If You Think The White House Has Retention Issues …
Prime Cut: The revolving door at Amazon headquarters is spinning almost as fast as the West Wing’s. This month founder/CEO Jeff Bezos lost two of his most crucial deputies in quick succession: Greg Greeley (Amazon Prime VP) and Assaf Ronen (voice shopping VP).
TWICE Take: Greeley leaves for a president’s title at Airbnb’s Home unit after nearly two decades at Amazon. For the past five years he helped grow and develop the Prime membership program, which has become a major sales and strategic success (see below), but was never rewarded with the coveted executive VP rank. Ronen, an Israeli entrepreneur and former Microsoft GM, was tasked with voice and natural user interface (Nui) shopping, a format that promises explosive growth. He was named senior VP/head of product at Uber. No successors were announced.
Amazon’s Primal Urges Prove Correct
Prime Cut: There was a time, not all that long ago, when analysts would regularly take Amazon to the woodshed over its Prime membership program. Though the books are still off limits, the then $79/year offering was seen as a bottomless money pit, due largely to its unlimited, two-day, free-for-members shipping service.
TWICE Take: Thirteen years after its launch, the now $99/year program is considered farsighted and ingenious for garnering upwards of 80 million members (estimated) who spend roughly 86 percent more per year than non-members (also estimated). But besides creating an installed base of loyal, big-spending customers fully enmeshed in the Amazon ecosystem, Prime’s two-day deliveries have served as a defensive moat to e-tail wannabes like Walmart, who are bleeding cash to catch up. As Jeff Bezos once said, “Your margin is my opportunity.”
See the full story at The Motley Fool.
Amazon’s CE Biz In Best Buy’s Sights
Prime Cut: Over the past six years Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly has done the impossible: taken an over-the-hill specialty chain, written off by many as a dinosaur in its death throes, and made it a vital, profitable, fun-to-shop showplace with compelling products, prices and services.
TWICE Take: Now that Best Buy is back on the rails and picking up speed, its chief executive is seemingly turning his attention to No. 2 tech retailer Amazon, with whom it shares about 25 percent of the domestic consumer electronics market. “We have turned around the business; it’s about where we go from here,” he told Reuters. “I don’t believe this is a winner-takes-all market.” Joly has already taken some serious jabs at the e-tailer by matching its prices and delivery windows, and even using Alexa against it. How long Amazon will stand for such behavior remains to be seen.
See the full story at Reuters.
A Smart Approach To Smart Home
Prime Cut: Amazon, through its Echo devices, omniscient Alexa virtual assistant, and recent smart-home acquisitions, is out to make the category its own. But how does the e-tailer sanely assort the sector when seemingly every product is connected these days? We put that question to Amazon’s director of smart home, Matt Furlong.
TWICE Take: Speaking at a TWICE roundtable event, Furlong said the company is straddling the IoT with the help of its “Works With Amazon Alexa” program. “This way customers can have confidence, whether they’re buying a light bulb or a thermostat or whatever it may be, that it will give them the experience we are promising,” he said. But at the same time, “We want to make sure we offer everything” — including non-Alexa devices — “so that they can fundamentally choose what they want. We’re doing things to help them navigate the wide selection.”
See the full story at TWICE.
Ground Control To Major Jeff
Prime Cut: No question Jeff Bezos is having a very good year. Already the world’s wealthiest person, stock market gyrations notwithstanding, Amazon is poised to hit a trillion-dollar market cap in four years, says Jefferies analyst Brent Thill. So what’s a multi-multi billionaire to do with all that chump change?
TWICE Take: Apparently he’ll be investing his “Amazon lottery winnings” in his privately-funded space exploration start-up, Blue Origin, which, like fellow entrepreneur Elon Musk, is developing reusable rockets to lower “the price of admission to space … so we can go explore the solar system,” he told the Explorers Club. Bezos was at the professional society’s annual dinner to accept the Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award. Also on hand was Nobel Prize winner James Watson, a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, who suggested Bezos set aside a few shekels to fix the potholes here on earth.
See the full story at Bloomberg.
Amazon Quote Of The Week
“What gets me is how white people keep this shit in their house … ’cause if that happened to me Alexa wouldn’t last the night.” – The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah on Alexa’s creepy laugh