He's very much the kind of person you want in the supremely high position that he's found himself in. He's basically another Bill Gates but more upbeat and creative.
For example, in the race for states to try to get Amazon's HQ2 in their city, the future of corporate power is so apparent and scary. One city offered that all employees of Amazon would just pay their taxes directly to Amazon instead of to the state to try to entice Amazon. That's something that happens in cyberpunk like Snow Crash, and it's already beginning to happen in real life. We just don't pay that much attention to it because the companies don't have scary names like the Tyrell Corporation, they're instead fun things like Amazon, Disney, Google; and being okay with the massive power Bezos wields because he's a nice guy seems kind of short-sighted to me
From the mid 1980s forward, Gates was always in the public light, always prominent in the tech world in terms of press and interviews, always at CES and doing industry conferences, speeches, et al. He was Microsoft's chief promoter and an extremely public persona. Nearly the exact opposite of how Bezos was from ~2003-2015.
Aside from his decision to buy the WaPo, I think he's shown himself to be one of the few people who really understands long term bets.
So while Google keeps trying to make Android devices sell for iPhone prices, Amazon just sold me a Kindle Fire for $25 that outperforms my Nexus 7.
The impact of Bezos' infrastructure vision is likely to put Google and Apple out of business in the next few decades. He's playing a much more long-term strategy and he's not afraid to take big risks.
This just made me wonder if there's any media or perceptive bias against bald people in leadership positions.
It seems Steve Ballmer and Jeff Bezos for example are/were criticized disproportionately more than Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, for example, even though all of these people have plenty of reasons to be disliked.
And the Steve Jobs of early and mid Apple was definitely not even close to bald: http://www.designbolts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/steve-...
Great question. I think there must be. Musk has had substantial hair regrowth/replacement work done:
Isn't this being subsidized heavily by Amazon? Which might be your point about "long term bets," but I don't think it's unreasonable for Google's long-term bet to be that they want their hardware to be self-sustaining and not reliant on their other revenue (namely advertising).
(Also, it looks like it's $50 on their website - did you get a refurbished one?)
Meanwhile they think nothing of paying large margins on sub $20 products such as T-shirts. But the differences go well beyond that.
Luxury pricing is partially psychological but there is also real value in having a high margin product, allowing the company the luxury of hiring the best talent in the world and get the best supply line in the world, etc. Most mid-tier competitors are just mimicking the talent of top tier brands (otherwise pure low-end markets tend to stagnate as we've seen in many Japanese markets absent 'innovation'), and lowest tier is doing the best with what they can with the lowest quality talent + parts/supplies.
Even if Apple doesn't remain the #1 brand I still hope there remains a luxury brand that is pushing the envelope of the tech and software progress the way they (and Google Pixel recently) has been.
It doesn't benefit anyone when the only services or products left are on a death spiral towards low prices. That's a symptom of either a dead product/market or economy.
Not to mention the plenty of other factors (sometimes irrational) involved in non-low-end pricing strategies.
I haven't even touched on the more primary influences of high prices on preventing shortages and meeting consumer demand (which in absence is often the death knell of price capping critical markets such as food in socialist countries like Venezula).
I tell everyone to read this book before pricing their products and buying into the myth of 'success' by trying to low-ball your prices, it's both bad for your business and also bad for the industry if you're one of the few offering the product (because you'll likely die before it becomes sustainable):
TLDR: ignore the average persons comments on pricing, the lowest possible prices are not always the best prices, certainly for the entrepreneur/industry but also notably for the consumer/general economy as well - often for non-obvious reasons
I don't know whether Amazon is losing money on every unit sold, or if its engineers have found a nice mix of components that are available at lower prices and are able to deliver an acceptable UI/UX.
Note that most of the costly processor speed improvements on the newer premium SoCs are used to create beautiful animations and transitions and little else. Much of what makes the iPhone and Pixel devices feel like luxury products is the materials design and the state of the art screen. Is that really being built by the best talent in the world? I think it's standard miniaturization and consolidation.
As the killer apps for mobile become more and more clear (video, camera, and a few other useful sensors, a chip for ML models, etc.) prices will get lower and lower as more and more of these things can be baked into a general purpose SoC. There is not an app whose performance is driving demand for faster and faster processors, storage, etc., nor is there any core UX that is a deal breaker (now that Android is no longer visibly laggy compared to iOS).
