Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Amazon

Whole Foods Deal

Shows Amazon’s Prodigious Tolerance for Risk

JUNE 17, 2017

Joke all you want about drone-delivered kale and arugula.

Amazon’s $13.4 billion bet to take on the $800 billion grocery business in the United States by acquiring Whole Foods fits perfectly into the retailer’s business model.

Unlike almost any other chief executive, Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has built his company by embracing risk, ignoring obvious moves and imagining what customers want next — even before they know it.

Key to that strategy is his approach to failure.

While other companies dread making colossal mistakes, Mr. Bezos seems just not to care. Losing millions of dollars for some reason doesn’t sting. Only success counts.

That breeds a fiercely experimental culture that is disrupting entertainment, technology and, especially, retail.

Mr. Bezos is one of the few chief executives who joke about how much money they’ve lost.

“I’ve made billions of dollars of failures,” Mr. Bezos said at a 2014 conference, adding that it would be like “a root canal with no anesthesia” if he listed them.

There was the Fire phone, for instance, which was touted as being crucial to Amazon’s future. It was one of the biggest bombs since New Coke. At one point, Amazon cut its price to 99 cents. That did not help.

For any other company, this would have been a humiliating experience with severe repercussions. Wall Street did not blink, even when Amazon wrote off $170 million related to the device.

“If you’re going to take bold bets, they’re going to be experiments,” Mr. Bezos explained. “And if they’re experiments, you don’t know ahead of time if they’re going to work. Experiments are by their very nature prone to failure. But a few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.”

It is an approach baked into the company since the beginning — and one that is difficult, if not impossible, for competitors to emulate. Consider how Amazon Web Services began as a small internal cloud computing project to help Amazon’s core business. Then the company started selling excess cloud capacity to other companies.

Before Google and Microsoft realized it, Amazon had created a high-margin multibillion-dollar business that was encroaching on their turf. They are still struggling to catch up.

If the cloud computing business just grew, Amazon Prime was a bold bet from the beginning, the equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet for shoppers: Pay an annual fee and all shipping costs for the year are covered. Amazon’s shipping expenses ballooned, but revenue soared so much that no one minded.

“When you have such a long-term perspective that you think in decades instead of quarters, it allows you to do things and take risks that other companies believe would not be in their best interests,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst with the investment firm Robert W. Baird & Company.

Amazon began, for those too young to remember, as a discount internet bookseller in 1995.

In the headiness of the late-1990s dot-com boom, it became the symbol of how this new invention called the World Wide Web was going to change everything. Then, like many of the leading dot-com companies, it blew up. The world wasn’t quite ready for Amazon. It came very close to going under.

Mr. Bezos redoubled his focus on customers, largely closed the company off to the media and got to work doing some serious experiments. Amazon developed, for instance, the Kindle e-reader, which for a time seemed likely to kill off physical books entirely.

One thing the retailer did not do was make much money.

In its two decades as a public company, Amazon has had a cumulative profit of $5.7 billion. For a company with a market value of nearly $500 billion, this is negligible.

Walmart, which has a market value half that of Amazon, made a profit of $14 billion in 2016 alone.

But the tens of millions of customers do not care whether Amazon is hugely profitable. They care if it is making their lives easier or better.

“Jeff Bezos is making shopping great,” said Chris Kubica, an e-book consultant and software developer who watches Amazon closely. “He’s made me come to expect better from every checkout counter. Oh, I can scan my entire shopping cart full of groceries in one go, without stopping, as I roll into the parking lot? Yes, please. Where do I park?”

After the company’s disastrous foray with the Fire Phone, Amazon could have done what many other also-rans in smartphones do and keep putting out devices that most people ignore in favor of Apple and Samsung devices.

Instead, in 2014 it released Echo, a speaker that looks like a small poster tube. The Alexa intelligent assistant, which runs on it, can play music and tell jokes, and now Google, Apple and Microsoft are copying it.

“Bezos is ahead of the game, always,” said Sunder Kekre, a professor at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. “Be it drones or Amazon Go” — a grab-and-go shopping experiment that eschews human cashiers — “he is able to craft smart business strategies and position Amazon quite distinctly from competitors.”

As Amazon pushes on with its ceaseless experimenting, however, it risks being seen as less of a cute disrupter of the old and as more of a menace.

It has hired many workers for its warehouses, but it is also betting heavily on automation. Amazon Go, after all, is an attempt to drain the labor out of shopping.

