As I’ve always done, I’ve made full disclosure that I am an Amazon Affiliate. What does that mean? It means, whenever you click a link from my page that brings you to Amazon.com, any purchases you make earn me a (very) small commission. The reason I do this is because I want to earn enough to pay for the web hosting each year (blogging is not free, you know), and because since 1996, when I began buying and selling textbooks on Amazon.com, I was hooked as a customer. I believe in Amazon, but…
From the Publisher: Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives, and What the World’s Best Companies Are Learning from It (Amazon) (AbeBooks) “Like Henry Ford, Sam Walton, or Steve Jobs in the early years of Ford, Walmart, and Apple, Jeff Bezos is the business story of the decade. Bezos, the richest man on the planet, has built one of the most efficient wealth-creation machines in history with 2% of US household income being spent on nearly 500 million products shipped from warehouses in seventeen countries. Amazon’s business model has not only turned the retail industry and cloud computing inside out, but now its tentacles are squeezing media and advertising, and disrupting the state of technology, the economy, job creation, and society at large. Amazon’s impact is so pervasive that business leaders in nearly every sector around the world need to understand how this force of nature operates.
Based on unprecedented behind-the-scenes reporting from 150 sources inside and outside of Amazon, Bezonomics unveils the underlying principles Jeff Bezos uses to achieve his dominance—customer obsession, extreme innovation, and long-term management, all supported by artificial intelligence—and shows how these are being borrowed and replicated by companies across the United States, in China, and elsewhere. Brian Dumaine shares tips for Amazon-proofing your business. Most important, Bezonomics answers the fundamental question: How are Amazon and its imitators affecting the way we live, and what can we learn from them?“
First off, like I mentioned, I’ve been with Amazon almost since their beginning. Since they first opened as an online bookstore, why wouldn’t I be? I just looked at how many orders I’ve placed on Amazon this year, both digital and hard goods, and it is embarrassingly high. An early adopter of Amazon Prime, we have the Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Card which gives us 5% back on all Amazon purchases. Last year we received more than $800 cash back and are on track to get even more this year! With a family of six, I don’t mind buying groceries in bulk through their Subscribe & Save program or through Pantry, saving me a Costco or Sam’s Club membership as well. My husband was out of work for 10 months, and we were on food stamps. Amazon began accepting food stamps a few months into the pandemic, so I was able to purchase my usual grocery orders with Amazon using our EBT card, adding to our increased order count.
I also love streaming movies and TV shows off Amazon Prime Video. You all know how much I love my Kindle, and my two younger daughters also have Kindles. I stream videos on my Kindle Fire every night. We also have three Fire Sticks for our TVs so we can stream Netflix, Disney+, Sunday mass, and the Green Bay Packers channel.
That doesn’t mean I don’t shop locally, I try to do as much of that as possible, too, especially independent bookstores and specialty stores for my kids’ gifts, like the locally-owned Gnome Games or Game Capital, which sell Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh and tons of other games and cards. I favor the Wisconsin-owned grocery stores and frequently order take-out from locally-owned restaurants. Especially now, during the pandemic, I’ve turned to Amazon again and again because I live in a house with someone who is high risk in two categories: age and health issues.
However, I do believe Amazon is getting too big. Now, my Amazon packages might be delivered by the USPS, or they might be dropped off from an Amazon delivery truck, something new to our area in the past few weeks. I’m a big fan of President Theodore Roosevelt and how he busted up several big businesses because they were monopolies, but quite frankly, I can’t see how a president or Congress could break up a company like Amazon that has gotten that big globally.
The whole Alexa/Echo Artificial Intelligence things scares me. The stories in the book were enough to turn me away from any AI in the near future: the boss whose home conversations were sent to his co-workers, the man who received a large file of someone’s conversations. Someone he didn’t know. But he gave the file to some journalists, and through those Alexa sound files, they were able to track the original owner down as well as know many of his habits, and we’re not just talking about shopping here.
If you’re not into tech and don’t know much about the Amazon business model of “the flywheel” then you should read this. Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives, and What the World’s Best Companies Are Learning from It (Amazon) (AbeBooks) offers a look at what sort of company Amazon is, both the good and the bad, and how it affects us as consumers.
The book also looks at companies who are doing things differently from Amazon and how they are surviving and thriving. Bezonomics also tells the cautionary tales of companies that tried to go up against Amazon and lost, like Diapers.com, driven out of business because Amazon undercut them with their prices. I had kids in diapers at the time, and I remember the fabulous deals Amazon was giving me, why would I shop anywhere else for diapers? (Diapers.com was ultimately bought by Amazon) I also used Drugstore.com a lot, and they were so successful, Amazon bought them out, then shuttered the business.
I recommend this book for any supporters or detractors of the retail behemoth. It’s eye-opening to say the least.
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Wow sounds like a really interesting book. I’m not a huge fan of amazon having read quite a few reports of how badly they treat their staff and how they’ve put others out of business.They are so convenient though and I know everyone is using them during this pandemic.
That’s one of the things that I found interesting in the book: they had former Amazon employees who said they were treated badly and those that said they weren’t. And yes, when they decide to focus on a certain type of business, watch your back because they’ll come gunning for you. Although I can’t feel bad for the companies being bought out: the founder of Diapers.com sold to Amazon for $500 million. Drugstore.com was a similar number. It’s the companies that are being pushed out of business that I worry about, and why I mentioned Teddy Roosevelt and trust-busting. Amazon is so big, I don’t even know if it’s possible to bust it into separate businesses.
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