Amazon Prime is disruptive technology for retail stores

Disruptive technology is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology

Jason Calcanis on The Cult of Amazon Prime, where $79 a year gets you free 2-day shipping (and more) and why that changes everything.

According to most Prime members I’ve talked to, one of the greatest joys of the cult membership is never again having to deal with an apathetic teenager or bitter baby boomer forced to work in retail.

You can buy just about anything you need from Amazon now with free shipping with no minimum order size. So why go shopping at stores when you can order online from a trusted retailer instead?

Make no mistake. This is disruptive technology, the creative destruction of earlier industries and businesses by something that replaces them. For some it will be painful

The only downside to Prime’s ascendancy is that it’s going to wipe out tens of thousands of retail jobs that are currently filled by the least employable of our workforce.

It’s not a jump to say that many of these retail jobs are filled by folks who have *already* taken a huge career nosedive from the middle class to the just-above poverty level of retail workers.

They’re going to get fracked twice in 20 years: first getting knocked from the white collar or blue collar middle class to the retail working-class jobs, and then to no jobs.

But, he asks, do we really need or want malls anyway?

Did any of us ask for this massive consumption ecosystem to be built?

All of these malls and choices seemed fun for a while, but Prime cult members have now won their freedom. They are opting for a simpler and more efficient form of consumption.

Buying online also saves huge amounts of energy and gas, especially when tens of millions of people are doing it.

I spoke recently with a Fedex driver with a route betwen Salt Lake City and Cedar City. He said during the Christmas rush that 40% of the packages were from Amazon.

Is Amazon the new Walmart?

Amazon killed the Kindle star

Amazon is watching your Kindle
Amazon is watching your Kindle

Amazon just mass deleted ebooks on Kindles that customers had bought and paid for. Yes, they got a refund, but that’s not really the point is it? Why even bother to buy ebooks from them if they might get zapped from afar without warning.

To make matters worse for Amazon, the books were by George Orwell.

Podcastingnews sums it up well.

It’s bad enough that Amazon is remotely deleting books that people thought they had bought – but the books happen to be the works of George Orwell – 1984 & Animal Farm.

What’s next – Fahrenheit 451?

It’s a public relations disaster for Amazon, resulting in headlines like Think You Own the Book You Bought for Your Kindle? You Don’t, Says Amazon and Whose Kindle Is It Anyway?

The tragedy of the Kindle is that it’s cutting edge technology designed to enforce the status quo of publishing – and nothing revolutionary is going to come out of that.

The technology for ereaders is here, but we need something better than the Kindle.

PS Amazon is promising to never ever do that again.

Amazon CEO to work for a week in warehouse

jeff bezos

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is working for a week in their distribution center in Kentucky. No photo ops or interviews. He wants to see what being an employee is like.

He apparently wants to see what it’s like to be a rank-and-file Amazon employee. More CEOs should try that once in a while.


Amazon isn’t flashy, but they get it about so many things. They have a genuinely intelligent and useful online experience. The Kindle is disruptive technology and will probably be huge. Their Amazon Web Services started by leasing out web services they weren’t using and has grown into a major business. Companies like Facebook and Second Life use it to help support their websites.

Now their CEO is spending a week working with and listening to employees in a warehouse. Good.