What Can’t You Get On Your Phone?

As I sat on my couch watching a movie that was still in theatres that I ordered on my tablet, while simultaneously waiting for a Postmates order and setting up a date for later on Tinder, I started to wonder

“What can’t you get on your phone?”

And I’m not alone.

Here’s some scary statistics for you about how how often we use our phones

  • The Average person looks at their phone OVER 100 times a day
  • 71% of people sleep next to their mobile phone
  • 20% of people have reported falling asleep with their phone in their hand
  • 20% of people have admitted to checking their phone during sex

As Dan Le Batard says “Our phones are the great unspoken about addiction of our time.”

And why not?

You can get almost ANYTHING with just a few keystrokes. Or if you, like me are an android user, a simple scan of your eyes is enough to buy new shoes. I know. I did it. Made it WAY too easy.

What can you get on your phone?
  • Sex. Apps like tinder and bumble as well as every other dating site out there (and private apps I’m not cool enough to get invited to) make it possible to literally go from meeting a man or woman to inviting them over in a few simple messages.  
  • Legal Drugs. Obviously you can’t order drugs that are illegal (or at least I’m too square to know how) but in Las Vegas where I live you can order recreational marijuana delivered to your house with a local ID. You can also use Postmates to pick up your prescriptions if you set it up with your pharmacy beforehand. 
  • Alcohol. Postmates and other services will bring you booze when you are too drunk to drive to the store. 
  • Food. Pretty obvious but you can literally order any type of food pretty much 24/7. 
  • Car service. Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services let you order your own car or carpool with others. 
  • Groceries. Whether you order from Amazon fresh or some other service you can arrange weekly or daily grocery deliveries ensuring you never need step foot in a supermarket ever again,
  • TV. Stream any TV show you want to watch at any time. In any place. I was watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” at the DMV.
  • Movies. Not only can you get movies to stream to your phone (including some like the Rock’s terrible Jumanji remake even stream while in theatres). You can also get movie tickets if you decide you want to leave the comfort of your couch.
  • Music. Someone possibly Bomani Jones recently mentioned how crazy it is that you can literally listen to any song you want to at any time on your phone for $9.99 a month with no commercials. 
  • Validation. Feeling down about yourself? Post something to social media and instantly get the validation of your friends and family.
  • Deals. Sick of overpaying? You can download a groupon coupon while in line and get a discount you didn’t even know existed. 
  • Dog sitting. Need to run out but don’t want to leave Fido alone? Companies like WAG will match you and your furry pal with a pet sitter.
  • Sports and Event tickets. Apps like Stubhub allow you to purchase tickets while you’re out and about or even on the way to the venue.
  • Investments. You can even invest on your phone with apps like Acorn which will automatically invest savings it automatically withholds from your bank account.

As you can see, you can pretty much do anything or buy anything on your phone.

But there are still a few things you can’t get like:

You cannot at the time of this writing order a Unicorn
What You can’t get on your phone:


  1. Boats. As far as I can tell there is no app with which you can instantly rent a boat. Sure you could probably find and call a boat rental place but there is no app for that.
  2. Helicopters. Ditto with helicopters. Rich person transportation is a real hole in the app economy.
  3. Friends. You can’t make friends online with an app. While there are apps like Bumble BFF none of them work and you’ll end up getting hit on by someone of the same sex when you try them. Or at least that’s what happens to me. Every. Time. Also Tinder is not a friend app. Stop putting “friends only” in your tinder app. They don’t have an app for friends. Deal with it. 
  4. Quality Meetings and Events. There are apps like Meetup and Eventbrite but they are NOT going to send you to events you actually want to go to. In my experience if you go to 10 events from these kind of apps 1 MIGHT be worthwhile. Might. 
  5. Passive Income. As of yet there are no good apps for making passive income and no I don’t trust REIT apps like Fundrise. 
  6. Legitimate business opportunities or jobs. This might need it’s own post but the jobs and opportunities that are offered on apps are generally in the gig economy which is a nice way of saying low paid and no benefits. 
  7. Nightlife guides or recommendations. This isn’t just an app thing. For my entire club going life I have NEVER once found a website that has accurate nightlife recommendations. Not one. You will be either in an empty club or a club full or the worst crowd you have ever seen trusting nightlife reviews online. Someone (not me) should start a business where you can see a live video feed inside of all the bars and clubs in a town. Million dollar app idea. 
  8. Trustworthy Reviews or Testimonials. You can find review and testimonials on almost every website making it increasingly difficult to know who to believe. 
  9. Cross Device Rivals. I used to have a mac. Long story short I switched everything to Google and went Chrome. You know what I can no longer do? Watch the tv shows I paid for and music I bought on Itunes. I also cannot watch Directv on demand. That’s fun. 
  10. Reasonable food delivery. I’m just saying it is mathematically impossible to spend less than $20 on food delivery. Even if you don’t tip. 
  11. Favors. Another part of the Gig economy. One of the reasons that you have to pay for Uber or Postmates is that you don’t have friends who would do favors for you. There’s no way to get people to do you a favor online without paying them.
  12. Illegal things. I covered this a little earlier but I can order weed but not cocaine? Seems racist.
  13. Same day furniture. I could have picked a bunch of same day services like handyman repairs or auto service but you cannot order and receive furniture on the same day with any app. Yes I know about offer up but that doesn’t count because it’s used and that’s basically craigslist.
What could be next?