“Amazon runs the risk of becoming too big,” Mr. Kekre said.

Some Amazon critics would like the Whole Foods deal to be the trigger for reining in the company.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a frequent foe of Amazon, noted that the company is “rapidly monopolizing online retail” and that both Prime and Echo “are strategies for locking in consumers and ensuring they don’t shop anywhere else.” Amazon declined to comment for this article.

Where will it all end? Mr. Kubica has thought about this.

Amazon can be understood as a decades-long effort to shorten the time between “I want it” and “I have it” into as brief a period as possible. The logical end of this would be the something Mr. Kubica jestingly called Amazon Imp, short for “implant” and also “impulse,” Mr. Kubica said. It would be a chip inserted under the skin.

“The imp would sense your impulses and desires,” Mr. Kubica wrote in an email, “and then either virtually fulfill them by stimulating your brain (for a modest payment to Amazon, of course) or it would make a box full of goodies for you appear on your doorstep (for a larger fee, of course).”

Every desire fulfilled. “I am sure that Amazon even now is building it,” Mr. Kubica said.

Advertisements

Wake up! Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are running our lives

Hannah Jane Parkinson. May 12, 2017

Let’s say you woke up this morning and after stopping your alarm clock, asked it to play some get-up-and-go music.

You go to make breakfast and see that you’re out of butter, but it doesn’t matter, because a delivery is on its way.

On your commute, you catch up with friends from back home. You turn to news across the Atlantic, read an interesting article on Trump. You go to a new spot for lunch and pay using your phone – and also for the train, and then for the last stretch, a cab.

Once home, dinner is by app, and you settle down to watch the latest TV show, except, it’s not actually shown on a TV.

It’s possible that this entire day is delineated by a handful of technology companies.

Google Home wakes you up in the morning and later, Google recommends a lunch spot – it even gives you live information on how busy it is.

It is partly responsible for your cab home, as Google is an investor in Uber. You checked in with friends on Facebook on that morning commute (you might have also used the Facebook “check-in” feature at your lunch spot).

The Trump piece you read is courtesy of the Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, the man behind Amazon.

Amazon is also responsible for recognising that your fridge is out of butter, and the TV show you watch? Even if you are watching Netflix and not Amazon Prime, Netflix would not exist without Amazon, as Amazon owns the web cloud services its rival uses.

With an 18% share of the smartphone market, it’s likely the apps you use are running on an iPhone. No? Well, maybe you have an Android device – owned by Google.

Cabal is not too strong a word. (Cartel?)

Take Amazon. It’s unfathomable, when you think about it. The idea of selling books online morphing into something that wants to get in your home and even the bottom drawer of your freezer, and – as we learned this week – live music events.

You might think that tech companies are taking over the globe – until you realise that Google, or rather Google’s parent company Alphabet, has invested in a space exploratory arm, Space X. So not just the globe. (Amazon and Facebook have also dipped their toes into space.)

Google’s latest mission, in fact, is taking on death itself. Why not?

Thing is, none of this might bother you. Why should it?

All of these companies improve our lives, right? I’d go as far as to say Google has made me a smarter person.

It’s perhaps made me a more intolerant person, because I believe there are very few gaps in knowledge that can’t be filled by an online search, and most of us, in developed countries at least, carry that ability in our pockets.

It’s why I love the Let Me Google That For You website – in which askers of easily answerable questions are sent an automatic link that enters the question into Google, to shame their indolence.

It could be argued that tech has made us lazier, but I’d counter that it has only made us lazier in whichever area we tended to be lazy in already.

I’m a bad cook, so apps such as Uber Eats or Deliveroo, on my Apple phone, have perhaps made me lazier, but if I was a better cook I might not use them.

(And the tech, if I wasn’t as lazy, could help me get better at cooking.) But I’m not going to stop drawing by hand, something I enjoy, just because there’s an app I can do that on. It’s undeniable that tech has changed our lives fundamentally, but in often very good ways.

The problem is, a small group of companies ruling the world, just as with people, is not a good thing.

This is why antitrust laws exist. It’s why Rupert Murdoch has suddenly started to clean up Fox and News UK, because he wants his BSkyB bid to go ahead, despite considerable concerns of a monopoly.

Recently there’s been speculation that Mark Zuckerberg might run for US office. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that it’s possible he would have less power if he was president than he does now.

