Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Has Amazon Peaked?

From our Swindon Correspondent:

There’re two stories on the same day that I would normally count as canaries in the coalmine for a company heading for disaster:-

‘a true double helix in shape and structure, this unique building will feature two walkable paths of landscaped terrain that will spiral up the outside of the building, featuring plantings you may find on a hike in the blue ridge mountains of virginia,’ says amazon. the company says that ‘the helix’ will also host an artist-in-residence program for local creative talents. meanwhile, tours of the structure several weekends a month will allow the public to experience the building in person.
This isn’t just in the C Northcote Parkinson thing of dedicated head offices, specially built, but also the thing of succumbing to the desires of architects rather than just building something that works (which is generally a cuboid).
It’s frippery, unnecessary for the job of stuff being sent out from warehouses. No-one has ever proven that this stuff works any better than a regular office building but a well-designed one.
I’m sure there’s someone who has an observation about this other than me, but there’s something that happens to companies when founders die or retire. To these people, it isn’t just a way to have their own personal Gulfstream G5, it’s about the vision and the mission. It’s personal to them. Steve Jobs’ obsession over detail has been lost a little, Disney struggled for years after Walt died.
I can’t help but wonder if Bezos feels like his dream is done. He’s built the store that sells everything from A to Z, it’s now going to be handed over to the guy running the AWS part of it. Maybe he’ll do a great job, but when the next disruption happens, is he going to have the mindset for it?
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Tom
Tom
21 days ago

Sorry, but when I started reading this all I heard was:

“Good morning, gentlemen. This is a twelve-storey block combining classical neo-Georgian features with the efficiency of modern techniques. The tenants arrive in the entrance hall here, and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort and past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed. The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled flesh slurps into these…”

Spike
Spike
21 days ago

Decades ago, I was flown to a Florida country club solely to deliver a videotape to my fellow engineers to brief the sales force. Cartons of Budweiser were stacked high at poolside, fueling the evening’s bed-hopping, at about the time our president was disparaging the notion of the personal computer. Has Amazon lost sight of the mission too? How about all the corporations whose annual reports emphasize “stakeholders” (gadflies) and “sustainability”? Is Reality Optional?

DiscoveredJoys
DiscoveredJoys
20 days ago

I used to work for a large national company that was managed in separate geographical areas. The prediction went that any Area Manager that moved everybody into a new Area Office would lose his job shortly afterwards.

Esteban
Esteban
20 days ago

Another possibility is that the founders move on when things are starting to hit a wall. Either we need somebody who can see where to go next or I’m leaving on a high note, good luck.

Pat
Pat
20 days ago

Well there’s not much room for further growth is there?
Plus I suspect AWS treatment of Parler will give customers, both present and potential, pause for thought.
I predict a long very gradual decline.

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
20 days ago

Apple continues to prosper, but without any real innovation.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
19 days ago

Apple have successfully turned themselves into a Veblen good. When the head of Rolex was asked how the entry of Casio would affect the watch business, he pointed out that “I’m not in the watch business. I’m in the luxury business.”

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