I’m working from home in San Francisco, and the granola bar I had for breakfast wears off just after 12:15 pm. I open up the SpoonRocket app on my phone and select a chicken tamale and a mint smoothie.
I’m tagging along with Instacart personal shopper Dave Banse as he fills an order at the Rainbow Grocery co-op in San Francisco, which includes searching the aisles high and low for mung-bean pasta.
What do you mean, a 50 percent refund?" says the voice on the other end of the line. "Are you serious? When the account has already been suspended? That's not fair!"Blood rushes to my cheeks. I desperately want my next sentence to calm her down, to sound confident, sympathetic. I want this customer--my customer--to feel assuaged. Satisfied.
Alex Morton can still remember the day when he decided that academics weren't for him. He was a freshman at Arizona State University, sitting in biology class, when it clicked. "My professor starts talking about biomes," he says. "I'm like, ‘My major is communications, and this guy wants me to memorize all the animals in the rainforest? I gotta go.'"
The campuses of the tech industry are famous for their lavish cafeterias, cushy shuttles, and on-site laundry services. But on a muggy February afternoon, some of these companies’ most important work is being done 7,000 miles away, on the second floor of a former elementary school at the end of a row of auto mechanics’ stalls in Bacoor, a gritty Filipino town 13 miles southwest of Manila.