Apple hit a fairly magical home run by creating a high gloss device that people will pay a 3x or 4x price premium to own. But increasingly the competition is going to be in other areas. Plastics are getting better every day, the $25 Kindle feels solid and high quality... sure not $500 iPad quality, but closer to $200 or $300 quality (in my opinion).
While I agree with the parent's advice that most startups should not try to offer a super low cost product, Amazon is not a startup and is waging what I think is a very smart battle with Google and Apple, both of which are judged in relation to each other and are now in an arms race to become luxury brands, which has allowed Amazon an incredible opportunity to take market share.
Amazon is not encumbered by the typical Android characteristic of having lots of carrier-installed bloatware on the device, and is not cursed by Apple's and Google's fear of taking on obvious but challenging product endeavors (like making a kid friendly experience built into the OS).
It's not like Google disable tracking or ads in their latest phones. It's a simple case of wanting to get paid twice, and people still buying it.
Ive never seen so many bugs. Both pads suffer from things like kids profiles having to redownload (or do something) to every app everytime you open it. App crashes and slow launches every time it gets used (around 30 second launch times on both pads) Downloads simply do not get save to SD card despite clear settings saying otherwise. Accelerometer freezes. There's some kind of race condition in the app store so even though I've disabled it with parental controls sometimes you can get it to download an app without password.
One nice bug is that if you set up a kid profile it wont show ads on the lock screen. A fun bug is that if you delete the kids profile, it'll not actually remove the profile data, it just stays on disc taking up space. You have to reset the device to factory settings, but if you dont and you just leave the kids profile deleted it still thinks ones on there and doesn't show ads.
That's not all the stuff I've run into (initial setup had all sorts of other issues) but those are just of the top of my head.
Power management in those devices is particularly weak.
The one I bought (pre holiday sale for $25) is adequately fast. Launch times are a bit slow, but it was $25 and once an app, book, or web page is launched/loaded the scrolling and interactions work fine.
The dropbox app, web browser, and chess apps I use all work nicely. I also use it for reading PDFs (articles, books) and books from the kindle store.
I've noticed the kid profiles to be a bit buggy, but iOS and Android don't have comparable functionality, so I applaud Amazon for shipping what they have and continuing to iterate on it. Even with the bugs the experience of handing it to a kid is far better than Android or iOS.
Mine installed several software updates in the first week after purchase, so it appears that there is active development going on.
It's incredibly liberating when the device can be sold for such an aggressive price. I don't mind if a kid drops it on the floor, I carry it around in my pocket and don't worry about sitting on it, and when there is a faster hardware version I'll likely spring for a new one.
It wouldn't be half the country first of all. It's a small minority of adults having problems paying their student loans (mostly those that were wildly reckless in their easy borrowing). The median student loan is a mere ~$13,000, against a median full-time wage of nearly $50,000.
If you took out $250,000 in student loans for a career path that pays $65,000 max per year, that's on you for being so financially foolish. It's not difficult to look around at cost effective alternatives to such a crazy student debt load.
You can easily go to extremely high quality in-state public universities at a modest cost. A four year degree in the US will get you a $60,000 salary on average right out of school. The typical person holding the median full-time job making $50,000, does not even have a four year degree. After five to seven years in the job market, your income is going to be $75,000 or more. You can do better than that in engineering fields. The unemployment rate with a four year degree, is typically about half the national U3 level, you practically can't not be employed.
Here's the fact of the matter: US wages are so extraordinarily high, a four year degree is a steal, just so long as you don't do something crazy like take on $200k in debt for a path that can never pay a good wage.
Go to an in-state public university, pay $10,000 to $15,000 per year net (a part-time job, as was very common in decades past, is still a good idea, along with seeking grants), get a job making $60,000 and work your income up to closer to $75,000 to $90,000 over time. That student debt becomes meaningless. It is not complex.
Which wouldn't be too surprising given how much HN loves him.
Smarter, more creative, and richer. I'm sure that rankles. And anyone with a project like Blue Origin gets an entire colony-of-orangutans-thumbs up.
