Garrett Camp, the co-founder of Uber, has a new on-demand app that lets you summon a whole network of people to help you shop with just the press of a button.
But don’t count on trying it anytime soon.
Operator, which was officially unveiled on Thursday, already has more than 80,000 people waiting to try it out once it exits its private beta phase:
Camp came up with the idea for the app with Robin Chan, who is now the CEO of Operator. The company sees itself as a “request network, since it uses a network of people to fill requests filed by consumers. Here’s how Chan described his company in a post published to Medium on Thursday:
We chose the name “Operator” because we see a world where you push a button and get routed to the right products, the right people, the right businesses. In our rush to move to the internet and software, we lost the “0” button where a human being was there to assist. Now you can click the Operator app and get routed to a network of people to help you.
It sounds a bit like Magic, a Y Combinator startup that just raised a pile of cash and offers a concierge service via text message. Magic lets you place orders and call on someone to run errands for you with just a quick message.
In fact, there seems to be a laziness-as-a-service trend among startups right now, which are putting a premium on the fact that people want everything at their fingertips, and they will pay to receive anything from groceries to plane tickets without taking a single step or navigating a website.
Concierge startups also aren’t new. Fancy Hands is a New York startup that’s been around for a few years. It has virtual assistants who can help book, schedule and complete tasks. TaskRabbit is another startup that’s in the help-with-anything-you-need business.
The waitlist strategy Operator is using helps generate hype for startups while allowing them to work out early kinks with a limited number of users. It was made popular by Mailbox, an email app that quickly grew its virtual wait list to hundreds of thousands of people and then was acquired by Dropbox.
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