inspiral + amazon   311

Is Alexa working? — Benedict Evans
There are a couple of obvious strands to think about. Alexa’s capability to control ‘smart home’ devices might expand to enable more delivery models (‘open the garage door automatically when an Amazon delivery robot arrives’, or more prosaically just ‘unlock the door for the Fedex delivery’, and send me a video of it happening), or more automated ordering (the washing machine can order more soap for itself, perhaps). Another thing to ponder is the ways that brands can use Alexa to help customers with products. For example, there could be an Alexa skill that talks you through how to use a product when you need ongoing instructions and can’t use your hands. I don’t know what the answer is, and that’s really the point - Amazon is deep in experimentation mode. Indeed, this is an experimentation company, as seen in the Fire Phone and Tablet and indeed in the new crop of retail store pilots.
Alexa  Amazon  growth  opportunity  strategy  forecast  BenedictEvans  2019 
6 weeks ago by inspiral
Amazon Ruined Online Shopping - The Atlantic
But there’s a reason that we used to have shoe stores, hardware stores, grocery stores, bookstores, and all the rest: Those specialized retail spaces allow products, and the people with knowledge about them, to engage in specialized ways of finding, choosing, and purchasing them. On Amazon, everything gets treated the same. The problem with an Everything Store is that there’s no way to organize everything effectively. The result is basically a giant digital flea market. Amazon is so big, and so heterogenous, that the whole shopping experience is saturated with caprice and uncertainty. It’s not that Dash purchases alone might produce a result different from the one the buyer intended, but that every purchase might do so.
Amazon  ecommerce  review  critique  TheAtlantic  2019 
8 weeks ago by inspiral
The Amazon Warehouse Comes to SoHo - The New York Times
Our shopper visits the new Amazon 4 Star store, which stocks items with customer review ratings of four stars or better. Brick and mortar never had it so rough.
Amazon  Amazon4Star  retail  bricksandmortarretail  review  critique  NewYork  USA  NYTimes  2018 
december 2018 by inspiral
Amazon's Website Has Tons Of Errors. Somehow It Doesn't Matter.
How does a powerful, innovative behemoth megacorporation repeatedly fail at its most basic task: running a website?
Amazon  websitedesign  userexperience  review  critique  Buzzfeed  2018 
november 2018 by inspiral
Amazon’s $15 minimum wage doesn’t end debate over whether it’s creating good jobs - The Washington Post
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Almost no workers clapped this week at the all-hands meeting after lunch at this Amazon fulfillment center outside Nashville when a plant manager announced that the company’s minimum wage was climbing to $15 an hour. 

 Instead of celebrating, many workers put their hands up to ask questions and express deep frustration, according to five employees at the facility. They asked why people who had been toiling in the company’s warehouse for years would now be paid similarly to new employees and temporary holiday help, according to the workers. 
Amazon  employment  income  review  USA  WashingtonPost  2018 
october 2018 by inspiral
The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies - Bloomberg
The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.
espionage  security  hardware  Apple  Amazon  hacking  China  USA  Bloomberg  2018 
october 2018 by inspiral
A Bot Panic Hits Amazon Mechanical Turk | WIRED
After noticing an uptick in low-quality survey responses on Amazon Mechanical Turk, researchers wondered if bots were to blame.
MechanicalTurk  Amazon  research  critique  bot  review  Wired  2018 
august 2018 by inspiral
How Amazon Steers Shoppers to Its Own Products - The New York Times
Amazon has roughly 100 private label brands for sale on its huge online marketplace, of which more than five dozen have been introduced in the past year alone.
Amazon  ownbrands  privatelabel  growth  strategy  monopoly  retail  ecommerce  NYTimes  2018 
june 2018 by inspiral
Underpaid and exhausted: the human cost of your Kindle | Technology | The Guardian
In the Chinese city of Hengyang, we find a fatigued, disposable workforce assembling gadgets for Amazon, owned by the world’s richest man.
Amazon  Foxconn  employment  review  critique  China  Guardian  2018 
june 2018 by inspiral
Retailers Race Against Amazon to Automate Stores - The New York Times
Some traditional retailers are also skeptical about whether the sort of automation in Amazon Go can move to large stores. They say the technology may not work or be cost effective outside a store with a small footprint and inventory.

“That’s probably not scalable to a 120,000-square-foot store,” said Chris Hjelm, executive vice president and chief information officer at Kroger.

