More evidence against Zero Marginal Product (ZMP)

“Manage our worm bin!”

That was the help-wanted note new mom Rachel Christenson posted a few weeks ago at online marketplace TaskRabbit Inc. Neither she nor her husband wanted the “gross” job of dealing with an overflowing compost bin, so she clicked her mouse in search of someone who would do her dirty work.

After about 11 hours and a few crazy questions like, “Are your worms nice?” Ms. Christenson, 27 years old, found a taker. Douglas Ivey, a 45-year-old research scientist, drained the “worm juice” from the bin, put back the compost, mixed in newspaper and hosed it all down. The price? $31. “That guy was bold,” says Ms. Christenson, of San Francisco. “He just jumped right in.”

“It was completely disgusting,” says Mr. Ivey, who added, “I don’t mind. Actually, I find the really gross jobs pay pretty well.”

This is from Emily Glazer, “Serfing the Web: Sites Let People Farm Out Their Chores,” Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2011.

Great line: “Companies like this are really tackling things like unemployment in an efficient, viable way,” Mr. Kutcher [one of the customers] says.