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I think for Amazon's customers, it offers a kind of addictive service - the ability to shop without leaving your house, the ability to read without going to a bookstore or a library.
Amazon is famously run by studying and responding to its own data; yet when it comes to promotions, decisions are often subjective and guided by human emotions and petty political dynamics.
There are lots of lessons to learn from Amazon. Never stop innovating or questioning the fundamentals of your business. Disrupt yourself before others do. Continually motivate employees so that they never get too complacent - see Yahoo, AOL and many other Internet companies for evidence of what happens when they do.
I don't think we yet know - because it's probably not big enough - what exactly Amazon does to our cities, but whatever it is, I don't anticipate retail wastelands. If anything, it's maybe a wake-up call to retailers that they just have to offer something meaningful to customers.
I think it's a competitive advantage that both Amazon and Google and other tech companies have over a lot of their counterparts. They take big risks and are pioneering new markets with the promise of big rewards. It's why Amazon is kind of reliably starting new businesses and opening kind of new frontiers.
There are lots of retailers that are now scrambling to emulate the Amazon model, so Amazon does not have a monopoly on same-day distribution or broad selection or low prices. All that said, there are advantages that accrue to the largest player, so I don't see much in the way of Amazon slowing down.
No matter how hard we strive for objectivity, writers are biased toward tension - those moments in which character is forged and revealed.
I don't think value to the customer is achieved at the expense of employees' welfare.
Life inside successful Web startups - especially the really successful ones - can be nasty, brutish, and short. As companies grow exponentially, egos clash, investors jockey for control, and business complexities rapidly exceed the managerial abilities of the founders.
Amazon may be the most beguiling company that ever existed, and it is just getting started. It is both missionary and mercenary... That has always been a potent combination.
As we have seen again and again, when Amazon doesn't get the economic conditions from suppliers that it seeks, it simply goes its own way. In the book business, that has meant publishing its own titles under the various Kindle imprints. Now it's making diapers.
Ultimately, Amazon is a weather pattern that disturbs everything around it.
We see Google experimenting in so many places outside of its core search and advertising business, whether that's bringing broadband Internet to the world or funding an entirely separate company to pursue solutions to disease and mortality. Amazon's one of the few other companies that thinks as big as Google does.