But he said it was just a matter of time before more cameras and sensors were commonplace in stores. “It’s a few years out,” he said, “before that technology becomes mainstream.”
retail  automation  Amazon  AmazonGo  BingoBox  Alibaba  JD  Walmart  innovation  China  NYTimes  2018 
april 2018 by inspiral
Bezos's empire: how Amazon became the world's biggest retailer | Technology | The Guardian
Amazon has shipped more than 400 items per second at its peak. How did it grow from bookseller to retail giant?
Amazon  growth  profile  statistics  history  Guardian  2018 
april 2018 by inspiral
How Amazon Rebuilt Itself Around Artificial Intelligence | WIRED
How deep learning came to power Alexa, Amazon Web Services, and nearly every other division of the company.
Amazon  artificialintelligence  machinelearning  deeplearning  strategy  Wired  2018 
february 2018 by inspiral
When Amazon Opens Warehouses - The Atlantic
Yet in many ways, Amazon has not been a “rare and wonderful” opportunity for San Bernardino. Workers say the warehouse jobs are grueling and high-stress, and that few people are able to stay in them long enough to reap the offered benefits, many of which don’t become available until people have been with the company a year or more. Some of the jobs Amazon creates are seasonal or temporary, thrusting workers into a precarious situation in which they don’t know how many hours they’ll work a week or what their schedule will be. Though the company does pay more than the minimum wage, and offers benefits like tuition reimbursement, health care, and stock options, the nature of the work obviates many of those benefits, workers say. “It’s a step back from where we were,” said Pat Morris, the former mayor, about the jobs that Amazon offers. “But it’s a lot better than where we would otherwise be,” he said.
Amazon  employment  casualisation  review  critique  USA  TheAtlantic  2018 
february 2018 by inspiral
Inside Amazon’s surveillance-powered, no-checkout convenience store | TechCrunch
Like so many ways companies are applying tech today, this seems to me an immense amount of ingenuity and resources being used to “solve” something that few people care about and fewer still consider a problem. As a technical achievement it’s remarkable, but then again, so is a robotic dog.

The store works — that much I can say for it. Where Amazon will take it from here I couldn’t say, nor would anyone respond meaningfully to my questions along these lines. Amazon Go will be open to the public starting this week, but whether anyone will find it to be anything more than a novelty is yet to be seen.
AmazonGo  Amazon  retail  bricksandmortarretail  innovation  review  automation  Techcrunch  2018 
january 2018 by inspiral
Inside Amazon Go, a Store of the Future - The New York Times
At Amazon Go, checking out feels like — there’s no other way to put it — shoplifting. It is only a few minutes after walking out of the store, when Amazon sends an electronic receipt for purchases, that the feeling goes away.
AmazonGo  Amazon  bricksandmortarretail  retail  innovation  personalaccount  review  NYTimes  2018 
january 2018 by inspiral
Amazon's Last Mile
Who delivers Amazon orders? Increasingly, it’s plainclothes contractors with few labor protections, driving their own cars, competing for shifts on the company’s own Uber-like platform. Though it’s deployed in dozens of cities and associated with one of the world’s biggest companies, government agencies and customers alike are nearly oblivious to the program’s existence.
Amazon  AmazonFlex  employment  casualisation  gigeconomy  review  critique  Gizmodo  2017 
november 2017 by inspiral
My visit to an Amazon bookstore - Marginal REVOLUTION
My commentary here is late to the party, but I had not visited a branch before.  Here are my impressions, derived from the Columbus Circle outlet in Manhattan:
Amazon  AmazonBooks  bricksandmortarretail  retail  review  critique  author:TylerCowen  MarginalRevolution  2017 
november 2017 by inspiral
André Staltz - The Web began dying in 2014, here's how
The Suggest strategy is being currently deployed through Google Now, Google Assistant, Android notifications, and Google Home. None of these mentioned technologies are part of Web, in other words, not part of “browser-land” made of websites. The internet is just the underlying transport layer for data from their cloud to end-user devices, but the Web itself is being bypassed. Schmidt’s vision for the future is one where internet services are ubiquitous and personalized, as opposed to an experience contained in web browsers in desktop machines.
openweb  Amazon  Facebook  Google  proprietary  closedgarden  monopoly  critique  Staltz  2017 
november 2017 by inspiral
What Is CamperForce? Amazon's Nomadic Retiree Army | WIRED
In a company presentation, one slide read, “Jeff Bezos has predicted that, by the year 2020, one out of every four workampers in the United States will have worked for Amazon.”
Amazon  CamperForce  employment  casualisation  elderly  USA  Wired  2017 
october 2017 by inspiral
Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend - The New York Times
We are beginning to understand that tech companies don’t have our best interests at heart. Did they ever?
Amazon  Google  Facebook  SiliconValley  monopoly  society  ethics  review  critique  NYTimes  2017 
october 2017 by inspiral
Who Owns the Internet? | The New Yorker
Foer prefers the model of artisanal cheesemakers. ( “World Without Mind” apparently went to press before Amazon announced its intention to buy Whole Foods.) “The culture industries need to present themselves as the organic alternative, a symbol of status and aspiration,” he writes. “Subscriptions are the route away from the aisles of clickbait.” Just after the election, he notes, the Times added more than a hundred thousand new subscribers by marketing itself as a fake-news antidote. And, as an act of personal resistance, he suggests picking up a book. “If the tech companies hope to absorb the totality of human existence,” he writes, “then reading on paper is one of the few slivers of life that they can’t fully integrate.”
media  journalism  Google  Amazon  Facebook  monopoly  review  critique  NewYorker  2017 
august 2017 by inspiral
Amazon (AMZN) owns a whole collection of secret brands, USPTO trademark filings reveal — Quartz
It’s now gotten to the point where it’s quite easy to pay Amazon three times in one order: for shipping, which you get access to through Prime, and for a product that’s actually just an Amazon-made product. And it’s possible to imagine a time when your clothes, your food, your TV shows, your gadgets and your furniture are all made and sold by the same company: Amazon.
Amazon  ownbrands  growth  strategy  review  Quartz  2017 
august 2017 by inspiral
Will the death of US retail be the next big short?
The relentless rise of online shopping is posing a huge challenge for US shopping malls, developers and investors who own shares and bonds in household names. The core problem is a dramatic overbuilding of stores, coupled with the rise of ecommerce, Richard Hayne, Urban Outfitters’ chief executive, told analysts on a conference call earlier this year. “This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst,” Mr Hayne said. “We are seeing the results: Doors shuttering and rents retreating. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future and may even accelerate.”

