Things I’ll never build – Part MCLV – The Conbini App

Third episode in my Things I’ll Never Build series that details web services, apps that I would probably use did they exist. The series is a way for me to evacuate some half-assed ideas that I don’t have time or motivation to push any further, while I focus on more realistic personal and internal projects at AQ.

Good Will x Eco x Food

Talking about AQ, this is how I first got the idea for the app. We have this daily combini run where a few of us will go stretch our legs at the nearby convenience store. Sometimes, one of us is busy and places an order with his colleagues, or one of us is returning from a meeting at around the same time and will offer to grab everyone’s favorite snack on the way back.
But then you could extend use cases to quick visits to a supermarket on the way back home (or to visit a friend) and offering to grab a few things. Push it even further and just alert everyone you are going to Ikea today and offer to bring back anything they want.

The app

I am going to the combini for myself.
I launch the app, select my location, check in and notify a group of friends.
They have 60s to answer with a simple tap on their regular order list.
I buy my stuff and theirs.
I go back to the office, deliver the goods and get my money back.

Some Features

  • Conbinis can promote discounted goods.
  • Get notifications when prices go down on your saved food or during time-sales.
  • Keeps an order history for easy/quick selection.
  • Saves price of past orders to track fluctuation.
  • Kindness Ranking tracks how many times you’ve picked up things for your friends.
  • The Surprise Me button for the adventurous type.


  • Foursquare for locations
  • NFC for payments
  • Paypal Bumps for payback
  • Passbook-like services

Biz Plan

  • Conbinis pay us to advertise promoted goods to our users and pay us every time someone buys one of them.
  • Conbinis pay us a tiny bonus every time a user buys something for someone other than themselves (when a friend responds with an order, a special barcode appears on my screen that can be read by the conbini.)

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    Based in Paris & Tokyo, Paul Baron is a senior product manager for hire. Ex-@AQworks. Co-founder of cultural platform Tokyo Art Beat.
    Service design, interaction design, startups, user research.
    Posts a few times a decade since 2003.

    Visit for the full site.

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