SCORE

We all know the old fable about a frog swimming in a potful of water, sitting on a stove. Raise the temperature very slowly and the frog will not register enough alarm to jump out, eventually perishing. Modern science has refuted the idea. Score one for frog IQ…

As a metaphor for human attention, however, slow-cooked frog soup has more going for it. People, flooded as we are with information (especially in finance), may not notice when a series of small things add up to a major change. 

Case in point: Amazon, which may be the biggest pot of slowly warming water in disruptive Tech just now. Vox had a very useful review of everything the company has done in 2018 out late last week. Link at the end of this section, but here is the highlight reel: 

  • Putting Alexa – its AI-powered voice assistant product – into as many use cases as developers can find. Since Amazon does not have its own phone (unlike voice assistant competition Google and Apple) it has to be especially aggressive in this space.
  • Expanding into physical retail like Amazon Go! and its 4-star store in Manhattan. We recently wrote about news that AMZN plans to extend its store automation initiative to larger formats as well. 
  • Focusing on voice assistants/tablet computers for children, with built in parental controls. Apple did this with great effect 30 years ago; now, not so much…
  • Continuing to grow Amazon Web Services with many major deals (listed in the article).
  • Starting to produce private-label “essentials “ for more popular shopping categories. 
  • Grew its advertising business significantly, leveraging its position as a leading website (rather than just a retailer). 

You can read the whole article here: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/12/13/18136695/amazon-year-growth-alexa-web-services-kids-tech

Bottom line: there isn’t just one reason Amazon is +36% on the year, even after all the recent volatility. They are executing against a long list of target end markets and products to address them.

What Amazon Did in 2018 to Maintain Competitiveness