The impact is far-reaching. Credit Suisse estimates that as many as 8,640 stores with 147m square feet of retailing space could close down just this year — surpassing the level of closures after the financial crisis and dotcom bust. The downturn is hitting the largely healthy US labour market — the retail industry has lost an average of 9,000 jobs a month this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with average monthly job gains of 17,000 last year.
retail  bricksandmortarretail  review  decline  valuation  Amazon  ecommerce  property  USA  FinancialTimes  2017 
july 2017 by inspiral
Content isn't king — Benedict Evans
Taking a step back, though, it’s not clear how much all of this really matters to tech. The tech industry has been trying to get onto the TV and into the living room since before the consumer internet - the ‘information superhighway’ of the early 1990s was really about interactive TV, not the web. Yet after a couple of decades of trying, the tech industry now dominates the living room, and is transforming what ‘video’ means, but with the phone, not the TV. The reason Apple TV, Chromecast, FireTV and everything else feel so anti-climactic is that getting onto the TV was a red herring - the device is the phone and the network is the internet. The smartphone is the sun and everything else orbits it. Internet advertising will be bigger than TV advertising this year, and Apple’s revenue is larger than the entire global pay TV industry. This is also why tech companies are even thinking about commissioning their own premium shows today - they are now so big that the budgets involved in buying or creating TV look a lot less daunting than they once did. A recurring story in the past was for a leading tech company to go to Hollywood, announce its intention to buy lots of stuff, and then turn pale at the first rate card it was shown and say “wow - that’s really expensive!”. They have the money now, not from conquering TV but from creating something bigger. 
content  strategy  television  music  books  Amazon  Apple  Google  Netflix  review  BenedictEvans  2017 
july 2017 by inspiral
What Amazon’s Purchase of Whole Foods Really Means | The New Yorker
Behind the scenes, Amazon has been using technology to vertically integrate nearly the entire process of consumption.
Amazon  WholeFoods  takeover  ecommerce  integration  modularisation  BenThompson  review  NewYorker  2017 
june 2017 by inspiral
Amazon’s New Customer – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
In the long run, physical grocery stores will be only one of the Amazon Grocery Services’ customers: obviously a home delivery service will be another, and it will be far more efficient than a company like Instacart trying to layer on top of Whole Foods’ current integrated model.

I suspect Amazon’s ambitions stretch further, though: Amazon Grocery Services will be well-placed to start supplying restaurants too, gaining Amazon access to another big cut of economic activity. It is the AWS model, which is to say it is the Amazon model, but like AWS, the key to profitability is having a first-and-best customer able to utilize the massive investment necessary to build the service out in the first place.
Amazon  WholeFoods  takeover  strategy  groceries  review  Stratechery  2017 
june 2017 by inspiral
Amazon’s Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores Are Not Built for People Who Actually Read - The New Yorker
The store’s biggest shortcoming, though, is that it is so clearly not intended for people who read regularly. I normally walk into a bookstore and shop the way a person might shop for clothes: I know what I like, what generally works for me, what new styles I might be ready to try. It was a strange feeling, on Thursday, to do laps around a bookstore without feeling a single unexpected thrill. There were no wild cards, no deep cuts, no oddballs—just books that were already best-sellers, pieces of clothing I knew wouldn’t fit me or that I already owned.
Amazon  AmazonBooks  retail  bricksandmortarretail  review  critique  NewYorker  2017 
june 2017 by inspiral
Why Amazon is eating the world | TechCrunch
This all said, I believe that Amazon is the most defensible company on earth, and we haven’t even begun to grasp the scale of its dominance over competitors. Amazon’s lead will only grow over the coming decade, and I don’t think there is much that any other retailer can do to stop it.

