A piece on the astonishing complexity of modern supply chains.
One time my wife asked me "What's up with all these Mattress Firm stores? It seems like there's one every couple of blocks." Well, it definitely wasn't business as usual.
But . . . but . . . I was told that in a concentrated industry dominated by a few big, powerful companies, nothing would threaten them except antitrust.
Maybe because non "brainy" content is now so dirt cheap?
Amazon is creating some losers--bookstores and now, traditional publishers--but a lot of winners, too.
Another gorgeous example of the principle that if an organization makes a rule--business, government, whatever--you can be virtually certain that people will come along and try to game the rule. And if there's a lot of money involved, the gaming will be taken to the nth degree.
In the New York Times(!) a "counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration"(!!) explodes a long-standing, pernicious myth.
Oh my God, where are the antitrust authorities when you need them? One company has nearly a monopoly on gossip magazines! Surely, this is at least as big a problem as they had with superpremium ice cream!
Links to a half-dozen articles about one of the great American businesses of our time. (Full disclosure: I've been an Amazon customer since 1995.)
A big part of Amazon’s success has come from not being taken seriously by its competition. Amazon was able to create a huge lead in Amazon web services (AWS) because the competition (Alphabet and Microsoft) did not give Amazon enough respect.
But those mournful of the rise of internet shopping are actually mourning the proliferation of consumer choice and convenience. They are lamenting the very purpose of a market economy – to satisfy consumer needs and desires. In trying to protect certain kinds of businesses and certain kinds of jobs, they are actually trying to impede the creation of new ones that empower consumers and serve them in the way they wish to be served.
Of course, all these fears are terribly dramatic and overblown, falling into the classic error that confuses corporate power with government power. While governments can use police and military forces to compel people to behave in a certain way, the only power corporations have in a free market is to offer to buy and sell goods. No one is obliged to do business with them, and they depend entirely on keeping their customers happy.
Amazon is taking over the world, and it has one secret weapon making its conquest possible.
The online retailer blows its competition out of the water when it comes to customer loyalty. In a recent survey from RBC Capital Markets, 93% of the 2,200 Americans surveyed said they use Amazon more than any other online retailer over the past year. That's quite the market penetration.
Unlike Apple, Google, and Microsoft, Amazon is not fixated on a tightly designed ecosystem of interlocking apps and services. Bezos instead emphasizes platforms that each serves its own customers in the best and fastest possible way.
Is there anything Amazon can't sell you? If so, I haven't found it yet. The day our cleaning lady told me we needed a new filter for the vacuum cleaner was the day I became a convert. Normally, procuring such an item is a tedious and time-consuming chore that requires a special trip to the vacuum-cleaner store halfway across town. This time, I just ordered it from Amazon.
All this has prompted developers like Mr. Holliday to go scrambling for cheaper and less labor-intensive construction methods — and investors to pour money into start-ups that promise to do just that. Katerra, a three-year-old prefabricated building company in the Silicon Valley city of Menlo Park, has raised $1.1 billion in venture capital. A number of other building start-ups including Blokable, based in Seattle; Kasita, based in Austin, Tex.; and RAD Urban, based in Oakland, Calif., have all popped up over the past five years.