Month: January 2013

Who Would Want to be Normal?

Last week I was talking with some coworkers about a 2013 initiative we are taking on.  I forget how I got on the subject but it was something to the effect of me being tired of doing things the way they have always been done which made me think of a recent Mini Cooper YouTube video I had seen.  I showed it to the group who seemed to like it and I’ve since used it in other meetings before brainstorming new ideas or initiatives.  For a while it sort of spawned a new catch phrase where we say things around the office like “eh…that is so normal.”

My favorite part of the video is when it says “normal can never be amazing” and “who would ever want to be normal?”  As you go about your work, if you feel passionate about what you are working on, chances are that work won’t be normal, it will be amazing.  Every time I see a Mini I now think of the video (so probably great marketing to BMW’s credit).  If you walk down the hall people will see you and likely think about what you have done for them.  Will those people think your work is amazing?

Here’s to you doing amazing work in 2013…

Web Hosting in 1997

I finally decided to throw out all my old floppy disks after cleaning out a closet last weekend.  Before I threw them out I had to go through them all to see if there were still any files left on the disks.  To my surprise there were still a few files I found which was like going back in time.  When I lived in Maryland I had Erol’s for a while instead of AOL like everyone else.  One of the files was a page I saved because I was researching web hosts back in 1997 for hosting my own website.  I was going to start my own online grocery delivery business.  I like how you can still see the placeholders for the IE4 and Netscape logos.

webHosting1997

My Fascination With Amazon

For the future of retail, I’m sure you are looking at Amazon like everyone else is.  I’m convinced the Internet will continue to disrupt traditional retail.  Bezos is one of the most brilliant minds of our time, some say the next Jobs.  I have tremendous respect for Bezos.  Just a few of the things he’s done…

  • Started Amazon before anyone even started thinking about e-commerce at scale.  He is willing to take enormous risks at any cost.  He left a high profile Wall Street job to start a company that few believed in.  An e-commerce bookstore in ’94?  He is a visionary.
  • Started with books, expanded quickly to nearly everything.  The strategic risks continue.
  • Bought Zappos, has left them alone. Is letting Tony continue to work his magic.  Wants to bring more of the Zappos culture to the rest of Amazon.
  • Saw ebooks coming, thanks to Jobs/iPad.  Pivoted and developed the Kindle.  My wife and I love our Kindles.
  • Gives the Kindle/Fire away at cost, or next to cost and makes money on services/goods from using the device.
  • Loses money on shipping (Amazon Prime etc), will do anything it takes to win your business (see this).
  • Robotics.  He didn’t just invest in Kiva, he bought the entire company!  If you haven’t seen this video, it is a must.
  • They use psychology to encourage you to make more (and better) purchasing decisions.  They are masters.  Look at me when I did Christmas shopping.  They know people will do shopping for themselves and used my own data to temp me.
  • Analytics/Algorithms.  Amazon has the best recommendation engine.  Google has to be worried about this.  You don’t go to Google to search for products, you go to Amazon.
  • He isn’t done.  Amazon is still going strong.  He still has more tricks up his sleeve, you can bank on that.

I’m sure I missed lots of things.  I have my eyes on Bezos (I personally think Amazon’s stock is overvalued though!).  He will win continue to win until someone disrupts the great disruptor.  Whoever that will be, it won’t be easy.