“Life sure is easy when you let your apps do the walking,” says Geoffrey Fowler, personal technology columnist at The Wall Street Journal.
A concierge economy is sprouting up on phones, and no place more so than in San Francisco, says Fowler, a resident of what he calls that "capital of Internet La La Land.”
The startups there describe themselves as similar to Uber, the car service that’s upended transportation, because they use phones to connect customers with nearby workers on demand.
A house call from a doctor in an hour, delivery from any shop in town in an hour, healthy meals delivered in 15 minutes, in-home massage therapy and more are available.
“My favorite service is Luxe,” says Fowler. It uses GPS to offer a personal parking valet. When you get in your car, you tell the Luxe app where you’re going. It tracks your phone as you drive, and one of its valets meets you as you arrive at your destination.
“What’s most remarkable is that this service cost me just $15 plus a $3 tip,” Fowler says. "Paying for a parking spot in my own building would have cost $35. How is that possible? Luxe’s CEO Curtis Lee told me he negotiates favorable rates with underused parking garages and passes some of the savings along.”
On a busy day, Luxe valets can make $20 to $30 an hour. But, says Fowler, on a slow day, “it’s instant noodles for dinner.”