Talking tech since 2003


One of Magic’s co-founders, David Merriman, reached out in response to our post yesterday:

“Hi, co founder of Magic here.

We’re trying our best to get through the waitlist! As you stated in your article, we did not expect such high demand so quickly, but we’re currently scaling to meet that demand. We are committed to this 100% and have a passionate team behind it.

We have the waitlist in order to make sure everyone in the system gets a great experience.

I’m looking forward to giving you the service ASAP! Sorry for the wait!”

Fair enough – but 17 hours after being put on the wait list, I’ve still got 4,618 people ahead of me. Seems like I’m in for a long wait, indeed.

Original Post

Maybe I’m being unfair, but I didn’t think it would take me less than an hour to stop believing in Magic.

Not long ago, my editor, Jeff, sent me the homepage for a new service called Magic. The premise is as simple and no-frills as tech startups can get: text the word “MAGIC” to the phone number, and you can ask for anything, as long as it’s not illegal.

“We have trained operators standing by 24/7 to answer every one of your requests,” reads the site. “Send us a text message, and we’ll get you what you want. We’ll order what you need from the appropriate service (e.g. DoorDash, Instacart, Postmates, etc.), and deal with them so you just automatically get what you want, like magic…”

The backstory of Magic is a mystery if you hope to find out more information via the website – but fortunately a post on TechCrunch has the details. Two days ago, Mike Chen and a team of ten people put Magic together as a side project on a whim. Their main focus is Bettir, a blood pressure monitoring app, so considering their split focus, you might forgive them for not realizing what would happen when they launched Magic: the site went up on Product Hunt and the service was flooded with requests it couldn’t fulfill. New customers have been relegated to an absurdly long wait list.

Said Chen on the overnight success (?):

“I had zero idea it would get like this. You know people say things happen overnight and I didn’t believe them before and now it’s happening to me.”

Okay – maybe he had zero idea this would happen. Maybe. But maybe he also should have realized that when you tell people that you’ll literally handle delivering them anything they want across all 50 states, it might be more than 10 people can handle.

magic-listI had the bright idea of trying Magic to order my dinner tonight – but no such luck. I texted the number and it took six minutes to receive a reply, which only told me that I had been added to a waitlist. I was number 4619.

Forty-five minutes later? I’m still number 4619. I had two options if I wanted to move ahead: I could share Magic on social media like Twitter or Facebook (which I did) or I could drop $50 to join the VIP-level of Magic. Considering that Magic doesn’t list its prices or policies, that didn’t seem like a great idea. Especially since after Tweeting about Magic, I still haven’t moved up on the line. Guess it’s leftovers tonight.

I think this service is a great idea. And I might give it a shot once Chen and his team figure out how to handle the volume that comes with promising anything, anytime, anywhere. But until then? Magic is a bit too good to be true.

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