Monday, June 29, 2015

Cool Things are Happening…Just Not Where You Live

I live 30 minutes outside of Nashville. Nashville is known as the home of country music.



But we also have a thriving downtown area...



A national TV show set in our city...



And a population of more than 650,000.



Yet none of that is enough.

My job is writing about the latest cool things happening in tech. Things like InstaCart, which has everyday people delivering groceries from local stores to your door for a small fee.



And TaskRabbit, which allows local people to charge to do chores for you, such as hanging your blinds or picking up your dry cleaning.



Every day, it seems some new service debuts that lets you order things using your phone. Those things are provided by locals. They all sound so exciting, until you research it.

They start in California, because that's where they're almost always founded.



After they finish testing it out around where they live, entrepreneurs head to the obvious cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., etc. Nashville's never, ever on the list. Nor is Atlanta. Nor, I'm guessing is your town.



Most people don't live in big cities. They live in the suburbs surrounding a big city or further out, in the country. That means for the majority of us, even services like Uber and Lyft aren't an option.



Do you ever get frustrated that cool services aren't available where you live?

51 comments:

  1. You would think Nashville would be big enough. I know my city wouldn't qualify. Then again, I don't want strangers coming into my house to clean my blinds, either.

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    1. I doubt I'd use TaskRabbit, but we've been selling our old house, so we've needed little odds and ends done. When you need to hire anything out that requires a contractor/builder, you'd be surprised how hard it is to find someone who isn't a total flake. I tried to get two people to help us with weedeating here yesterday and still have heard nothing. At least with TaskRabbit, if they're flakes, they'll get bad reviews.

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  2. the only thing i miss about living in the country is pizza delivery. :) but we're 12 miles outside of town.

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    1. We live on a peninsula and there's some issue with us being "so far down." We're about four miles down it. We can only get Jet's Pizza, from what I understand. The Chinese place said we were .1 miles past their five-mile limit but they'd deliver to us because we were so close to that limit. Half-million-dollar-plus homes are going up all the way down it, though (especially at the end, where the lake is), so I figure that will change in the next couple of years!

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  3. I grew up in a very small "company" town and loved it and thought it was paradise. I was always happy to get back from Houston after we visited relatives. We had a movie theatre, churches, grocery and dry goods stores and a fine golf course...and my horse on the edge of town. I lived all my life as an adult in big cities and love all the conveniences...but still long for the peace and quite and security of knowing all your neighbors and children being allowed the run of the town without fear for their safety.

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    1. The first time I visited NYC, I came back home and was amazed how green everything is here. I didn't realize how much I missed grass and trees during the week I was there. It's just so...industrial. Even without front-door delivery, I would pick grass and trees over pavement any day!

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  4. I've nominated you for an award on my blog.

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  5. No, I don't care about all those things. I don't even have a cellphone. That's how out of touch I am. I actually talk to people face to face and not via a text. So, for the techies I get it, but I don't care about any of that stuff.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I will say that dealing with small-town utilities is much more pleasant than the bigger companies. Our water company doesn't have online pay or any of that, but you can call them up and they'll answer and actually be friendly! Our electric company (Nashville) has all the online stuff, but if you have to ever call about anything, you have to wait on hold and you're treated like a number. They haven't outsourced it overseas yet, but I'm sure that's next. If I can pay online and never have to call customer service, I prefer that...but moving has shown me that when you DO have to call those bigger companies, it's a living nightmare.

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  6. I haven't used all the services, but I know people who have used Uber and other apps. I use Grubhub the most for food delivery--no phone calls, just order from my app. I've spent a large portion of my life in New York City, Miami, and Miami Beach, so I've found things to be pretty accessible.

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    1. We had Grubhub in Nashville but only Chinese food and pizza. That's always been the problem with Nashville...you can't get anything but pizza and Chinese delivered. I tried Amazon Pantry for a while, but I had a hard time filling the box and the postal people kept complaining that the box was too heavy.

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  7. No, I don't get very frustrated. I can't afford those services. I do for myself or do without.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. There are goods and bads of both. I've heard that InstaCart is kinda sneaky. They say it's a $5 delivery but they subtly mark all the prices up about 10 percent or so to make a profit. People have observed everything costs more when you use those services...