As you have now seen you can get almost anything but not quite everything from convenience of your phone.

But here’s a few ideas for what might be next:

  • 10% improvements. Many of these services have major flaws from pricing to delivery times. I expect that the first thing we’re going to see is small 10% improvements of these services as they are currently offered. 
  • Same day delivery for bigger items like furniture, entertainment equipment etc. Someone could make a killing renting out big screen tvs for Super Bowl parties.
  • Repairs. Repairs are a majorly underserved niche when it comes to apps. Imagine having someone come fix your flat tire while you are work, or having the genius bar come pick up your laptop and provide you with a replacement.
  • Doctor’s appointments. You’re already seeing some of this with companies like Plushcare but the services and types of Doctors are limited. One easy area where this could be a major revenue creator would be for cosmetic surgery consultations when patients are too embarrassed to come in to the office.
  • Specialized items: Keto or 30 day whole diet food delivery, niche products and more drilling down into specific items that small groups will pay big money for.
  • Luxury items and services. I mean this might not even be lacking it’s totally possible that Elon Musk has a private app for wealthy people that books him spaceships and whatnot but I expect to see more luxury item delivery apps at some point soon.

Ok that was a big brain dump

But I am genuinely curious what do you think will be the next “BIG” thing when it comes to getting stuff on your phone?

Great Businesses Are Based On Secrets, and Postmates is built on 2 Fascinating Ones…

In the New York Times Best Seller “Everybody Lies” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, he quotes Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley bigwig/super villain as saying “Great businesses are built on secrets.”

In the book they give the examples of Facebook being built on the fact that despite public protestations about the addition of the timeline to the feed, users actually spent way more time online seeing what their friends were doing.

Another example is given about a horse racing syndicate which discovers that the larger a certain valve in a horse’s heart is the greater the chance he will become a racing champion.

Netflix was built on the secret that despite the fact that many people claim to want to watch high brow films and documentaries and add them to their watchlist, they end up watching the same old comedies and tv shows.

One you may have noticed and can verify with a short drive, is that while most people talk about eating healthy and say they haven’t eaten Mcdonalds in years, there is always a line at the Mcdonalds drive thru no matter the time of day.

Over the weekend I decided to do some research on an upcoming project by doing a few Postmates deliveries and I discovered that Postmates is built on 2 interesting secrets.

If you’re not familiar with Postmates it’s a gig economy service where you can order almost anything picked up for you from alcohol to fast food for a fee.

Postmates is built on 2 fascinating secrets:

1. People will overpay for convenience if the overall amount is not exorbitant. If you’ve never used Postmates before you’ll notice that the fees rack up fast. It’s almost impossible to order a meal for less than $20 when you factor in delivery fees and some other random Postmates fee which I suspect is based on mileage the delivery person has to drive. While this is a “secret” I was amazed at how many people were willing to pay over $10 for a single Starbucks drink. Because the amount is still under $20, users don’t realize that they often paid more for delivery than for their food. It would be fascinating to learn exactly what the threshold is during a peak delivery time. Would someone pay $20 for a Starbucks drink? $45 for Inn n Out?

2. People don’t tip for delivery. If you’ve ever been sucked into an argument on social media about tipping as I have (I’m not ashamed) you’ve no doubt heard people brag about tipping 20-30% all the time. Even for delivery. I had always suspected that these people were full of it and Postmates clearly knows this too because it sets up its entire service to help the customer avoid tipping. There’s nothing for the customer to sign on delivery and they are sent a copy of the receipt. There is an option for the customer to tip AFTER the delivery is completed but there is no social pressure of having to click no in front of a real human and predictably no one tips after the delivery. My guess is the Postmates algorithm told them that they raise fees and people would pay them in exchange for not having to tip.

I could add another secret about how drivers don’t understand math well enough to add up their hourly rate but I think most people know Americans are bad at math.

Anyway this got me thinking about what other secrets businesses are based on, and I’d love to hear from you, what secrets are other companies built on?