Amazon’s Amazing Pace of Innovation

Amazon A-GO-GO. What else can Amazon disrupt? It wasn’t enough that they figured out the world of grab and go, no strings attached, making it super convenient for – you guessed it – consumers. And, it wasn’t enough that they delivered the first products by drone (oh yes, you’ll love this feature when it’s -8 degrees or you’re knee-deep binge-watching Netflix.) Now, they’re piloting completely automated ‘drive-through retail’ for grocery – think an actual robot army coordinating your grocery acquisition. But wait, there’s more disruption, as they are also adding alcohol to the mix for one-stop shopping nirvana! (unfortunately, all of us Ontarians will likely never see that one happen). That said, can you see the theme here?

When you’re top of the market, why continually innovate at this pace? Let’s hear it from Mr. Bezos himself, “We all know that if you swing for the fences, you’re going to strike out a lot, but you’re also going to hit some home runs. The difference between baseball and business, however, is that baseball has a truncated outcome distribution. When you swing, no matter how well you connect with the ball, the most runs you can get is four. In business, every once in awhile, when you step up to the plate, you can score 1,000 runs. This long-tailed distribution of returns is why it’s important to be bold. Big winners pay for so many experiments.”

Amazon tenaciously experiments, and they continue accumulating pieces in their masterful, monolithic menagerie – they use and pioneer predictive modeling (if you like this you must also like this); zero-click ordering (we know you don’t like to fill out the same form over and over); purchase history (we let you easily find the thing you ordered a year ago); warehouses (always within 20 miles of 45 percent of the buying population for instantaneous delivery); millions of product SKUs (so you can not only find what you’re looking for, but bump into things you never knew you wanted); artificial intelligence (so your data can be crunched to build better and better algorithms), and voice receptors (let Alexa remind you that you need chocolate-covered pretzels with that movie right now) and The Movie Biz (Amazon Studios bagged a Best Actor Oscar for Casey Affleck and Manchester by the Sea). All of these innovations together have made Amazon one of the world’s most trusted brands.

So why is this important? Beyond that fact that Amazon is on track to be the first trillion dollar market cap company, Amazon shows us what actually being agile means. I know the excuses out there… we’re a big multi-headed company, we have many disparate lines of business, we have ingrained processes, we have a certain culture… and the quintessential fallback, we’re not Amazon!

The fact is, it’s time to move beyond old world excuses. These trailblazers are on track to a trillion dollar market cap. That’s right; a trillion. Don’t you think they have hurdles to overcome? The reality is, they have made agile – Build, Measure, Learn – part of the very fabric of their DNA, and placed customer experience at the centre of their world. So if they can do it – so can we all…

If you haven’t checked out the Amazon Go concept yet – here’s the YouTube video.

Michael Chase, CMO
St. Joseph Communications


 

What Happened at The Coolest Dinner Party Ever

Toronto Life's Coolest Dinner Party Ever

In partnership with Sonos, St. Joseph’s Toronto Life recently hosted The Coolest Dinner Party Ever. Amongst hundreds of entries vouching for a spot at the table, the winning guests were treated to a meal by one of the most coveted restaurants in the city, beverages galore and a guest-curated playlist featuring Toronto artists via Spotify. Here’s a peek inside the event.

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