(I’m writing something every day for #100days. This is post 41/100.)
The idea that ‘software is eating the world’ is generally shared with zeal.
Software is eating the world and, the implication goes, making it a better place.
As an outsider, someone who moved to San Francisco after growing up in a big wooden house that had snakes in the roof, on 12 acres, 30 minutes outside of a little town that was 2 hours from anywhere in a big, mostly empty state — I am yet to succumb to the cynicism and distrust that the counter-narrative pre-supposes.
From the lens of a consumer, today seems like the best day in all human history to be consuming.
Software is benevolently eating every single friction that exists in my life.
I get that it’s not all good.
And even if it can’t last forever — I just feel so overwhelmingly fortunate to be able to partake in it right now.
I just came back from dinner at my favourite restaurant in the neighbourhood. We walked in, told the waitress, “We’re paying with Cover.”
When the meal was done, we got up and left and the bill was already settled.
This morning, I needed to get to Kezar Stadium for a track session. I opened my phone at 7.04am. By 7.07am I was standing at a Lyft Hotspot 15 metres from my door, getting transported all the way across the city for $5.
I needed a coffee after the session. I opened Yelp and 8 minutes and $5 in a Lyft later, I’m eating a chocolate banana croissant at b. Bakery which I didn’t even know existed 8 minutes beforehand, sipping an Americano in the sun with chocolate smeared on my face like a crazy toddler at one of the BEST BAKERIES IN THE WORLD!
Every morning, on my ride to work, I listen to my favourite breakfast radio show — which is broadcast in Sydney.
I’m hearing traffic updates about the M3 as I cycle past the frantic SOMA Caltrain station.
That bike I ride on? I bought it for $150 from a father of three who does up old steel frame bikes and sells them on Craiglist.
The first app I open in the morning is Path, on which I have 4 friends (my whole family), to see photos and videos and stories from their day on the other side of the world.
The second app I open is Instagram, which makes me observe the world as a photographer, keeping my eyes open for the beauty the world holds.
And the third, Timehop, tells me what I was doing on this day last year and the year before and the year before that, giving me my daily dose of mono no aware.
If I’m arriving home late and haven’t made dinner, Munchery delivers me a great meal in 15 minutes. To my door. Dinner takes me four taps.
To wind down, I open Sonos and access essentially all the music in human history.
Think about that for two seconds. IT’S AMAZING.
Instacart arrives with my groceries — from Bi Rite! — 15 minutes later.
Shyp is there just as quick to pick up and ship a baby book for a friend’s newborn.
And if I need anything. I can get Amazon Prime to get it to me tomorrow. Right. To. My. Door.
I came home today to a clean house because I Homejoy’d it on Sunday.
I open the door, and my heavily pregnant wife is meditating using the Headspace app.
I know what’s happening to our little baby in her big belly today because I checked on Nurture.
I’m writing this on my couch, with my Apple TV in the background — which has Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Now and every movie on iTunes.
Any time I want, I can browse updates on Twitter from colleagues, friends, musicians and athletes around the world — hundreds and thousands of them a day.
Tomorrow, I have training in the morning because I have unlimited sessions with a personal trainer for $95 a month on Vint. I book and manage the whole thing through my phone, on the go.
Even my toilet is insanely enjoyable now.
I have Instapaper. I have YouTube on my phone. I have NextDraft, every single day.
Oh yeah. I have my Kindle — with access to essentially ALL THE BOOKS IN HUMAN HISTORY ON MY PHONE RIGHT NOW.
And wherever I need to get to, I open my phone, and Google Maps will tell me how to get there, and how long it will take, whether I want to walk, ride, drive or get public transport.
I can even see a picture of the place I’m going in a split second via street view.
On my way there, I’ll call my brother on the other side of the world via Skype. He’s waking up, and I’m on my way to dinner with a friend.
And we’re connected.
Not to mention I can book tickets to see Inside Out on my phone, and in the Lyft on the way there, buy Disney shares on Robinhood and book a Zipcar and an Airbnb for the 4th of July weekend celebrations in Tahoe.
I haven’t even talked about the fact the phone in my pocket — the most super-powered pocket device in the history of the world — contains essentially ALL THE KNOWLDGE IN HUMAN HISTORY RIGHT NOW, ANY TIME, FOREVER!
I get that valuations are high and rents are high and the stockmarket is high and people are probably high and we’re all drinking the kool-aid…
And yes, it might all dissipate in a heartbeat tomorrow…
But just for a second, stop and think about how insane life is here right here, right now in San Francisco.
How, if you edit it right, your consumer life can be the best freaking consumer life in ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY.
And that it’s all accessible, right from your pocket, in seconds.
Software is eating the world.
That’s a good and bad thing.
But sometimes it’s just amazing.
It’s just. Amazing.