Do It For Me

The 25 Most Bizarre Zaarly & TaskRabbit Requests: Get Paid to Do What?

26 Photos

A business partner

Like Craigslist missed connections, the random jobs offered up on sites like TaskRabbit and Zaarly have a certain poetry all their own. They offer a glimpse into someone else’s world, a snapshot that often piques the curiosity. Who is the cute addict that needs a kitten hand-delivered to their office for a lunch time cuddle sesh? Why, exactly, does this personal trainer have to wear holiday-themed gear? And how can anyone afford to pay that much for a cup of coffee?

We’ve put together a list of gigs that might inspire you to day labor, even if you don’t need the money. Read More

Do It For Me

Brother, Can You Spare Some Time? Zaarly, TaskRabbit and the Rise of the Convenience Economy

Illustration by Oliver Munday

Chad Miller likes to think of running errands for strangers on TaskRabbit as a quasi-religious experience—or at least as close to spiritual as a gay former Southern Baptist from West Texas is likely to find in New York. Mr. Miller is a 38-year-old Columbia graduate who acts, writes and works full-time managing outreach for the university’s Arts Initiative. He signed up for TaskRabbit as his “tertiary job” in September, shortly after the Boston-based startup launched in New York.

“This is going to be incredibly gay as I’m saying it,” Mr. Miller laughed, “but it’s very hakuna matata, Disney-fied—you put it out there and you get a little back. The karma piece is really nice.”

Along with a bumper crop of like-minded companies, such as Zaarly, Fancy Hands and Agent Anything, that have entered the New York market in the past year or so, TaskRabbit offers an updated play on Craigslist for the iPhone-era: buyers post the dirty work they want to get done and nearby “Rabbits” bid on the jobs. Service requests range from the sophisticated—“Motivate me to write a book :)” read a recent TaskRabbit request from Midtown—to the menial. “$50 for a Massage,” a Zaarly user on the West Side posted in November. “General massage,” the ad elaborated, tersely, in the description. For the most part, however, Rabbits are asked to perform domestic drudgery: assembling Ikea furniture tops the list.

It’s easy to see why democratizing the personal assistant might do well in New York, a city largely unburdened by hang-ups about, say, paying $20 to avoid wasting time in a Laundromat, even when one’s budget barely permits it.

In the past three months, Mr. Miller has made a little over $2,000 on the kind of irksome chores overextended urbanites are eager to slough off on someone else, including driving strangers to JFK, waiting in line for hours to save someone’s seat for a Conan taping and lugging furniture to a fourth-floor walk-up. The money’s nice and all, but to hear Mr. Miller tell it, the appeal doesn’t sound far off from “Love thy neighbor.” Read More

Can I Get a Hand With This?

Founder of Second Life Follows Zaarly and TaskRabbit Into the Errand-Outsourcing Market

What up, gurl? 2008 was aweslam.

You guys remember SecondLife, right? The virtual world that was going to revolutionize education, branding, and human interaction? The one whose economy, based on the Linden Dollar, rivaled some tiny European country’s GDP?

Not sure whether anyone’s avatar is still living (or learning) there, but founder Philip Rosedale has moved on, with an eye to IRL.

As AllThingsD reports, his new startup, Coffee & Power, is an online market that lets users buy and sell small tasks. Read More

Delivery From Inconvenience

Zaarly, the Marketplace for Outsourcing Local Errands, Picks Up $14 Million and Meg Whitman

Mr. Fishback, via Crunchbase

It looks like a few big names have picked their horse they want to bet on in the convenience economy. And then saddled that horse up with bags of cash.

Today Zaarly, the marketplace that matches people who have tasks they need to get done with people willing to do them (for a price and within the specified time frame), just announced it picked up $14 million investment round led by Kleiner Perkins. For comparison TaskRabbit, one of Zaarly’s many competitors, raised a more modest series A at $5 million in May.

Zaarly, which counts Michael Arrington, Ashton Kutcher and AngelList’s Naval Ravikant as seed investors, also announced a would-be governor on their board: current HP CEO and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Read More