The reason isn’t the bullet-point moats that are talked about in headlines, and it isn’t the culture of innovation or Bezos’s vision as CEO (though I do think Amazon’s culture is incredible and Bezos is the most impressive CEO out there). It’s the fact that each piece of Amazon is being built with a service-oriented architecture, and Amazon is using that architecture to successively turn every single piece of the company into a separate platform — and thus opening each piece to outside competition.
Amazon  strategy  management  productise  AmazonWebServices  FulfillmentbyAmazon  advocacy  Techcrunch  2017 
may 2017 by inspiral
Tech’s Frightful Five: They’ve Got Us - The New York Times
This is the most glaring and underappreciated fact of internet-age capitalism: We are, all of us, in inescapable thrall to one of the handful of American technology companies that now dominate much of the global economy. I speak, of course, of my old friends the Frightful Five: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
Amazon  Alphabet  Google  Microsoft  Facebook  review  dominance  monopoly  consumer  NYTimes  2017 
may 2017 by inspiral
Amazon unveils the $230 Echo Show, with a screen for calls, shipping June 28 | TechCrunch
Look out, world: Alexa is coming to a screen near you. Today Amazon unveiled the Echo Show, a WiFi-enabled home device with a seven-inch screen that is the newest addition to its Alexa-powered Echo range of home hubs that plays media and responds to voice commands.
Amazon  AmazonEchoShow  AmazonEcho  hardware  virtualassistant  launch  ecommerce  Techcrunch  2017 
may 2017 by inspiral
Can Wal-Mart’s Expensive New E-Commerce Operation Compete With Amazon? - Bloomberg
A recent acquisition spree including gives the retail giant much-needed digital chops.
WalMart  DougMcMillon  MarcLore  Jet  retail  ecommerce  comparison  Amazon  review  USA  Bloomberg  2017 
may 2017 by inspiral
Amid Brick-and-Mortar Travails, a Tipping Point for Amazon in Apparel - The New York Times
The outlook for physical retailers is grim, the sector roiled by store closings, layoffs and bankruptcies. This year, Amazon will surpass Macy’s, which last year announced it would shut 100 stores, to become the largest seller of apparel in America, by several analysts’ estimates.

It is looking at ways to keep expanding, too. Amazon is exploring the possibility of selling custom-fit clothing, tailored to the more precise measurements of customers, and it has considered acquiring clothing manufacturers to further expand its presence in the category.
Amazon  clothing  apparel  fashion  growth  ecommerce  personalisation  NYTimes  2017 
may 2017 by inspiral
First resort — Remains of the Day
For us at Amazon, being the site of first resort for an online shopping trip was an obsession. This is why it was so critical to expand out from books to other product lines quickly. We didn't want to cement ourselves in shoppers' minds as the site of first resort for buying books but nothing else.
Amazon  ecommerce  default  strategy  author:EugeneWei  RemainsoftheDay  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
The Great Retail Apocalypse of 2017 - The Atlantic
In the middle of an economic recovery, hundreds of shops and malls are shuttering. The reasons why go far beyond Amazon.
retail  decline  ecommerce  mobilecommerce  Amazon  property  restaurants  experiential  trends  USA  TheAtlantic  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
Netflix, Amazon, and the End of Independent Film As We Know It
Twenty-five years ago, films emerging from festivals like Sundance disrupted the movie business, producing subversive filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and insurgent forces like Miramax. Now, thanks to Amazon and Netflix, the disruption is coming for the indies. Filmmakers talk about the shift, and what it means for the future of movies.
cinema  films  Netflix  Amazon  AmazonVideo  AmazonStudios  indie  arthouse  streamingmedia  review  forecast  TheRinger  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
Stores Are Closing at a Record Pace as Amazon Chews Up Retailers - Bloomberg
The battered American retail industry took a few more lumps this week, with stores at both ends of the price spectrum preparing to close their doors.
retail  bricksandmortarretail  decline  review  Ecommerce  growth  Amazon  USA  Bloomberg  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
Inside Amazon’s Battle to Break Into the $800 Billion Grocery Market - Bloomberg
One problem saddling Amazon Fresh is the high cost of losses caused by food going bad, an issue it’s never faced with books and toys. For conventional grocery sellers, browning bananas can be sold at a discount to smoothie-makers and bread bakers. Chicken breasts nearing their expiration dates can be marked down. With Amazon Fresh, such items must be discarded or are returned by frustrated customers, according to a person familiar with the matter. That has meant Amazon Fresh has lost money from spoilage at more than double the rate for a typical supermarket, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing internal operations. The main reason Amazon began delivering groceries through Prime Now was to hand that risk back to the local grocers to lower Amazon’s costs. The company didn’t originally anticipate the scope or difficulty of these problems because so few people working on its grocery push have experience in the industry.
Amazon  AmazonFresh  groceries  food  retail  review  critique  Bloomberg  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
Amazon to acquire Souq, a Middle East clone once valued at $1B, for $650M | TechCrunch
Amazon continues its march across the globe, and one of its newest targets is the Middle East. According to multiple reports that we have confirmed with our own sources, the e-commerce giant has acquired Souq, often described as the Amazon of the Arab world and the region’s biggest e-commerce player, for a price of $650 million, to spearhead its Middle East business. “The ink is dry” on the deal already, one source close to the company tells us.
Souq  Amazon  takeover  ecommerce  valuation  MiddleEast  Techcrunch  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
It’s Alibaba versus Amazon in India’s e-commerce market | TechCrunch
The battle for supremacy in India’s e-commerce space looks set to become a slug out between two gigantic global players: Amazon and Alibaba.

