TechCrunch has a really interesting story about delivery service Instacart in which it uses the biological difference between the spleen and the kidney to explain what Instacart needs to do to be successful, especially since it seems likely that at some point it will lose the Whole Foods business because of Amazon’s acquisition of that retailer.

Here’s the metaphor:

“The spleen does things in the body, real things. It filters poisons and biologists think it once did much more. But, if your spleen goes sideways you can take it out and not change your lifestyle much. It does stuff, but not enough to make it indispensable. Lose your kidneys and your life is going to start sucking real fast.
You wouldn’t die with just one kidney, but you’d certainly notice. And that’s the point.”

The story suggests that what Instacart has to do is go beyond the simple delivery function and become more integrated in the e-commerce experience:

“There are two critical ways to improve the Instacart experience overall, but both can be boiled down to building a stronger connection to its network, including users and grocery partners. Instacart needs to know you, what’s important to you, while maintaining a real-time understanding of what’s going on at every grocery partner location on its platform.”

You can read the story here.