Friday, December 16, 2016

Kevin Roberts on Jeff Bezos via BC

I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out. 

You know, we love stories and we love narrative; we love to get lost in an author's world.

We've had three big ideas at Amazon that we've stuck with for 18 years, and they're the reason we're successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient...
~  Jeff Bezos

We shared Jeff's quotes over spicy dinner with former boss ... Evan's Hague and BC's Lindt aphrodisiac chocolada came in handy ...

Amazon Go: Just Walk Out

‘No lines, no checkout. (No, seriously.)’ I like where Amazon is headed at it punches further into bricks-and-mortar retail with its Grab-and-Go grocery experience, Amazon Go. It’s a store with no checkout required. An app on your smart phone along with technology (computer vision, sensor fusion, and 
deep learning) take care of that. You scan the app to enter the store, take what you need, and just leave. 
Technology automatically tracks everything in or out of your virtual cart. Pick something up, it’s in. Put something 
back, it’s out. When you leave the store, technology adds up your virtual cart and your Amazon account is charged. A receipt will be sent to the app. See how Amazon Go works. Questions such as handling shoplifting and monitoring age for alcohol purchases are still to be answered. The concept is currently in beta in Seattle with Amazon employees, and will open to the public in 2017.

Technology continues to disrupt retail
and, every now and then, it makes things
easy, timely and fun. This ‘Just Walk Out  Shopping’
feels like tech working as it
really should. How many times have you
aborted a grocery dash because it’s rush
hour in the supermarket and lines are out
The door? No more if Amazon continues
in this direction. With an account,
a smartphone and a free app you are
out, rung up and cooking with gas.

It’s another smart move from Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos as he serves up options and carves out the future. One of his leadership lessons is: determine what your customers need, and work backwards. Take the pain points out of shopping and a retailer wins an instant fan base. Way to go.

`One Is Never Out of Work' in an Imaginary Reading Room

“An attachment to writers of a previous generation needn’t be a nostalgia but a back-to-the-future, a wished for alternative to the too often facetious present and a hope for things to come . . .”

A reader objects to mention of Max Beerbohm. “Too boring, too precious,” and so on. His indictment fits not Beerbohm, the most amusing of writers, but -- well, likely nominees are plentiful and welcome. Beerbohm was the most major of minor writers, a miniaturist of delicacy and inveterate irony, sometimes savage. He writes to his first biographer: “My gifts are small. I've used them very well and discreetly, never straining them; and the result is that I've made a charming little reputation. But that reputation is a frail plant.” Can you think of a contemporary writer confident enough to say such a thing?

In the profoundly optimistic passage quoted at the top, the Irish poet Derek Mahon is referring most immediately to Cyril Connolly in his essay “Montaigne Redivivus” (Red Sails, 2104), but any writer from the past who has earned our gratitude will do. No place is more provincial than the present, and one of the reasons we read the best writers, apart from pure pleasure, is to get a little distance on the world we already inhabit and presume to know. Look at the soft-headed vandals at Penn who this week removed Shakespeare’s portrait and replaced it with a hack’s. Mahon says: “Quite soon we’ll see the crime of elitism on the statute books, another nail in the coffin of civilization.”

Joseph Epstein, a Beerbohm admirer, recently read Theodor Mommsen’s The History of Rome and said it “made the most profound impression upon me, and simultaneously provided the greatest pleasure.” I know the feeling – not with Mommsen, whose work I’ve never read, but with a hundred other books that moved me. That’s how I felt after reading Landor’s Imaginary Conversations, Swift’sDrapier’s Letters and Tacitus (1958) by Ronald Syme, after it was suggested to me by Epstein, who writes in his Mommsen piece:

“Literature is a house of many mansions, and such historians have provided one of the most stately among them. The village idiot of the shtetl of Frampol was given the job of waiting at the village gates for the arrival of the Messiah. The pay wasn’t great, he was told, but the work was steady. So it is, as serious readers will have noticed, with the reading life. The pay may not be great, but one is never out of work.”