Thursday, March 31, 2016

Changing Baby's Diaper

I checked it and you will never guess what I found.

"A baby sitter at the push of a button? Yes, and a ride for your kids, too" by Janelle Nanos Globe Staff  March 27, 2016

A crop of savvy businesses, taking a page from the success of Uber and the shopping service Instacart, have begun targeting families with on-demand services to help ease the challenges of managing kids, with a few taps of a smartphone. Parents can now book a baby sitter, hail a ride for their child, or have someone fetch a gallon of milk in just a few hours — or less.

And don't worry; the FBI will break into the f***er if something happens.

It’s like Mary Poppins, digitized.

In Boston, parents can arrange a sitter in seconds using Chime, a new app launched by SitterCity, the child-care job board. Or they can coordinate an evening out with Date Night,’s new sitter-finding service, which integrates with Fandango for movie tickets and OpenTable for restaurant reservations.

Think I'll Chime out.

To give parents peace of mind about entrusting their children to a stranger, the companies promise extensive background checks and heavy vetting, lessons learned in part from past problems and ongoing questions about the safety of on-demand services.

Okay, honey, lets dump the kids and get to the dinner and a show.

The ride-hailing apps Shuddle and HopSkipDrive promise to do their own prescreening as they transport children on the West Coast. And in Massachusetts, the startup Zemcar has just launched a family-friendly ride service for parents overwhelmed with the pick-up and drop-off routine. Even established assistance services like TaskRabbit are getting in on the game, having recently launched a real-time booking component that allows parents like Worobey to get what they need in as little as 90 minutes.

Some of these companies are startups, while others are established players looking to reinvent themselves to better respond to the needs of families.

What families, because I don't know of anyone who can do or afford all this. 

Who i$ thi$ paper being written for anyway?

“The evolution is really apparent,” said Tanner Hackett, cofounder of Button, a New York startup that works with companies to build on-demand apps. The first generation of service companies, like Uber, originally launched with a fleet of private black cars, were “cool, sexy, and convenience-oriented,” but not necessarily for the mass market, he said. Dozens more followed, offering amenities like instant meal deliveries and parking, but have had less success finding a broad set of customers. So now businesses are pushing services they hope will appeal to larger demographics — like parents.

Odd seeing as we are in the sixth year of economic recovery that is going pretty well with relatively calm seas ahead (or so I'm told in the Globe bu$ine$$ $ection).

For many families, the apps are an extension of the need-it-now sensibility they have come to depend on in the marketplace.

Yes, instant gratification is guaranteed by the market! 

Man, if you are looking for instant gratification raising a kid.... gonna be a long first 20 years.

“When we became parents, we immediately signed up for Amazon Prime and Instacart, which have been lifesavers,” said Drew Volpe, an engineer and venture capitalist who lives in downtown Boston with his wife and 20-month-old daughter.

The toilet must have have given him a false sense of security.

Volpe had used SitterCity to find a nanny, so he was intrigued when he heard about the company’s testing of Chime in Boston last fall, offering same-day sitter bookings on nights and weekends. Parents plug in the time they need and receive the profiles of three available baby sitters nearby. They can read reviews and watch videos of the sitters, then reserve one in seconds. 

It's a burgeoning industry.

In developing the same-day Chime service, Chicago-based SitterCity recruited sitters like Manisha Bicchieri. The North End resident, 24, has a day job but squeezes in a few hours of sitting each week through the app. Since parents have to submit requests by 3:30 p.m for a day-of booking, it allows her the flexibility to know whether she’s working that night or can head out with friends. Chime charges Boston parents $16 per hour and takes a 10 percent surcharge in exchange for a promise of thorough background checks. Bicchieri makes $600 a month through the app.

Pretty good.

Uber has spawned HopSkipDrive and Shuddle, two California startups that have raised millions in venture funding for their family-centric ride-hailing apps. It also inspired Bedford’s Bilal Wahid, who recently launched Zemcar, a company that pitches itself as your “family’s trusted driver” and offers rides to kids ages 8 and up.

“We consider this as a premium, safer alternative to Uber,” Wahid said, and he has been hiring nannies, teachers, and stay-at-home moms who might be ferrying kids, anyway. Parents can watch a live stream of their children’s trip from the dashboard camera, and if they like the driver, they can add him or her to a “circle of trust” that is shared with friends when they use the app. Rides generally cost about 10 percent more than Uber’s.

Gives new meaning to riding shotgun. 

Now if the parent has time to watch a live stream.... wouldn't they have time to do the driving?

“It’s hard as a single mom,” said Jessie Cabel, who is raising two daughters in Bedford. Cabel started using the service when it was launched earlier this year and found it so useful that she also signed on as a driver.

It's about to get even harder

At least you won't have to worry about kidnappings.

Some may contend that these companies offer solutions to crises of our own making — parents are working more than they have at any point in history, and their propensity to overschedule children’s afterschool activities can easily be seen as problem of the privileged.

Interesting, because we were promised years ago that technology and the globalization model would have us work less with more time for leisure. 

Of course, who knew they meant throwing millions into a permanent state of unemployment

But others argue these one-click wonders offer parents a valuable solution for the problem they’re constantly seeking to solve: How do I find more time?

I got bad news for you. 

There are only 24 hours in a day, no more, no less. You won't be finding any more time. 

Now how do you use your time, that's a different question.

[They] are the “Whole Foods demographic. Dual-income parents who value their time more than their money,” said Anand Iyer, cofounder of Trusted, an on-demand baby-sitting service in San Francisco, because trust is always an issue when children are involved....

This article isn't directed at me, and I know who I don't trust to help raise our children.


Are you sure you can trust that nanny?

UPDATE: Google Capital takes $46.4m stake in Waltham-based