Is it really about Bodega™?
In a handful of hours after Bodega™ was brought to the bleary-eyed, meme-infused cynicism of Twitter’s ire and dozens of thinkpieces in tech blogs and newswires later, I think a lot of technologists are missing the point of why it drew so much fire.
This tweet probably best summarizes the frustration of most:
If you bother to sift through the few defending the idea as “audacious” or that it has “merit”, you’ll note very few of them talk about the practicality of the idea or really understand the cultural exhaustion.
Meritocracy or Mediocracy?
If you ever hung out with a stoner in college or watched one of Judd Apatow’s buddy comedies, you can identify the lackluster efforts of the comically high mediocre bro who has ideas like, “What if the solar system is really a pretzel and we’re all the salt on it?”
When I was a kid, maybe 10 years old, I asked my mom, “Why can’t we just make more money so people don’t have to be poor?”
Here’s how much money has been spent on ideas from Silicon Valley:
Juicero $120M to squeeze juice from a bag of juice and now shuttering
Tout’d/Villiji $1.4M to post questions to social media for you (yes, really)
Washio $16.8M to do your laundry and failing
Cleanly $7M to do your laundry
These half-assed ideas are solving incredibly small problems for an even smaller number of people and purportedly are going to render contemporary ways of life changed forever. The people putting together these ideas are paid vastly more than people who can only read about how they’ll be replaced. They haven’t done anything revolutionary or audacious.
They’re doing something that has been done since the inception of trade: providing limited services to the incredibly wealthy — for millions of dollars. A few million dollars for a shitty idea that has no viability is going to piss a lot of people off.
They’ve created a mediocracy in the Bay area and people are fucking sick of it.