When Apple CEO Tim Cook stood atop of the company’s main stage at its Cupertino, California, headquarters last week, the man in charge wasn’t just announcing the release dates of the 5C and 5S, he was creating an opportunity for another company that was eagerly waiting to profit.
“We were basically sitting there waiting to send the email as soon as someone finally said the word ‘iPhone,’” Johnny Brackett told CNN.
Brackett is the spokesman for the website and mobile app known as TaskRabbit, which allows users to outsource small jobs to people in their neighborhood who sign up to work with the company. Last year, one person used TaskRabbit to make $1500 for standing in line for 100 hours outside of an Apple store ahead of the iPhone 5 release.
This year, TaskRabbit advertised its service to Apple loyalists again with hopes that it could replicate the success it experienced last year.
“Any time that Apple launches a new product, we see an influx of tasks on TaskRabbit,” Brackett said. “Apple has a lot of true enthusiasts who can’t wait to get those phones, and there’s an obvious opportunity for us to help them out.”
TaskRabbit was founded in 2008 as RunMyErrand.com by Leah Busque, a then software engineer whose path to entrepreneurship started on a night she thought of how nice it would be to have people already on their way to the supermarket to pick up food for her yellow Labrador.
Five years later, the former IBM employee is at the head of a company that lists grocery shopping as one of the top three most popular tasks, for an average price of $35.
The way it works is simple.
Users post the jobs that they want done and the amount of cash they’re willing to pay. From there, any one of the many background checked “TaskRabbits” can sign up to do those jobs for that price or make a counteroffer. The job-poster is then free to choose any offer and is responsible for paying the TaskRabbits for their labor, any costs that come along with completing the tasks (like the price of the dog food) and a 20% service fee to the company that hopes to make bigger and bigger waves in the job market as time goes on.
“Our vision is huge: to revolutionize the way people work,” Busque told MIT’s Technology Review. “It’s about offering people more choice on how they work, what their schedules are like, how much they get paid, [and the choice of] being their own bosses.”
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