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  8. I live in Brooklyn, Stephanie, which is becoming too cool for its own good. I actually applied for a job in Nashville a few months ago, but I never heard back from the company. Shucks...we might have been neighbors. :)

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    1. That would've been cool! People say about Nashville that we're just big enough. The cool stuff is slowly coming here, but it will mostly be focused on downtown Nashville and the immediate surrounding areas. We're even getting Google Fiber. But I'm 30 miles north of the city and on a peninsula, so not in my lifetime, I'm sure!

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  9. My city is known as the dead city... and even though we have a music festival, an international film festival, theatre festivals and who knows whatnot.... it's just dead.... no wonder it has the highest rate of suicides in Europe....

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    1. Yikes! Move!!! Companies are focusing on developing nations, though...and they're starting to realize that they can benefit by tapping into untapped markets like yours, where people want access to things but can't get them. I think they're trying to work out the location verification part of it? It's tough to verify that a customer is who he says by IP address he is when he is overseas, so it opens companies like Amazon to fraud.

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  10. We only have about 400,000 here, so we wouldn't count either. Then again Canada never gets anything like that haha guess they are afraid of polar bears. I'd never use the one to let strangers come into my house, screw that.

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    1. Canadians are upset they can't watch the live feeds of America's Big Brother. I don't get that...why wouldn't America want the $$$, since it costs a monthly fee? And we can't watch Canada's Big Brother unless we download a plug-in for Google Chrome. I tried that and it kept crashing so I decided I didn't need to watch Canadian Big Brother, after all!

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  11. No, I'm not frustrated, LOL, but that's because I lived in the "big" city (San Diego area) and got a chance at those cool services, also got the crowds and the added expense of living there, so being in a small town is actually very nice :)

    betty

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    1. I think it's not only the big city but it's a California thing. It all starts in Silicon Valley and if they can travel down state and test it out on a huge market there, it's easier for them than flying across the country to NYC or Chicago. I LOVE San Diego, by the way. The Old Town, I think it's called? Best chips and salsa I've ever had and I'm a Mexican food freak!

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  12. I live in a small city, so we get some of the perks, but usually nothing too big rolls by. Atlanta is your only hope

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    1. Yeah, but I never go there. That's the closest IKEA. The funny thing is, I lived in this blue-collar town called Donelson and people kept whining on the community Facebook page that there wasn't a Whole Foods. They didn't even realize that Whole Foods will never come to that town because it isn't upscale... People just have no clue. I recognize Nashville isn't big enough (yet) for IKEA and blue-collar towns are no place for grocery stores that charge $5 for an apple!

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  13. I'm not a big user of services and I prefer doing things ourselves. Living on the farm, there are always enough resources to get by. When we buy furniture or large appliances, my hubby has all the equipments to pick it up and install it so no need of a service. Our Coop delivers but until we can't pick things up ourselves, we'll be picking things ourselves. There are all kind of fly by night entrepreneurs and I'm not one to trust easily now a day.

    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. We have had SUCH a need for services while selling our old house and buying the new one. And it's incredibly hard to find someone who will actually show up and do the work. Most people won't even call you back. I guess they're all busy enough that they don't have to be professional.

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  14. I'm not old enough to need someone to do shopping for me and I have enough friends to call on for help with odd jobs if need be. My car works and is in excellent shape so I don't have to worry about getting a ride very often. I have a fully stocked bar in my basement so I don't go out for drinks much either, (requiring the need for a ride). I live in a fairly big city, but have never researched "cool" apps that might be useful around where I live. Now maybe if there were an app I could utilize to get help posting my weekly r.a.n.t. articles to my blog. Hmmm, there might be something to that. ;)

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  15. I can't imagine living in a small town again. I lived in ne when I was 18 and you're right, everyone knows your business.

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  16. We don't even have good Internet where I live because it's too small. There's only one company (beyond dial-up) and because they have a monopoly over the area, they cost too much and give too little. For example, we only have 10GB per month (daytime hours/50GB between 2AM-8AM) of Internet. When that runs out, we go down to around dial-up speeds, and it runs out every single month. So I'd love more Internet options. We don't have reliable cell service where we live either. I'd also love to have grocery delivery. I hate grocery shopping, and if I could pay someone a small fee to get my groceries, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

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  17. I feel like this most of the time. Though, I have country envy. Most cool things never happen in my country, South Africa. I would love free Amazon shipping and Netflix. Not to mention all the wonderful writing conferences.

