The Rise of the I Can’t be Bothered Economy

Dwayne Oxford
Sep 18, 2019 · 4 min read
The rise of automation is becoming a difficult balancing act between human jobs to be done
The rise of automation is becoming a difficult balancing act between human jobs to be done
Automation vs human jobs to be done is becoming a delicate balance.

The other day, I stumbled upon a website called The site is simple. Give them your clothing measurements and they will handpick clothes based on preferences (e.g. color, style, shirt, jeans, cut, etc) you’ve submitted to the site — then they’ll send you a package of clothes as you request them to your home. Ask me 2 years ago if I would ever consider another company virtually shopping for me and I would have told you, “No way dude, I’m not that lazy”. Well..I’m here to tell you, I am that lazy. We’ll maybe lazy is the wrong word, but there are things that are slowly moving into my “I can’t be bothered” list. So what does this mean for me? The ICBBE (I Can’t Be Bothered Economy) is born, which is the following:

Any entity or service that can do something for me as good if not better than me, hence—I can’t be bothered to do it myself

If you want to see the epitome of the ICBBE, look no further than the 1960s cartoon, The Jetsons. Before Minority Report, Total Recall, and Back to the Future II, there was the Jetsons:

Some might think we are already on our way to a dystopian reality of Wall-E, where we become big Pillsbury balls of useless organic matter stumbling through a life of mendacity. Please resist the urge to paint a such a dark future. For example, let’s take a look at Uber. How many things has Uber taken care of that was bothersome?

  1. No more…when is the driver going to arrive
  2. No more…calling hours in advance with no guarantee that I’ll get a driver
  3. No more…getting weirdo drivers who don’t know what they are doing
  4. No more…getting ripped off because the price is now under control
  5. No more…not being able to get a cab because I’m a POC (yes, it still happens)

But that’s not all…

  1. I get optionality. I can choose whatever car I want.
  2. I can rate my drivers to keep the quality of the drivers up.
  3. Software allows me to track every single car ride in just about every country in the world.

I could go on and on about the things that Uber has “de-bothered” while enhancing my travel experience. I also realized that it might be more cost effective for me to use Uber, than getting a second car. I can’t be bothered to:

  1. Register and pay more insurance for a second car
  2. Pay for the car note, not to mentioned the maintenance
  3. Deal with repairs if I get into a car accident
  4. Deal with speeding tickets
  5. Have my car sit in a parking lot for most of the week
  6. Having to clean the car

At this point in my life, I just want to get the act done without all the necessary overhead. The convenience is just too great to pass up. Here are a couple other ICBBE candidates which are old and new innovations:

  1. Instant coffee upends brewed coffee
  2. Dry cleaning upends cleaning your own clothes.
  3. Digital chef upends cooking your own food
  4. Audiobooks/ebooks upends binded books
  5. ThreadLabs upends shopping at stores and trying on clothes.
  6. Autonomous Uber cars upends driving your own car.
  7. Amazon Echo upends touching an object to do a task. Yes, you heard that right. It’s actually upending having to touch another object or device to get a task completed. Using your voice to control objects. Simply remarkable.

Now this is not to say that the “Bothered Economy” (BE) will be completely eliminated. The BE and the ICBBE will co-exist, with the ICBBE slowly eating away at the BE. Some BE tasks will eventually be eliminated or soon to be (e.g horse and carriage, coal stoves, human baby sitters, driving your own car, etc)

The ICBBE is about creative destruction. As humans, we can’t do without continued optimization, whether its giving you more leisure time or free up a process you do at work, so you can focus on more complex issues.

Originally published on April 7th, 2016

Related Links:

  1. UPS Has Been Delivering Cargo in Self-Driving Trucks for Months And No One Knew
  2. Robots Can Now Flawlessly Iron Clothes
  3. Future Without Apps
  4. Meet the Robot Chef That Can That Can Prepare Your Dinner
  5. VIDEO: Two Dudes Test Tesla’s Model 3 Autopilot During Rush Hour Traffic
  6. The inside story of how Amazon created Echo, the next billion-dollar business no one saw coming

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store