Facebook has 1.28 billion daily active users. Most individuals now get their news via the platform and, as was emphasised in the election of Donald Trump, this is problematic when there’s a lack of editorial control. Zuck at first tried to play down Facebook’s “fake news” influence, which was difficult when simultaneously boasting about his company’s influence on voter turnout and engagement.

And I’ll tell you something; there’s nothing more incensing than a dude bashing out a 5,000-word manifesto on how he wants to change the world having based some of his operations in offshore locations so he can avoid paying corporate taxes.

Likewise, it is disingenuous at best and dictatorial at worst to say you want to help extend India’s internet access and then make Facebook one of few available websites.

And if you want to opt out? Well, it isn’t always that easy. Some of these companies make it difficult to cut ties entirely, hence concerns around data retention and individual rights. But the other point is that unilateral opting out might mean you end up living a somewhat ascetic life.

I quit Facebook in 2013, and as a direct result of this, I have fallen out of touch with many friends.

People have had babies, people have got married and divorced and other people have died and I have been absolutely none the wiser, because I don’t keep up with Facebook. Sure, that’s my own fault, but I was tired of the banalities of the medium and the time it was taking up in my life, and the concern that Facebook was following me everywhere, like the eyes of an Old Master painting.

It is time now for two things:

for people to wake up and realise how much our lives are dominated by such a small number of Silicon Valley bros, one hand in their jean pocket announcing their next move, and

for tech companies to acknowledge their power and influence and become truly accountable. To pay their goddamn taxes. To actually do something about online abuse. To not take the piss out of consumers by releasing a $700 product and then tweaking it months later for greater profit.

I don’t want to worry that the curating of Apple News is quasi-Pravda. Or that companies are making money from extremist content. And I understand that in so many “free” services we pay a different way, by becoming a product ourselves, and giving up some of of our privacy. That’s a trade that many of us are willing to make and will keep making, but up to a point. Up to a point.

The Bad B’s of Leadership

The letter B

Bad leadership feels safe like baggy jeans and broken-in sneakers.

Bad leadership has a baffling capacity to walk comfortable paths while the world changes.

Bold leadership, on the other hand, feels dangerous like learning to walk.

Bold leadership feels like almost falling.

The difference between safe and dangerous, bad and bold is:

  1. Declaring hopes. Unshared dreams don’t happen. If you want to get somewhere, tell someone where you’re going.
  2. Forgiving.
  3. Stepping out so someone can step in.
  4. Expecting more from yourself and others.
  5. Trying something untried.
  6. Developing untested skills.
  7. Admitting failure publicly.
  8. Trusting someone new.
  9. Accepting new challenges.
  10. Asking when in doubt.

No wonder there are so many bad leaders. Bad is benign.

Bold leaders step out with UNcertainty.

Bold leaders step toward the edge. Brash leaders mock the edge. Bad leaders are so far from the edge they can’t see it.

From bad to be bold:

  1. Let reluctance show you who you are. What’s in you that blocks your future.
  2. Reject notions of feeling competent. They’re overrated. You aren’t reaching high enough if you make it the first time.
  3. Make growth personal. Tie new skills and challenges to character. How does facing fear, for example, help you become who you want to be? What new character-muscles create your future.
  4. Imagine the new you before she emerges. Describe who you are on the other side of uncertainty.
  5. Rely on trusted advisers, mentors, and coaches.
  6. Continue moving forward – don’t fix failures – leave them behind. Think next time all the time.
  7. Role play in safe environments. Test your wings before leaving the nest.

What can you do that feels like you’re almost falling?

More bad “B” words for leaders:

  1. Belittle.
  2. Beguile.
  3. Baby.
  4. Biased.
  5. Baggage.
  6. Boring. (By the way, anyone interested in me isn’t boring!)
  7. Backstabbing.
  8. Bragging.
  9. Brownnoser.
  10. Bottleneck.

For a longer list of important “B’s” for leaders visit the Leadership Freak Facebook page (7/2/2013).

What good or bad B’s for leaders can you suggest?

Add important leadership words that begin with “C” onFacebook for tomorrow’s post.

Cost reduce or value increase?

Organizations that want to increase their metrics either invest in:

Creating more value for their customers, or

Doing just enough to keep going, but for less effort and money.

During their first decade, the core group at Amazon regularly amazed customers by investing in work that created more value. When you do that, people talk, the word spreads, growth happens.

Inevitably, particularly for public companies, it becomes easier to focus on keeping what you’ve got going, but cheaper.

You may have noticed, for example, that their once legendary customer service hardly seems the same, with 6 or 7 interactions required to get an accurate and useful response.