At stake is one of the world’s fastest growing internet markets. India’s online population is tipped to reach 450 million-465 million people by June 2017, according to a new report co-authored by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, widening the audience of potential e-commerce customers. While China and the U.S. currently dominate in terms of e-commerce spending, the value of online sales in India is predicted to reach $48 billion by 2020, analyst firm Forrester claimed.

Initially it seemed that home-grown companies Flipkart and Snapdeal would lead the foray. Flipkart has raised over $3 billion from the likes of Tiger Global and Naspers, while Snapdeal has pulled in over $1.5 billion from eBay, Black Rock and even Alibaba among others, but both have had their wings clipped of late. This year already two investors have marked down their holdings in Flipkart, while Snapdeal was reported to be in talks to raise a down-round in January such is the war of attrition when discounted deals are what attracts consumer attention.
Ecommerce  India  Alibaba  Amazon  Flipkart  Snapdeal  Paytm  review  Techcrunch  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell: Amazon keeps me up worrying at night - Business Insider
Right now, Amazon's advertising business pales in comparison to the likes of Google and Facebook. Amazon doesn't strip out its advertising unit specifically in its financials, but the company's "other" revenue in North America — believed to consist mostly of ad revenue — grew 60% to $1.3 billion in 2016. eMarketer predicts that Amazon will generate $1 billion in ad revenue in the US in 2017. That compares to estimates of $34 billion in revenue for Google and $15 billion for Facebook.

Sorrell often refers to Facebook and Google as "frenemies." WPP works with them as a partner when it spends its clients' marketing budgets on search or social-media ads (WPP spent just under $5 billion of its clients' budgets with Google last year and $1.7 billion with Facebook), but Google and Facebook also threaten advertising agencies because they have the ability to work with clients directly, cutting out the middle man.

Amazon's nascent ad business has the ability to do the same. Nobody in the online ad business has more data about the way we shop, how often we shop, and what items we look at and decide not to buy.

Sorrell thinks Amazon is a huge threat to Google when it comes to search. If you're a sneaker brand, the most valuable place to advertise is when someone is actively searching to buy a pair of sneakers. On Google the person might just be researching, but with Amazon the consumer is most likely in the market to make a purchase right away.
MartinSorrell  WPP  Amazon  onlineadvertising  threats  review  BusinessInsider  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
Amazon hints at Prime sales in latest filing | TechCrunch
Amazon Prime has driven growth for the e-commerce company for years now. But Amazon has traditionally been cagey about disclosing too many details regarding the popular service. In a 10-K filing summarizing performance throughout 2016, the business did something that drew the attention of Wall Street analysts. It designated a category entitled “retail subscription services” that refers, in part, to Prime.

For 2016, Amazon reported almost $6.4 billion in sales from retail subscription services. To put that in perspective, Prime sales alone surpass the entire e-commerce sales of Macy’s, The Home Depot and Best Buy. That figure represents 43 percent growth over last year’s ~$4.5 billion. Prime’s enthusiastic growth gives AWS, Amazon’s favorite child and source of Wall Street optimism, a run for its money — that’s no small feat.
Amazon  AmazonPrime  results  growth  Techcrunch  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Amazon Plans $1.5 Billion Air Hub Near Cincinnati for Fleet - Bloomberg Inc. is building a new air hub near Cincinnati to support a growing fleet of planes that can move inventory around the U.S. so online shoppers get their orders quickly.

Amazon will invest $1.49 billion to build the facility on 900 acres at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, said Mindy Kershner, an airport spokeswoman. The airport is located in Hebron, Kentucky, and is southwest of Cincinnati.
Amazon  logistics  airlines  USA  launch  Bloomberg  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Alexa: Amazon’s Operating System – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
In short, Amazon is building the operating system of the home — its name is Alexa — and it has all of the qualities of an operating system you might expect:

