The Rise of the I Can’t be Bothered Economy

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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 other dudes 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 the following:

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

If you want to see the epitome of the ICBEE, look no further than the 1960s cartoon, The Jetsons. Before Minority ReportTotal 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 Black (yes, it still happens) or there are just too many people asking for a cab at the same time.
  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.

But that’s not all…

I could go on an on on the things that Uber has “de-bothered” while enhancing my travel experience but I just recently 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 BE is about removing steps to get the intended result or better. In my opinion, it’s not a matter of being “techno lazy”, but finding ways to free up your time to be more productive or swap the mundane for leisure/free time.


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