Okay, gonna pause the agog eviscerations for a sec to actually think about Bodega's real business proposition
Distributed retail systems have existed for a long-ass time and they live or die on 1) labor efficiency, and 2) logistics
Part of why vending machines are so notoriously shitty is it's about a billion percent more efficient to fill em all with the same products
One warehouse, one truck, one dude who knows chips go on the top 2 shelves, candy on the rest, gum on the bottom
Even if we buy the bourgeois sterility Bodega is selling us, what they'd better be selling VCs is a universe-shattering logistics system
The Bodega prototype includes 100 products, and it sounds like they envision multiple instances of 0% product overlap
Plus machine learning, of course! So even a single location's product set has steady churn.
If we're talking 100k location- and user-customized units, we're talking 1000s & 1000s of distributed SKUs — in remarkably small quantity
If you'd ever actually been into a bodega, you'd see half the boxes of tampons & cans of soup are covered in dust. Why do you think that is?
To keep alive a manually replenished network of 1000s of low-volume skus — well, wow, that takes a hell of a logistics program
What's Bodega's plan for warehousing? How are they going to communicate replenishment orders to their workers? How do the workers travel?
Even with 100k high-activity units, it's unlikely they can buy product at sufficient volume for the discount to offset the logistics costs
But I'm sure this is something they thought about, right? These powerful VCs and angels understood that this is a logistics product, right?
Restocking a Bodega, pretty & minimalist & open-shelved, is a more skilled task than restocking a vending machine. What's the training plan?
Then we run into some fun employment issues. Are your distributors/restockers employees or independent contractors? Jk what a dumb question
Alas, you're gonna run into some major & immediate user issues unless you keep up the kind of control you can only get with actual employees
So again, a logistics issue! Will you have enough restock frequency/density to justify cost of employees & employee training?
A reminder that any zero-interaction product still needs a fuckton of living humans to make & keep it operational twitter.com/harrisj/status…