All kinds of hardware manufacturers are lining up to build Alexa-enabled devices, and will inevitably compete with each other to improve quality and lower prices.
Even more devices and appliances are plugging into Alexa’s easy-to-use and flexible framework, creating the conditions for a moat: appliances are a lot more expensive than software, and lot longer lasting, which means everyone who buys something that works with Alexa is much less likely to switch
Alexa  AmazonEcho  Amazon  operatingsystem  strategy  review  advocacy  contrast  MicrosoftWindows  Facebook  Google  Stratechery  2017 
january 2017 by inspiral
2017 Digital Music Scoreboard |
But as 2017 starts, I do think it’s worth pausing to reflect on where the industry is and how it’s trending. After all, without a scorecard, how are we supposed to know who’s leading? So I offer you my 2017 Digital Music Scoreboard.
music  streamingmedia  review  management  strategy  Spotify  Amazon  AppleMusic  SiriusXM  Google  GooglePlay  GoogleMusicAllAccess  PandoraTidal  Napster  Deezer  Soundcloud  JonMaples  2017 
january 2017 by inspiral
Traffic Is Fake, Audience Numbers Are Garbage, And Nobody Knows How Many People See Anything | Techdirt
That's not always easy though, as we face an advertising industry ruled by metrics, where there are often ten spreadsheet-wielding interns between us and someone who might actually care about our creativity. In our experiments with more traditional algorithmic display advertising to monetize the raw traffic numbers we do have, we keep running up against what appears to be a universal truth: the bulk of the global internet ad ecosystem runs on trash.
media  metrics  onlinemedia  print  television  Youtube  Netflix  Amazon  review  critique  TechDirt  2017 
december 2016 by inspiral
Alexa, Tell Me Where You’re Going Next
Amazon’s VP of Alexa talks about machine learning, chatbots, and whether industry is strip-mining AI talent from academia.
Amazon  AmazonEcho  Alexa  virtualassistant  machinelearning  RohitPrasad  interview  author:StevenLevy  BackChannel  2016 
december 2016 by inspiral
How UPS stays steady in center of e-commerce shipping storm | Retail Dive
Despite Amazon's shipping ambitions and myriad other forces driving market upheaval, UPS continues to invest in a future defined by e-commerce opportunities and obstacles.
UPS  logistics  delivery  profile  review  strategy  Amazon  Deliv  iParcel  RetailDive  2016 
november 2016 by inspiral
Amazon steps up expansion of physical storefronts
Tech group’s new bricks-and-mortar locations pose fresh threat to traditional retailers
Amazon  bricksandmortarretail  delivery  ecommerce  launch  USA  FinancialTimes  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
More Than 50% of Shoppers Turn First to Amazon in Product Search - Bloomberg
More than half of U.S. online consumers begin their product searches on Inc.’s website or mobile app, a survey found. That means that heading into the busy holiday season, the company is advancing its lead over major retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and search engines as the starting point for online shopping.
Fifty-five percent of those surveyed go to Amazon first when searching for products, an increase from 44 percent a year earlier, according to a Labor Day weekend poll of 2,000 people released by the Internet marketing firm BloomReach Inc. The second annual survey showed search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, and retailers losing ground to Amazon. Search engines were the starting point for 28 percent of those surveyed, declining from 34 percent a year earlier. Specific retailers were the starting point for 16 percent, down from 21 percent.
discovery  ecommerce  research  Amazon  Google  comparison  BloomReach  USA  Bloomberg  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
Amazon’s Newest Ambition: Competing Directly With UPS and FedEx - WSJ
To constrain rising shipping costs, the online retailer is building its own delivery operation
Amazon  delivery  logistics  strategy  review  profile  WallStreetJournal  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
Oracle’s Cloudy Future – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
In short, what Ellison was selling as the new Oracle looks an awful lot like the old Oracle: a bunch of products that are mostly what most customers want, at least in theory, but with neither the flexibility and scalability of AWS’ infrastructure on one side nor the focus and commitment to the user experience of dedicated SaaS providers on the other. To put it in database terms, like a hierarchical database Oracle is pre-deciding what its customers want and need with no flexibility. Meanwhile, AWS and dedicated SaaS providers are the relational databases, offering enterprises optionality and scalability to build exactly what they need for their business when they need it; sure, it may not all be working yet, but the long-term trends couldn’t be more obvious.

It should be noted that much of this analysis primarily concerns new companies that are building out their IT systems for the first time; Oracle’s lock on its existing customers, including the vast majority of the largest companies and governments in the world, remains very strong. And to that end its strategy of basically replicating its on-premise business in the cloud (or even moving its cloud hardware on-premise) makes total sense; it’s the same sort of hybrid strategy that Microsoft is banking on. Give their similarly old-fashioned customers the benefit of reducing their capital expenditures (increasing their return on invested capital) and hopefully buy enough time to adapt to a new world where users actually matter and flexible and focused clouds are the best way to serve them.
Oracel  profile  review  database  enterprise  comparison  Amazon  cloudcomputing  critique  Stratechery  2016 
september 2016 by inspiral
Will Amazon Kill FedEx?
For UPS and FedEx, Amazon’s been great for business. Now it’s taking business away from them.
Amazon  AmazonPrime  logistics  delivery  Bloomberg  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Why Amazon is suddenly swimming in profit
In the fourth quarter of 2015, Inc. posted a profit of $482 million, more than double its previous highest-earning quarter. In the two quarters since, profits continued to rise, to $513 million in the first quarter and $857 million in the second quarter. In the first six months of 2016, the company’s combined profit was $1.37 billion—no other half in Amazon’s history is in the same universe.

