Two former Google employees want to replace corner stores like this with an app called “Bodega” and a vending machine. What will they think of next? (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
Broti Gupta is a comedy writer and frequent contributor to Daily Shouts in the New Yorker and McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

Two ex-Google employees are launching a new concept called “Bodega,” which will set up five-foot-wide pantry boxes filled with convenience store items. An accompanying app will let customers unlock the box, and cameras in the box will register items and charge users’ credit cards. The goal is to make bodegas and corner shops obsolete. Fast Company

“Doctor Matcha”

Have you ever had a sudden illness AND no health insurance? Then you must be pretty bummed! Instead of going to the Free Clinic, why not soothe the soul with matcha tea? Yes, you could still go to urgent care, but the cure to most things is just more you time. So go for that nice matcha latte perfectly topped with frothy almond milk from a self-serving glass “cafe” made out of Swarovski crystals. Now there’s some medicine that can heal the body … and the mind.


Your local barber is a gem, but he knows too much about you, especially having known your entire family for several generations. It’s like, “obsessed” much? This new iPhone app, which adds an image filter with your desired haircut on FaceTime or when you hold the phone up to your face, will make barbers irrelevant. And it will make your penchant for staying-in-your-bed-and-finding-the-best-lighting-to-FaceTime-your-friends-instead-of-hanging-out-with-them-or-not-paying-someone-to-do-their-job extremely relevant.

“Farmville to Table”

We all love a good farm-to-table restaurant to ensure that we’re getting local produce and supporting local businesses, but honestly, creating that situation where we feel good about our choices involves a few too many people. We don’t love people. So we’re restoring and updating Facebook’s Farmville game to become an app that says, “Whoa, nice!” when you order the veggies (secretly from, like, Walmart) you’ve “grown online” directly to your house in a truck.

“Mom and Pop”

You might be someone who can’t quite put their finger on what makes parents unique. Is it that they’re the only people in our lives who have opinions on nonporous sponges? Is it because they sort of look like you, which makes you evolutionarily predisposed to loving them? Could be both! But that doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. They’re old, they don’t think nonporous sponges are as good as theirs, and they keep begging you to come visit them whenever they go to a doctor. With our AI technology, we can fix those crippling flaws! With “Mom and Pop,” you can get two supportive robots who are still responsible for you, but you don’t have to be responsible for them.


Sick of apartments for your large family that you’re living paycheck to paycheck in? What about mansions you absolutely could never afford? We’re going to be replacing every apartment building with a large mansion, just like Silicon Valley millionaires have already done in San Francisco. Each mansion will include a bowling alley that your family could work maintaining, then fall asleep in after 16-hour days polishing the lanes and serving craft cocktails. The family living in the mansion will even look the other way when you sleep on the alleys (Pro tip: Keep those bumpers up)!


Less of a start-up and more of a primitive act, we’re just going to set the most diverse and affordable parts of cities on fire. While it burns, we’ll spray some Hennessey on it just to keep those flames steady on “the good stuff.” And like a phoenix (and also like parts of Phoenix), we will rebuild the cities to become “nicer,” by making sure their cultures become “obsolete.”