The title of Fast Company's story is "Two Ex-Googlers Want To Make Bodegas And Mom-And-Pop Corner Stores Obsolete" and that's exactly what Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan intend to do. "Bodega"—an internet-of-shit vending machine designed to replace small businesses, is so comically sociopathic it would be too on-the-nose for HBO's Silicon Valley.
In fact, replacing that beloved institution seems explicit in the very name of McDonald’s venture, a Spanish term synonymous with the tiny stores that dot urban landscapes and are commonly run by people originally from Latin America or Asia. Some might bristle at the idea of a Silicon Valley executive appropriating the term “bodega” for a project that could well put lots of immigrants out of work. (One of my coworkers even referred to it as “Bro-dega” to illustrate the disconnect.)
I asked McDonald point-blank about whether he’s worried that the name Bodega might come off as culturally insensitive. Not really. “I’m not particularly concerned about it,” he says.
A vending machine's choice and a grocery store's logistics, with "data" bridging the gulf? Maybe they'll be restocked by Ubers or Amazon drones? Hopeless. But never underestimate the power of a VC toy business to destroy the thing it cannot sustainably replace.
Over at The Startup on Medium, David Laws, semiconductor curator at the wonderful Computer History Museum, has prepared a fascinating guide to Silicon Valley’s “high-tech heritage trail exploring places that housed the early stirrings of the digital revolution.” Covering the “30-mile corridor from Stanford University to the former IBM disk-drive campus,” Laws visits dozens of […]
Brian Feldman of The Intelligencer interviewed New York Times reporter Mike Isaac about his new book, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber. I haven’t read too many start-up histories but Super Pumped is the only one I’ve read that has a significant amount of violence. Uber drivers are pressured to keep driving in adversarial conditions […]
Mountain View -- home to some of Silicon Valley's most profitable companies, including Google -- is one of the most expensive places in the world to live, thanks to the sky-high wages commanded by techies, who have gone on to bid up all the real-estate in the region.
You hear the stories all the time. You know the ones about how a new vehicle instantly loses hundreds, even thousands of dollars in value the second a new owner drives it off the lot. Depreciation is a killer, especially when the item itself works just as well — or maybe even better than all […]
Spring cleaning time is right around the corner, and, if we’re being honest, the whole thing is kind of a drag. But keeping your home clean in any season is necessary for both health and happiness, so why not make it a little less daunting? The correct tools help make any work easier, and that’s […]
Quality knives matter — and in more ways than you might expect. At the most basic level, having a functioning set of proper kitchen knives means you can actually get in a kitchen, start putting together a meal and have the right tools to handle all tasks. From the blunt force of the clever to […]