This happens to organizations regardless of size or stature. It’s a form of entropy.

Unless you’re vigilant, the apparently easy path of cost reduction will distract you from the important work of value creation.

The key question to ask in the meeting is: Are we increasing value or lowering costs?

Race to the top or race to the bottom, it’s a choice.

Aerial Footage of Uncontacted Amazon Tribe? The first shot…

How incredible it is to imagine that even today there is a tribe that has no contact with the civilized outside world!

This video from Survival International brings to you an unbelievable aerial footage of one of the most vulnerable people on Earth—a tribe that inhabits the dense Amazon forests and is still light years away from civilization.

A campaign has been launched to save the tribe which is on the verge of getting wiped out.

First Ever Aerial Footage of Uncontacted Amazon Tribe
The tribe, unaware of the rest of the world, its history…
reshareable.tv

Scott Wallace posted:

Officials from Brazil’s Indian affairs agency, FUNAI, say they have confirmed the existence of a previously unknown indigenous group in the rugged folds of the western Amazon.

The tribe, believed to number as many as 200 people, was initially discovered through the examination of satellite images of rain forest clearings and confirmed by aerial reconnaissance flights earlier this year.

The overflights revealed 3 separate clearings and 4 large communal dwellings, known as malocas, clustered in the dense jungles of the Javari Valley Indigenous Reserve in far western Brazil.

Specialists in matters pertaining to isolated Indians estimate the population of uncontacted tribes by examining the size and number of dwellings, as well as any gardens the inhabitants might have under cultivation. The recently discovered tribe is reported to have planted tracts of corn, banana, and low-to-the-ground bushes that might be peanuts or cassava.

Into the Jungle
The Javari — a sprawling rain forest reserve half the size of Florida — is home to the largest concentration of uncontacted tribes in the entire world.

There are at least 8 uncontacted indigenous communities, and perhaps as many as 14, inhabiting the upland forests in the headwaters of the rivers that drain the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land.

It’s an area with which I have more than a passing familiarity. In 2002, I accompanied a team from FUNAI’s elite unit, the Department of Isolated Indians, on a 3-month expedition through the reserve’s primeval forest to track a mysterious indigenous tribe known as the flecheiros — the Arrow People.

If true, the news would amount to a strong vindication of Brazil’s policy to locate and protect its isolated tribes.

Such isolated groups are highly susceptible to communicable diseases and to cultural dislocation unleashed by contact with the outside world. The Javari reserve is especially well protected from intrusions.

The territory is overseen by the Javari Valley Ethno-Environmental Protection Front — administratively part of the Department of Isolated Indians. The Front’s director Fabricio Amorim told the Estado de São Paulo newspaper that the settlement appears to have been built within the past year.

The Front operates 3 control posts along major rivers leading into the depths of the reserve, and the Javari Valley remains a bastion of tribal vitality and a rich repository of biodiversity.

Not the Only Ones
FUNAI has now confirmed the existence of more than two dozen uncontacted tribes within Brazil’s national territory, more than any other country in the world.

The Department of Isolated Indians has received reports of dozens of others, but they have yet to be confirmed. Peru comes second, with 15 such groups roaming its Amazonian regions. They are under mounting threat from loggers, gold prospectors, and energy companies exploring for oil in the deep jungle. Peru recently announced new measures to protect its isolated tribes.

Scott Wallace writes about the environment and indigenous affairs for National Geographic and other publications. His forthcoming book, The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes, will be published by Crown in October 2011. For more information, please visit www.scottwallace.com.

And Syria President Assad visits camp for displaced people in Damascus suburb. A first picture?
Assad visits camp for displaced people in Damascus suburb. The look on the child says it all.<br /><br /><br /><br />
http://gulfnews.com/news/region/syria/syria-s-al-assad-visits-refugees-near-damascus-1.1303025

A primitive tribe in the Amazon: Taking a good look at our civilization

The members of this tribe were asked to comment on what they are seeing in the video…

The video is in French and I will provide short answers of the tribe on the events:

1. Mankind stepping on the Moon: The moon is to light earth at night. What man has to do there?

2. Modern war, tanks, canons, burning of of entire towns: When a tribe kidnaps one of our members, we react by kidnapping one of theirs. A reaction of the same kind and level of violence. There were tribes that ate people when hungry, but they disappeared. We cannot conceive of such level of violence…

3. On the Twin Tower crumbling down: How can people kill people they never met or know?

4. The youth recognized Michael Jackson

5. All were moved when listening to Maria Callas singing a romantic opera piece: They didn’t need to understand the lyrics…

6. The forest has all kinds of natural medicines, including for aborting

7. The tribe don’t kiss on the mouth or any other places: They touch and feel. If the partner is not willing, all that is needed is to push away the suitor….

