Amazon is Interesting

Every decade or so, we get a couple of very interesting companies to keep an eye on. I’m not referring here to being profitable (even though that’s often the case). It’s about being interesting, as in ground-breaking, mind-bending, evolutionary. This is not a recipe for long-term success, as these companies can either become nearly-unshakable, established names, or end up fading into mediocrity.

Amazon is most definitely a company to watch out for. It has historically been doing quite well for itself, but as this decade approaches its end, things are getting really interesting. Here’s a very well written and thought-provoking article about the firm:^

Even as Amazon draws closer to creating its own delivery service^ (and soon after, taking over the world) the company’s stock has suffered recently from a couple of direct attacks from the Trump Tactical Twitter Terror Torrent^, the White House’s newly found weapon of mass distraction. While it’s true that Amazon has dodged paying^ a lot of taxes, seeing this criticism coming from a master of tax evasion^ is somewhat tragi-comical. Note to self: one day find out who are the investors who profited the most from the dips in Amazon stock caused by the TTTTT^.

I’m pretty sure Amazon will continue to grow its business under almost any conditions can be thrown at it. The reason is culture. I believe Amazon managed to implement a culture of innovation that not only outpaces all its competitors, but is also very quick to adapt to changes in its economic and technologic environment.

I’m not sure if we should cry rivers for bankrupt retailers, but we should definitely cry rivers for the working conditions in some Amazon warehouses^. Keep in mind that this merciless economic ecosystem^ is of our own making^.

If during the coming years Amazon manages to become an almost transparent bridge between manufacturers and customers, it’s only the other retailers who lose. I emphasized the word “transparent” because sooner or later, Amazon will have to alter its business model in order to adapt to an economy where, other than monthly or seasonal exhibitions, customers will meet manufacturers online, with little to no mediation. It’s already happening through markets such as Etsy^, but will accelerate thanks to cryptocurrencies and other novel, yet to be imagined, means of doing commerce.

It won’t make me happy if small retailers might have to close shop, but perhaps it would be more pleasant for them to automate their logistics, sell online and spend the rest of their time doing more creative stuff. On the other hand, having a physical shop to go and test a product is quite valuable, albeit this is changing due to an increasingly flexible returns policy. Given the current trends, the job of being a retailer will eventually be completely automated, just like all other non-creative jobs. Or, I should say, the non-creative aspects of being a retailer will be automated, leaving creativity and originality as the valuable differentiator.

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