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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Apps promise the moon at our doorstep in 10 minutes. Can we be delivered of such insanity?

What the dudebros of India’s startup culture need is a lesson in slowing down, and not racing the herd.

By: Editorial |
Updated: March 24, 2022 9:10:19 am
What the dudebros of India’s startup culture need is a lesson in slowing down, and not racing the herd.

So, you want a plate of momos from a restaurant 5 km away and you want it right now? In 10 minutes? Time was when this kind of bratty, entitled behaviour would invite the wrath of sensible parents, and a week of nothing but dal-sabzi. Now it gets rewarded by techbros out to make a million quick bucks. And so, app after app has been wooing customers with the promise of delivering anything — cigarettes, groceries, sanitisers, the moon — in 20 minutes or less. In this pointless game of fastest-orders-first, Zomato has rolled out an instant delivery service that promises hot meals, from kitchen to doorstep, in 10 minutes flat. Boss, who are you kidding? Even instant noodles take longer to make.

And really, what’s the rush for? Why push underpaid, overworked gig workers to break speed limits to meet your unreasonable deadlines? Why burden rush-hour traffic with more frantic two-wheelers? We have heard the spiel, of course. The consumer is king, and companies are incentivised to serve their needs. But here’s the thing: No one really needs to have stuff delivered to them in an instant. Ambulances, yes. Tomatoes and tortillas, no. This is a manufactured economy of instant gratification, aimed at soaking up venture capitalist funds. Surely, the best of Indian startup talent has better problems to solve and innovate.

So much frenetic activity in delivering anda-bread just underlines what we all know — speed is overrated, especially when it becomes its own intoxication. What the dudebros of India’s startup culture need is a lesson in slowing down, and not racing the herd. Perhaps, a stroll in the sabzi mandi, followed by some mindful time in the kitchen doing some actual cooking might do the trick. As for the customers being peddled the cult of hyperconvenience, they ought to know that the promise that apps will deliver us leisure is a lemon — it may arrive in 10 minutes, but they still have got to make their lemonade.

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