So after years of reporting little to no profit, Amazon is now posting record gains quarter upon quarter. At the same time, its expenses are growing faster—26.4% in the first half of 2016 versus 17.5% in the first half of 2015.
Amazon  revenues  profit  profitability  growth  ecommerce  AmazonWebServices  InternetRetailer  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Apple, Google, Amazon, and the Advantages of Bigness - The New Yorker
When you look at some of the companies that had big market capitalizations twenty years ago, you may feel some reason to question the Big Five’s ability to hold on. Back then, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, and Intel had the greatest value on the market among technology companies. But, the way I see it, the bigness of today’s Big Five gives them an opportunity to keep building larger moats around their platforms. For starters, these companies are able to hoard data, which allows them to become smarter in learning about their customers. Because of their leviathan-scale operations, they have the infrastructure and resources to write algorithms and make their platforms more effective. A
Apple  Google  Amazon  Facebook  size  growth  advocacy  data  employment  technology  innovation  author:OmMalik  NewYorker  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Think Amazon’s Drone Delivery Idea Is a Gimmick? Think Again - The New York Times
If Amazon’s drone program succeeds (and Amazon says it is well on track), it could fundamentally alter the company’s cost structure. A decade from now, drones would reduce the unit cost of each Amazon delivery by about half, analysts at Deutsche Bank projected in a recent research report. If that happens, the economic threat to competitors would be punishing — “retail stores would cease to exist,” Deutsche’s analysts suggested, and we would live in a world more like that of “The Jetsons” than our own.
Amazon  logistics  drones  forecast  delivery  speed  NYTimes  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Diversification Continues at Big Tech Companies | Tech.pinions - Perspective, Insight, Analysis
Though the benefits of diversification are often the same, the specifics are just as often very different. Each of these companies is focusing in somewhat different areas when it comes to diversification and the results are very different too. Some are very long-term focused and are reaping massive losses in the short term while they attempt to build businesses that will pay off later. Others are already generating very meaningful revenues and profits from some of their new ventures today. Yet other companies I haven’t listed here don’t seem to be investing in a big way in this diversification, In some cases, it’s because they’re still struggling to optimize their core businesses – Twitter probably belongs in this category. But diversification will continue to be a feature of the best technology companies long into the future.
tech  diversification  strategy  Alphabet  Google  Amazon  Apple  Facebook  Microsoft  review  author:JanDawson  Techpinions  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Amazon eyes far horizons for drone launch —
For Amazon’s drone engineers in Seattle, there is a routine with which they have become all too familiar: loading their devices into a van and heading up to the Canadian border for more testing.

Amazon Prime Air is one of the world’s most ambitious drone development programmes. The ecommerce pioneer plans one day to use the equipment to deliver its packages to customers’ doors.

But the repeated trips to Canada — where one of the company’s drone testing sites is less than a mile from the border in British Columbia — point to the challenging regulatory environment that is proving the biggest burden to getting its drone ambitions off the ground.

When US regulators released their first rules for commercial drone use last week, they were praised by industry groups. But the rules were due last year and many say that Amazon’s home market has dragged its feet in developing rules for a technology which poses tricky questions about safety, privacy and aerospace governance.

Amazon has responded by embarking on a global research and testing programme, taking advantage of the patchwork regulatory environment around the world.

But the question of where the company will launch its formal drone operations is still an open one. After regulatory delays in the US and rules that require commercial drones to fly within the pilot’s line of sight, analysts say the UK, Ireland, France, Canada or Japan are the most probable launch markets.
Amazon  drones  logistics  innovation  regulation  USA  Canada  UK  Ireland  France  Japan  testing  FinancialTimes  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Amazon is full of Chinese counterfeits and they're driving out legit goods / Boing Boing
When Amazon decided to allow Chinese sellers to direct-list their products on the service (rather than going through domestic importers), it was seen as a defensive move against Alibaba, their deep-pocketed Chinese rival and vendor of everything from legit gadgets to crime supplies.

The older model was less efficient at getting Chinese goods to western customers, but it was also an important filter for counterfeits, because the domestic importers were easier to track down and punish for the worst offenses.

