Push for Pizza app a Silicon Valley triumph

An app that tackles one of the world's most pressing problems has arrived. Now, with a simple few taps, you too can realize what it's like to live in the year 2014.

Nick Statt Former Staff Reporter / News
Nick Statt was a staff reporter for CNET News covering Microsoft, gaming, and technology you sometimes wear. He previously wrote for ReadWrite, was a news associate at the social-news app Flipboard, and his work has appeared in Popular Science and Newsweek. When not complaining about Bay Area bagel quality, he can be found spending a questionable amount of time contemplating his relationship with video games.
Nick Statt
2 min read

Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

It's hard these days not to poke fun at the excesses of tech startup culture.

While the phrase "Uber for X" has become synonymous with services and smartphone apps solving problems born of minor inconveniences, other companies are pouring the engineering talents of former Apple and Google engineers into grilled cheese delivery contraptions. Changing the world, one might say, one ham and cheese sandwich at a time.

Yet once in a while, a ray of ingenuity-imbued sunshine pushes through the clouds of nonsense and you get a startup solving real problems, tackling the untouchable, almost-Herculean tasks no other tech company would dare challenge. Meet Push for Pizza, an iOS app announced Tuesday that finds the nearest pie place and, as advertised, let's you order with a few simple taps.

Rising like a marinara phoenix from the ashes of every laundry and flower delivery startup that has tried to commoditize laziness, Push for Pizza will transform how you seek out simple sustenance embroiled in the late-night haze of poor decision making.

"Push For Pizza was built by five teenagers and one mature adult who love and appreciate pizza," the company's bio reads. "They just didn't like the process of actually having to call to order the pizza."

Simply put in your address and credit card information when setting up the app, then pizza is only ever a push away. Based on your location, the app lets you order cheese or pepperoni pizzas from nearby pizza joints to be delivered to your door. The app forgoes some key features in favor of an Apple-like simplicity. For instance, it doesn't ping you with obnoxious notifications to prevent you from burning your mouth on a fresh slice, nor will it tell you which one of your bros is shoving down more than his fair share of the pie.

Yet in striving to be the zen-like paragon of pizza ordering, Push for Pizza achieves something remarkable: it manages to overcome the complexity curve and deliver not what we thought we wanted, but what we didn't know we needed.

As Henry Ford once said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a specific pizza interface for Seamless or perhaps less friction when creating a Dominos.com Pizza Profile™."

Push for Pizza is not the first startup to attempt to slay the complexity dragon that is pizza ordering without human interaction. That was maybe Red Tomato Pizza in Dubai, and they used a fridge magnet.

The elegant simplicity of Push for Pizza illustrates that when you do things right, users won't even be sure they ordered a pizza at all, until it arrives at their door at 2 a.m. and the charge shows up on their credit card statement.