Yes, there’s an app for that. And even that.
While HBO’s Silicon Valley pokes fun at start-up culture, tech entrepreneurs, and off-the-wall ideas, the show’s riffs and jokes aren’t only contained to fictional cable TV storylines. The real world is filled with actual examples of unnecessary companies, apps, and products trying so hard to “disrupt” something, anything.
These companies mean well enough, but they are trying to solve problems that don’t necessarily need fixing. Here’s a recent batch of startup ridiculousness.
proud to announce my new tech startup, Groodlur, which takes unnecessary tech startups and converts them into uh, I guess, shoes
— uɐɯssnS ʇʇɐW (@suss2hyphens) April 19, 2017
Instead of buying bottled water, this company wants you to join their water station service. Reefill offers New York City tap water at various locations around the city for anyone who pays the $1.99 monthly subscription fee. The app is free, but that delicious city water is for members only. Yes, this sounds good for cutting back on environmental waste, but what happened to just asking a restaurant for a glass of tap water?
That $400 juice press
Juicero got shot down hard when everyone realized they could open the startup’s juice packs by hand instead of with the company’s $400 “smart home” contraption. The company ultimately offered refunds for their expensive and totally unnecessary juice press.
When you need Gucci, you need it now. That’s where startup Farfetch comes in to deliver Gucci clothes and accessories within 90 minutes. Your order is filled and brought straight to your door from Gucci stores in New York, LA, Miami, Europe, Brazil and Japan. If you live in a participating city your designer needs will be taken care of ASAP. Fashion can’t wait.
A 4-in-1 pen that — wait for it — is a pen, pencil, stylus, AND eraser
The Plenty Pen is as low-tech as it comes despite its marketing as a “super-functional pen” laden with features. Instead of carrying a separate pen, pencil, eraser (which usually comes on the back of a pencil anyway) and touchscreen stylus, this contraption put them all in one. Convenient, maybe. Necessary? Not really, unless you tend to buy a lot of things out of airplane catalogues. It’s just combining a bunch of things without innovating much. Like two-in-one shampoo and conditioner, it’s just not that difficult to keep things on their own sometimes.
An AI personal assistant for your house plant
The Grovio does seem like a useful way to take care of your succulent when you go on a business trip. But whatever happened to asking your neighbor to water your plants? Instead this smart watering station has sensors to monitor the moisture, humidity, and temperature for your house plant. It’s wireless, automatic, and can take care of up to three plants at a time for as long as 45 days (that’s a really long business trip). It’s cool that the future is here, but we don’t need this quite yet. At least until neighbors still exist.
Tinder meets Chatroulette
This is a video dating app that takes an old school concept and blends it with new technology. But why? The classic party game, spin the bottle, doesn’t need a revamp. It’s not exactly the most romantic way to meet someone IRL, so doing it online sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
And let’s not even talk about what Chatroulette became known for…
Salt shaker that’s also a music speaker — and mood lighting, duh
If you don’t have a Smalt — that’s a salt shaker with Bluetooth technology — you’re doing it wrong. How else can you entertain and have dinner parties unless your salt shaker plays music, lights up, and serves as a centerpiece.
The dumpster fire that was Fyre Festival
Finally, we can’t forget about the biggest startup fail in recent history: entertainer Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland’s Fyre Festival. But instead of a luxury, Instagram-worthy music event filled with models, influencers, and pristine beaches, the inaugural Fyre Festival was a mess.
The company’s pitch deck should have been the first clue that this was bound to be a disaster, but it’s easy to get caught up in a startup’s compelling language. “It will ignite that type of emotion, that type of power in our guests,” that’s a real line from a presentation slide to get investors to buy-in on this Caribbean dream weekend.
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