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  18. Well, I always see those types of services advertised, so I figured they were available yo me! LOL! The only thing I ever checked into was Uber. I'm under the impression that Uber is available everywhere they can get drivers. People in all the towns I have Reddit accounts for seem to use it.

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  19. I guess I don't know about most of these services, which is good, because I don't have anything to miss!

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  20. The only upside to small towns is that we might not have the services, but we have neighbors who will do the same thing for free.

    I grew up in a town that had no red lights. I was always envious of big towns- back in my day, they had cable with MTV and I still had a TV with rabbit ears.

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  21. I'm not too much into the cool things.What usually starts out as cool, if it even catches on, will eventually get to me. If it doesn't catch on, I figure it's because it wasn't worth while and I'm glad I didn't waste my time getting involved. :)

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  22. Sad that we have made it necessary to replace a community with cool things like these.
    We wouldn't get them here, and part of me is not sorry. And part of me would love to have the options...

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  23. I miss the small town (but not enough to want to go back) where I could walk 1/2 mile to the grocery store or a mile into town for a diner or a microbrewery... Now I live on a gated-island with a zip code that get's you a surcharge but you can even have your dry cleaning picked and delivered but it's a hike to the hardware store.

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  24. I've never heard of these services and feel no loss but it is interesting to hear about new things happening. You never know which ones will take off like crazy and which ones will die out for lack of interest. I find that sort of thing fascinating. Like who would have ever thought Twitter or Facebook would take off the way they did. The people who come up with new ideas need to not just be creative thinkers but to have their brain linked in somehow with cultural trends.

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  25. I've heard of some of these services but I rather doubt they'll come here considering the population here in Lincoln County - which includes 20 towns - is around 34,000.

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  26. Your downtown looks compact and quite pretty actually. I am more for the small towns myself. I think these services would be good for people who have a hard time leaving their home either due to physical issues or disorders like some phobias. I just hope it would not cost an arm and a leg. I doubt it is in my neck of the woods but Toronto would have it for sure.

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  27. I live in a town of 2300 people. Next week we're moving out to the country and we won't even have cell service. We'll have to get a landline. :-P

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  28. Thankfully, in the lil' ol' English town that I live in has plenty of cool services. I can even get ice cubes delivered.

    Ah yes, Nashville, home of the Predators.

    Gary :)

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  29. The joys of living in Los Angeles County. Not L.A. proper. But close enough that most of the stuff that starts in L.A. makes it here pretty quickly.

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  30. I've felt this way for years living in Canada on the East coast... even though I live in s capital city... it's like nothing really exists until Quebec. We rarely get the cool things here... xox ♡

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  31. Cool services are definitely not where I live! I do think some of them sound fun, but I probably don't have the money for most of them either. :)

    I visited Nashville last summer. So much to see and do in the city!

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  32. i love the entrepreneurship of all these services! it lets workers work and lazies laze (or do other work! ha!) but i am fine not having them, i like living away from the scary conveniences of a big city, inviting strangers into your life... i really need to get out more!

    ps - next time you do a book event in Nashville, let me know! I may try to tag along!

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  33. Very much so! The local taxicab board, which is as corrupt as hell, are keeping Uber and Lyft out of my city.

    They know no one would call for a cab again.

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  34. I'm way too paranoid and reclusive for strangers to come into my house or bring me my groceries. lol

    My good friend lives in Cali. She affectionately says it's where the cereal people live--all the fruits flakes and nuts.

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  35. Where I live, sometimes even Amazon wouldn't ship books to me!

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  36. I'm lucky to live in southern California but InstaCart isn't available! That would be so awesome for some people I know!

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  37. Girl I live in the sticks and ratchetville (my city and our neighbor city)
    The only cool things that happen around here are when it actually cools off (our coldest weather is like 50s) and when a couple of ratchets go at it and throw shoes at each other. Which isn't cool. It's ghettttttoooo.

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