some of the perils associated with starting a business. But I wonder if it doesn't cause some shortsightedness too.

Manhattan has a deli or bodega on every corner and many of them carry more than just food. Why not just run down to the corner and get something you really need and not wait the whole hour? There are already several successful delivery businesses like Freshdirect.com and Bestyetdirect.com that offer next day delivery so why are we so enthralled by the idea of getting non-food items in an hour? Large companies like Barnes and Noble have tried same day delivery service in Manhattan with success. But they have limited that service to the city because its just too costly. Surviving the pitfalls this time around means offering more than just swift service.

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • M. Russell Stewart

    Maybe the draw to having someone else do something for us - something that we could do for ourselves - in under an hour is the same draw that accompanies services such as housecleaners, nannies, full-service gas station attendants, Jiffy Lube, yard maintenance companies, pizza dudes (dudettes?), car detail shops/auto car washes, restaurants (fast food or otherwise), drive-thru windows, and valet parking (unless mandatory).

    I wish I had more than my opinion on this, but the number of dollars spent by people in the US for services that they could perform themselves, but choose to pay someone else for, must be astounding (the classic Visa commercial comes to mind, showing a man resting in a hammock or lawn chair while a horde of yard maintenance workers feverishly manicure his surroundings.). Is it pure laziness? Maybe in some cases, but it seems to me that it is a symptom of a society that must continually work harder to have more things, which require more maintenance and care, which leaves less time to be what we should be - more self-sufficient, less selfish, more concentrated on lasting life experiences, more willing to teach youth the value of work, etc.

    I have noticed recently how quickly retail cashiers/clerks apologize to me if I have to wait more than a couple of SECONDS for the credit card machine to spit out a receipt, or if I was inconvenienced by a minute or two by the previous customer who had difficulty finding exactly what they wanted to buy.

    I will step down now. I do wonder, however, how bad it would be if I had to walk to the corner market myself if I ran out of milk because I didn't have time to get more between work and the baseball game I just HAD to attend.

    MAS