People need to remember that billionaires are not your friends. The only thing that can improve society is concerted, collective action. The fetishization of hyper-competent business leaders as the solution to society’s problems is a quasi-fascistic fantasy; it’s of a piece with a yearning for a “strongman” or those thinkpieces that glorify Singapore or the CCP’s supposed technocratic excellence.
Don't misinterpret me as advocating for that world, radical change tends to do more harm than good. But there is nothing wrong with holding a clear view of why people find it an enticing proposition. It's a little intellectually dismissive to just call it some base fetishization or fantasy. Or at least that's how I interpreted your comment, perhaps my interpretation was uncharitable.
They have a stand that gives away blemishless perfectly ripe bananas daily but good luck finding a half decent place to eat open past 7 on a weeknight let alone a dive bar that hosts interesting bands on a small stage.
Clean and perfect! Ready to work! Thank you master for selling me the future I always dreamed of! May I die happy in service of your almighty brand!
O'rly. Then how much money does someone need to be my friend?
Can you site the source for this claim, or it's just your opinion?
Sort of a dream, but seems like a nice goal :)
Ebola (for example) is extremely effective. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, or want it anywhere near the White House.
The ACA went through public debate for a year. This didn't.
I think whichever party puts forth the most electable candidate will, by definition, win the next election. Of what I perceive as that pool of individuals, I see Jeff Bezos as one of the better options.
It's the kind of thinking that's got people seriously jabbing about Oprah as a Democratic candidate. We really want to put someone who was a talk show host and has evangelized quack science for the past 30 years in charge of the country, because she's all of a sudden brave enough to speak out against Harvey Weinstein (nevermind that she was his friend)?
The scary thing is, she'd probably beat Trump, that doesn't mean it would be good for this country. It really can't be that difficult to pick someone who is both more electable than Trump and also capable. If we can't do that, then let's fold up as a country and go home.
We don't have to default to someone like Oprah or Bezos. We can do better.
(For comparison, while plenty of people here have strong party affiliations over here in Holland, it's not a big deal and quite common even to be a 'floating' voter without too much allegiance to one party.)
Check out this BBC article about countries without an elected government (the functional ones rely on the civil service):
Would you hire someone who knows nothing about technology (aside from being a consumer of it) to be your CTO? Probably not... similarly, we should expect people to gain experience in government before they are considered suitable.
I agree with the principle (and I despise the whole "tv stars as president" trend), but Bezos' experience isn't completely irrelevant.
There was a similar argument to be made (and that has been made) about Trump and business experience. Now, Trump's failures as president are correlated with his failures as a businessman and in life in general, but it doesn't undermine the logic.
CEO of Amazon is a massive amount of experience that no former president can claim they have. And although Bezos wouldn't have experience working in government, I highly doubt he's unfamiliar with it; he, just like any CEO of companies like amazon, would have worked with governments (especially US government) a ton.
(Now let's not say that too loudly in case Larry Ellison reads HN and is getting new ideas)
Whereas as US president, you're effectively leader of your political party, and your greatest achievements are essentially legislative even though you have no legislative power. It's a position of leadership through coalition-building, not execution through delegation and accountability.
There's certainly overlap, but overall they feel like night and day.
People don't 'trust' the Amazon brand. People just know that Amazon is cheap because they're built a huge economy of scale by acting anti-competitively. How, you ask? By lowering their prices to the point they were losing money or making very little money.
Amazon is no better than Walmart or Microsoft or any big American company that has acted monopolistically, IMO.
Mark Z. can be his vice and they can think up kid names together.
Trump criticizes everything, Jeff is not singled out. He's the equivalent of a Gilded Age robber baron. You want to put him in charge?
In contrast to the current President, Jeff is a stable and effective leader with broad popular appeal, a good head on his shoulders, and respect for the institutions of American democracy. In 2020, I think that’s the best we can hope for.
Why can't a nation of 300 million people choose someone who hasn't spent their whole life making money or being a pop star? I'd like to see someone with a broader outlook than that.
Your satisfaction as a customer comes at the expense of their employees (as you pointed out) and their sellers. It's something you have to experience and then you get how they work.
As a once (and still) happy customer they lost all my trust.