Uber for Everything

One of the technology industry’s big bets is that once a company is good at transporting one thing, it should be able to do the same for anything.

Companies including Uber and Instacart are starting to branch out from one area — getting people or groceries to their destination — into delivering restaurant food, prescription drugs, home goods, pet food and convenience store items. In that vein, Uber this week bought Drizly, which delivers from liquor stores.

You can imagine the potential if courier services delivered almost anything under the sun. But will it work, and is it a good thing?

It’s impossible to predict whether one-stop delivery behemoths will pan out or what the ripple effects might be — both helpful and harmful. But we should pay attention to these companies’ moves and think critically about the stakes for small businesses, our wallets, our communities and the U.S. work force.