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12/5/2012
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Subcontract Your Chores Using Your Smartphone

In the collaborative consumption culture, Exec and other services let you use your phone to outsource physical tasks. BYTE's Boonsri Dickinson tested the service out while staying at the luxurious W Hotel. In a follow up interview, Exec co-founder and CEO Justin Kan appeared on Valley View to discuss the inspiration for building an executive concierge service and future direction of the company.

There's something magical about being able to press a button on your smartphone and have a person show up to service you. Uber has that effect with its personal driver service. Exec also has that effect, but for personal services such as cleaning and delivery groceries.

Exec is a startup in San Francisco co-founded by Justin Kan, of Justin.TV fame, the popular live video site. Exec is very different than a video startup, but like Justin.TV, it is a platform that requires many users. Exec is an executive concierge service which uses technology to match customers with people that have the skills that can complete physical tasks.

The service is only available in San Francisco, but has plans to expand to the Bay Area and beyond.

To see what I could make an Exec do, I tested it out at the W Hotel. Overall, I was very pleased at what happened. The Exec who came to the W was a good sport.

During the last Valley View, Fritz Nelson and David Berlind interviewed Kan. Typically, any errand such as grocery delivery, cleaning, or furniture building can be completed thanks to the algorithm developed by Kan and his team.

At the moment, Kan is focused on scaling the businesses. How do you get people on the platform accepting work? How do you pay the Execs out? For every hour of work, an Exec gets paid $25.

As far as the most ridiculous thing someone used Exec for, Kan mentioned that in the first couple of weeks, one of their beta users used Exec to paint artwork for his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. Doesn't seem too ridiculous to me. I think some of the things I made Louis do pushed that boundary.

You can watch the full interview in the video below:

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There are competing services. For instance, Task Rabbit, which has scaled quickly, has a greater reach in markets around the United States. However, using the service is less straightforward and requires the customer to negotiate the price prior to the Task Rabbit completing the task. There's also GigWalk, which is being used by enterprises to scale out tasks in massive numbers.

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