Now Amazon is filling up with counterfeits, a term that can mean several things:

* A near-identical (or identical) knock-off, sometimes even made in the same factory as the original goods, and sold out the back door

* Factory rejects that failed inspection

* Low-quality fakes that look like originals, but are made from inferior or defective materials or suffer from defective/shoddy manufacturing
counterfeiting  Amazon  ecommerce  intellectualproperty  critique  review  BoingBoing  2016 
july 2016 by inspiral
The Facebook of ecommerce — Benedict Evans
Once everything is online, ’How do you get people to look at your content?' is actually a very similar question to 'how do you get people to look at your product?' For products as for journalism, there are things that can cut through - that people will deliberately and consciously go to - and there are very-low-volume items in the 'long tail' that will be surfaced though search. But then there is a broad middle of more-or-less commodity, more-or-less undifferentiated choices that depend on distribution and aggregation to be chosen. That particular story is perfectly well written, but it’s read because it’s in that magazine and that magazine is bought because it’s on the rack, and now people don’t come to stories like that anymore. And equally, that particular product is bought because it was ranged and placed at eye level, and now it's not going to be being bought like that either. Today, those stories get their traffic, very often, from Facebook - Facebook recommends stories it thinks (based on its machine learning model) you might like. There's not really an equivalent for products. 
ecommerce  discovery  opportunity  challenge  Amazon  BenedictEvans  2016 
july 2016 by inspiral
Amazon Media Room: Press Releases
Amazon today announced another expansion for Dash Button (, adding more than 50 new brands to the program. Prime members will now find a Dash Button from brands such as Campbell’s Soup, Cascade, Clif Bar, Dial Liquid Hand Soap, FIJI Water, FoodSaver, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Hubert’s Lemonade, Lavazza, Mentos, NERF, Nutiva, PLAY-DOH, Puffs, Quilted Northern, simplehuman, Trident, V8 Vegetable Juice, and many others.

Over the last three months, Prime members are increasingly using Dash Button to order everyday essentials with order frequency doubling, now taking place over twice a minute. In fact, for popular items such as a pack of 8 Bounty paper towels and a 30-ounce canister of Maxwell House ground coffee, more than half of Amazon orders are now made via Dash Button. Also, in just three months, total Dash Button orders grew by 70%.
AmazonDash  ecommerce  update  growth  Amazon  2016 
july 2016 by inspiral
How Amazon Triggered a Robot Arms Race - Bloomberg
In 2012 Jeff Bezos scooped up warehouse automation firm Kiva. Everyone else is still trying to catch up.
Amazon  Kiva  robotics  automation  distribution  review  employment  innovation  Bloomberg  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Reddit: High risk, high reward - We Are Social UK
The vast majority of social media marketers have probably never considered Reddit as a viable platform for their brand activity. But with the recent release of Reddit’s official mobile app, I thought it would be a good time to look at the misunderstood platform, shining an optimistic light on brand opportunities for the so-called “front-page of the internet” for those who are new to Reddit.

First things first. It’s a platform with over 36 million users, over 240 million monthly unique visitors, and in 2015 had 83 billion page views. It's the 25th biggest website on the planet in terms of traffic. Sounds great, right…?

Well, to most brands the mere mention of Reddit sends even the most seasoned execs into sheer panic over the potential repercussions of entering the unknown. A number of brands have tried and failed to crack Reddit - it’s certainly not an easy win.
Reddit  socialmedia  guide  bestpractice  creativeshowcase  Ben&Jerrys  Spotify  Amazon  WeAreSocial  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
How Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant Will Make Money Off You
While helping us get things done, virtual assistants will also give tech companies valuable new insights into our lives.
virtualassistant  review  opportunity  monetisation  Google  Apple  Amazon  GoogleAssistant  Siri  Alexa  TechnologyReview  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Between Bentonville and Bezos | The Economist
Amazon is also offering something different. Whereas Walmart has strived to help Americans save money, Amazon is obsessed with helping them save time. Amazon has become a new kind of big-box retailer, with warehouses placed strategically around America to speed deliveries to customers. Innovations such as Dash, which lets you press a button in your kitchen to order soap or coffee, could turn Amazon from an online store into something like a utility.
Walmart  Amazon  competition  comparison  retail  ecommerce  efficiency  convenience  USA  Economist  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Taming the beasts | The Economist
Regulators still have much to learn about how to deal with platforms. But they have no choice but to get more expert. As Martin Bailey, who heads the commission’s efforts to create a single digital market, told the Lords committee: “There is hardly an area of economic and, arguably, social interaction these days that is left untouched by platforms in some way.” That is true far beyond the borders of Europe.
internet  platform  monopoly  regulation  Uber  Facebook  Google  Amazon  EuropeanUnion  Europe  Economist  2016 
may 2016 by inspiral
The Blessing of Failure — Medium
And it appears that Apple has fallen into exactly the same trap. Rather than start anew — with a beginner’s mind—what the above reveals to me is that they’ve tried to take the last paradigm and just jam it into the new one. The old has bled into the new. The result, at least as it stands now: just like Microsoft did, Apple knows what needs to be built — a phone-disrupting device. It’s just that they can’t bring themselves to let go of the past in order to do the job properly.
Apple  AppleWatch  strategy  management  critique  comparison  Microsoft  Amazon  Alexa  AmazonEcho  author:JamesAllworth  Medium  2016 
may 2016 by inspiral
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