Amazon’s Last Mile – Gizmodo

Local value must be recognized by Amazon — or any on-demand company — if it is going to revive the middle class economy. Human interaction is the highest degree of engagement, but treated by financial-centric organizations as the least valuable. Flex drivers are in the best position to get a full accounting of customer satisfaction, suggestions, and to enhance the customer experience.

Near the very bottom of Amazon’s complicated machinery is a nearly invisible workforce over two years in the making tasked with getting those orders to your doorstep. It’s a network of supposedly self-employed, utterly expendable couriers enrolled in an app-based program which some believe may violate labor laws. That program is called Amazon Flex, and it accomplishes Amazon’s “last-mile” deliveries—the final journey from a local facility to the customer.

Source: Amazon’s Last Mile

Apple Pay Users Get Free Postmates Deliveries | PYMNTS.com

Smart move, big win for Postmates. Bundling of delivery is how many consumers will first experience on-demand service.

According to news from Mac Rumors, Apple announced the offer to its Apple Pay customers via email: “Special announcement: Just in time for the holidays, we’ve extended the Unlimited trial for customers using Apple Pay. Sign up before Nov 23rd and your subscription will be free for all of 2017. That means all orders over $20 have no delivery fee.”

Source: Apple Pay Users Get Free Postmates Deliveries | PYMNTS.com

TasyEasy Raises 21.3M in Series C – Utah Business

Question for debate in comments: Are national brands the ultimate end-game for in-home services or do local small businesses play the leading role in the long-run?

TaskEasy has performed over one million tasks in more than 10,000 cities in all 50 states. The company has established the largest network of screened and insured lawn maintenance contractors, with over 5,000 small businesses across the country performing work for TaskEasy customers.

Source: TasyEasy Raises 21.3M in Series C – Utah Business

Uber-like services in the suburbs? ‘Microtransit’ tech wants to make it happen – Curbed

The microtransit “movement” is an evolution of campus developments in corporations over the past 30 years. These locally delivered shuttle services will develop around shopping destinations and planned urban and suburban communities. Look for apartment/condo developments to add an alternative to owning a car. Keep an eye on partnering between communities, developers, and transportation network companies.

Proponents of the growing micro-transit movement see it as a means of cheaply and efficiently expanding mass transit access. These types of services, which offer on-demand transit, could become the feeder system for larger regional transport systems, ferrying riders from neighborhoods to local transit hubs. Many also see a big opportunity for these services to feature automated and electric vehicles, which would lead to more sustainable and efficient mass transit. Trials in Las Vegas and Helsinki are workin

Source: Uber-like services in the suburbs? ‘Microtransit’ tech wants to make it happen – Curbed

Vancouver, B.C. cracks down on Airbnb with tough new short-term rental regulations – GeekWire

Like Seattle, Vancouver, B.C., is preparing to lockdown Airbnb rentals to improve the housing stock for full-time residents. The impact of this new law is simple: Airbnb rentals may not be a business, either operated by a property owner who rents their home part of the year or who keeps a separate apartment on their property — nor may a business rent apartments through Airbnb.

In some ways, this reinforces Airbnb’s core mission, to make homes into sources of part-time revenue, but it closes off the opportunity to expand into new landlord-oriented services.

The new regulations only allow hosts on sites like Airbnb and VRBO to rent out rooms in properties where they live. On-site basement suites and mother-in-laws are not allowed. The rules also prohibit businesses from operating short-term rentals through sites like Airbnb. Short-term rental operators will also be required to purchase an annual license for 49 Canadian dollars.

Source: Vancouver, B.C. cracks down on Airbnb with tough new short-term rental regulations – GeekWire

‘Gig economy values experience with up to 6-fold rise in fees’ – India.com

Worker differentiation is evolving in the on-demand economy. This India report shows that more experienced/highly skilled work is rewarded with a substantially higher pay. At the same time, the exploitation of women, who make half as much as men in the same jobs, is running unchecked. Companies need to fix this or it will be corrected by regulation.

“Three-fourths of projects were part-time in nature and 60 per cent had a remote and work-from-anywhere component indicating that organisations are getting more comfortable in bringing them on-board freelancers for short duration, tight delivery projects,” the report said…. Gender pay gap is evident even in project work, with women consultants paid 45-50 per cent less than male counterparts at senior levels.

Source: ‘Gig economy values experience with up to 6-fold rise in fees’ – India.com

Gig workers lose ground with GOP tax bill | BenefitsPRO

The House and Senate Tax bills are not good for on-demand workers, according to this analysis. Tax bills are not the place to work out the defintion of employment for an emerging economy.

“There is an important battle going on right now in labor and employment law over the appropriate classification of workers in the gig/platform/sharing economy,” write Boston College’s Shu-Yi Oei and Diane M. Ring for TaxProf Blog from Pepperdine University School of Law in the report.

Source: Gig workers lose ground with GOP tax bill | BenefitsPRO

Walmart tests deal with Handy: Buy TV, someone will install – CBS News

Product installation is the New Hotness in on-demand. This type of service will likely be the first experience of gig work many households will try. Of course, if the holidays don’t produce positive results — and it may be too early for positive results, because it takes a while to work out fulfillment of services — this trend will go into Reverse fast.

The test, which started recently in Atlanta only, is a partnership with on-demand online services platform Handy. Shoppers who buy furniture or a TV at the stores participating in the limited pilot program can also pay for Handy’s services and book a professional to help.

Source: Walmart tests deal with Handy: Buy TV, someone will install – CBS News

Postmates launches in first international city | TechCrunch

Postmates goes international. A well-prepared launch, the company comes to market in Mexico City with 1,000 partners and couriers.

In the U.S. Postmates has 100,000 couriers completing over 2.5 million deliveries every month. By launching in Mexico City, Postmates will be directly competing with the likes of UberEATS and SinDelantal (owned by JUST EAT and iFood) in the areas of food delivery. With grocery delivery, which Postmates recently put more investment into in the U.S., Postmates will compete with startups like Cornershop and Mercadoni.

Source: Postmates launches in first international city | TechCrunch

Valet startup Zirx relaunches as Stratim, a mobility service for GM’s Maven, Ford’s Chariot and others | TechCrunch

They were valets when people parked cars, now $36.4 million in funding is directed to Stratim’s fleet management services. This is a muddled message, because it has not become clear yet that automakers will be auto managers on behalf of on-demand customers — at the high end of the market first. It makes sense that automakers will outsource some vehicle maintenance and service, but the dealerships will be contending for customer service revenue, too.

If auto dealers can transition to a service model, which they have had to out of necessity in many cases, they are better provisioned with real estate, service bays, and people than Stratim.

Through Stratim’s vendor marketplace, for example, Ford can request gas fill-ups for its Chariot shuttles. The next day, a fuel company will come to fill up the tanks and then send that information back into the system. With Stratim, Ford and other companies have a dashboard to better “understand how much money is spent on fueling, car washes, windshields and tire repairs,” Behr said.

Source: Valet startup Zirx relaunches as Stratim, a mobility service for GM’s Maven, Ford’s Chariot and others | TechCrunch