Amazon and Jeff Bezo – What is the New Buzz?
In his recent book, “The Future of Repair”, Jeff Bezos describes the corporation as operating like a “service” industry, where there are only two major customers: the consumer and government. We are not very different from that model in many ways. The consumer market is the lifeline for any business. And the government’s role is to regulate access to safe food, clean water, and affordable healthcare for all citizens. So the future of repair may also center around the public and private sectors.
One of my favorite lines from the book is one which goes like this: “Nothing special about us. Nothing special about our planet. Just a series of mechanical processes.” What an amazing statement; and it’s exactly correct. It’s not our fault that life on Earth exists in the way it does, nor is it our responsibility to fix it.
But if we could find a way to reorganize the way things are done and push the wheels of progress even slightly forward, what a difference it would make to the quality of our lives. I don’t know the specifics of what Jeff Bezo’s idea is, but it has to be some pretty sweet technology. It also has to be incredibly simple and cost-effective. If anything, it has to be a complete system rethink of how we do things in the current system. The book goes into great detail on the operational structure of an organization like this.
Now then, let me ask you a question. Why haven’t we figured this out yet? It seems silly to suggest that the age-old laws of physics and engineering are new and operative when our technological systems are so new. But apparently the folks at Amazon have figured it out and they are capitalizing on their success. Why aren’t we all jumping on the band wagon and getting this stuff fixed?
Two possibilities are possible. One possibility is that we never figure this out. That’s just bad business. Two possibilities are that we figure it out and we either duplicate or find a way to reinvent the wheel so we can create a product line that beats Amazon and its competitors. In either case, this would mean fewer choices and more competition for us. Is that something we want?
In fact, it’s not just about choice or competition. History shows that innovation always starts with a new idea, a new concept, or a new method of doing things. Sometimes it starts with a novel method of doing things. If we don’t figure that out, things are going to change very quickly and we could be left behind. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.