Some ex-Googlers are rich and many are putting their money into new ideas to improve humanity. Some in humanity don’t want the improvements. Matthew Lynley on the problem, the solution, and the problem with the solution.
If you’re in a big city like New York City, you’re probably used to walking around the block away from where you live to the corner shop and picking up a jug of milk or some dishwashing detergent.
I live in Brooklyn. Been there. Done that. Do that.
But Paul McDonald (who says he has not lived in New York), who was at Google for more than 13 years, wants to collapse that distance between walking to that store to pick something up and ordering it online even further. A new startup called Bodega hopes to install kinds of convenience store-like kiosks right into apartment buildings, gyms, or other infrastructure that’ll sell the goods — like dish detergent — that residents need. The company has raised $2.5 million in a financing round led by First Round Capital and Homebrew Ventures and has 30 bodegas live scattered around the Bay Area.
And they’re coming to New York. It’s called, oddly enough, Bodega. Here’s how it works.
The whole process starts with a small kiosk that sits inside a building filled with goods. Bodega uses an array of cameras to see who’s walking up to the kiosk. They open up that kiosk with a three-digit password and then grab something out of it. The cameras then isolate their hand and what they are picking up, and when they walk away with that product Bodega logs it as sold to that customer. The customer’s credit card is charged, and then life moves on.
What do New Yorkers think of the high tech involved in Bodega? A few tweets:
No bodega cats? no poppers in a cardboard box behind the register? no “what’s up big guy” when I order my breakfast sandwich? not MY bodega
I’ve seen 1000s of vending machines, not sure how this is an improvement over them much less a full service bodega with perishables, cooktop,
The people who would use this box are people who would never set foot in a bodega
Is that stupid box gonna sell me 2 single newports? Is that stupid box going to heat up my chicken sandwich? No… its not. F–k your box