What do you think? Is it a lesson in humility?

UNE BELLE LEÇON DE CIVILISATION from palmire on Vimeo.

Laissez votre avis sur cet article !

– See more at: http://voyagerloin.com/actualite/tribu-en-amazonie-regarde-premiere-fois-images-notre-civilisation/#sthash.JxaoeFjt.dpuf

Information and communication technologies (ICT): Transmitter of crisis and catalyst of global economic restructuring?

Astronomical sums are invested in the technologies of information and communication (ICT). In 2008 alone, over 1,800 billion were spent by private and public institutions.  Since 1980, half the total investments by banks and financial institutions have been oriented toward the ICT sectors so that exchange of information and transactions be as fluid and instantaneous as desired on global scale.

It followed that banks and financial institutions were drawn to diversification into acquiring factories, lands, real estates, and mines. The IC of multinationals were frequently reconfigured to adjust with evolving strategies and global market access.

Before the financial crash, Citigroup hired 25,000 computer programmers and invested 5 billion on ICT technologies and related infrastructure in 2008.  Lehman Brothers was using 3,000 programs on 25,000 servers around the world.  This run for IC technologies was viewed as the main tool for “space-time bailout” by channeling capitals to emerging sectors susceptible to inevitable expansion. The age in the 70’s was coined “society of information”.  Thus, in 2007, US multinationals profit from outside investment amounted to 25% compared to only 5% in 1960.

So far, Information and Communication Technologies are the two main factors for capitalist global economy expansion and have displaced many traditional economies. For example, Skype (voice on internet) has over 400 million users and is the most important provider of international communication; Skype was the catalyst for the explosion of high debit mobile phone infrastructures and for the demand of internet services to enterprises.  This Christmas Eve, we discovered that the world is a town square: we had overseas relatives joining our home party through Skype; many who for some reason could not celebrate did cry; it is better than creating a petrified heart.  Facebook has 300 million subscribers and I do send links from my blog on wordpress.com.

Mobile phone is displacing computers and TV markets: there are over 4.5 billion users of mobile phones and the latest generations function as multimedia screens. Apple’s mobile has swept China and South Korea markets; over 100,000 programs were developed for its applications.

Amazon, Apple, and Google (via YouTube) have broken serious barriers into cartels in music, books, video games, and movies. Low priced connections are provoking the centralization of programs, data, images, and emails are frequently stored in “farm servers” belonging to giant operators.

In 2005, 19 out of the 25 first ICT enterprises were US based and over half the satellites were US.  Heavy weight consumers of ICT such as Wal-Mart and General Electric imposed standards on information and communication systems that are applied globally.  By 2009, Samsung, Nokia, Nintendo, Huawei, Tate, SAP, Telefonica, DoCoMo, Americal Movil, Vodafone, and especially China Mobile are displacing minor US players among the 250 greatest enterprises. Newer investments are primarily flowing from China, India, and Mexico in ICT.

Liberty is in imminent danger: after the financial crash, mainly the ICT multinationals had accumulated financial reserves.  The main real danger of total universal hegemony is starting with the giant ICT companies trumpeting acquisition of competitors and setting the stage for an unknown educational, cultural, and economic world. Cisco (the prime provider in web routers) has accumulated financial reserve of $20 billion, Microsoft (the emperor of systems of exploitation) around $19 billion, Google (dominating search engines and on-line video) around $16 billion, Intel (world leader in semi-conductors) around $10 billion, and Apple (programs most prized by elite users) around $26 billion; only China Mobile generated profit of $18 billion in 2009.

Publicity expenditures in 2009 amounted to $500 billion (though they declined by 10% after the financial crash) but multimedia expenditures in the US in 2008 reached $900 billion and are increasing by 2.3%.

The capitalist global economy is going ahead and strong because of IC technologies; we have the impression that the world is reduced to a town square.  Political and economical powers are concentrating with a few superpower States controlling and managing information and communication: they have been setting the standards and subjugating independent companies to follow suit.  What started as a catalyst to world democratic practices has reverted to world oligarchy of the first kind.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Blog Stats

  • 983,707 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 489 other followers

%d bloggers like this: