Summary of “One way to track the rise of tech”

Tech disruption is increasingly showing up on expense reports.
Lyft makes now up 3 percent of all U.S. business expenses, while Uber represents 11 percent and Amazon 4 percent.
This growth in usage reflects changing corporate travel trends, and has enabled tech companies to take an increasingly large bite out of the world’s $1.4 trillion business travel industry.
Naturally, the ascent of these tech companies has pushed other companies out.
Uber has grown to 73 percent of all ride-hail expenses, while Lyft is 20 percent and taxis represent 7 percent.
Just four years ago, taxi rides made up 74 percent – about the same as Uber now – of all ride-hailing receipts.
The average Uber or Lyft expense is around $25. Other related industries, like rental cars, have also felt competition from ride-hailing apps.
The average Amazon expense, however is $110, nearly double the $56 spent at Walmart.

The orginal article.

Summary of “In Amazon Go, no one thinks I’m stealing”

In January, megaretailer Amazon opened its first cashierless convenience store in Seattle called Amazon Go. You use the Amazon Go app to scan yourself into the store, grab what you want and walk out without needing to check out at a register.
“The Amazon Go shopping experience is designed for all customers to get good food fast,” an Amazon spokesperson told me.
So I decided to give Amazon Go a try during a recent work trip to Seattle for the Smart Kitchen Summit.
I downloaded the Amazon Go app and connected it to my Amazon account.
Though Amazon Go’s concept is all about not having cashiers, there were still plenty of Amazon employees in the store, easy to spot in their orange shirts.
I grabbed one of the orange Amazon Go bags and began to make my way around the perimeter of the store.
Amazon Go isn’t going to fix implicit bias or remove the years of conditioning under which I’ve operated.
In the Amazon Go store, everyone is just a shopper, an opportunity for the retail giant to test technology, learn about our habits and make some money.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Amazon’s retail revolution is changing the way we shop”

To fully comprehend just how big the company has grown over the last 25 years, we’ve put together a guide on every major sector, product category, and market Amazon has entered into either by developing its own products or services, or by acquiring an existing provider with an established position.
Shortly after the first Kindle launched, Amazon premiered its Kindle Direct Publishing platform to let authors self-publish and sell books on Amazon.
Amazon Prime, Prime Video, and original content Amazon first entered the media industry as a major online retailer in the late ’90s. The company began by selling CDs and DVDs to a burgeoning market of online shoppers who began turning to the internet for music and movies, before the technical feasibility of streaming and the advent of the iPod.
With the data it collects, Amazon is able to better understand how we shop and how we want the devices of the future to listen, respond, and problem solve as if they were other human beings.
Amazon has stiff competition in this space, primarily from Apple and Google, but its early investments in smart speakers and AI have helped Amazon overcome its absence in the key consumer markets like mobile, search, and social networks.
The more monumental retail push occurred last summer, when Amazon purchased grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion and proved, yet again, that Bezos is willing and able to buy his way into a new market when it’s unfavorable to start from scratch.
Amazon now has more than 100 private label brands, some without the name Amazon even remotely attached, for product categories like clothing, dog food, and furniture.
Amazon has already changed how we shop and, by extension, how we live our lives.

The orginal article.

Summary of “With No Laws To Guide It, Here’s How Orlando Is Using Amazon’s Facial Recognition Technology”

It’s one of three IRIS cameras in the Orlando area whose video feeds are processed by a system that could someday flag potential criminal matches – for now, all the “Persons of interest” are volunteers from the Orlando police – and among a growing number of facial recognition systems nationally.
The documents, obtained by BuzzFeed News via a Freedom of Information request, show that Amazon marketed its facial recognition tools to Orlando’s police department, providing tens of thousands of dollars of technology to the city at no cost, and shielding the Rekognition pilot with a mutual nondisclosure agreement that kept its details out of the public eye.
There were miscommunications, including an embarrassing misstep that required an apology from Amazon – to the public and to Orlando PD. To be clear, Orlando has not yet deployed a citywide facial recognition project.
Documents obtained by BuzzFeed News show the initial rollout of Orlando’s Amazon Rekognition pilot was marked by internal miscommunication that led to both the city of Orlando and Amazon Web Services – Amazon’s cloud computing arm that offers its facial recognition tools – presenting confusing and contradictory information about the pilot to the public.
After the contract between the City of Orlando and Amazon was finalized in December 2017, documents show that in mid-February a team from Amazon Web Services spent two days in Orlando connecting the city’s video feeds to AWS Rekognition for a “Proof of concept” project.
While the city began streaming its video feeds to Amazon Web Services back in February, it was only in May, when the ACLU reported that Amazon was pitching its facial recognition tool to law enforcement agencies, including Orlando’s, that the broad public became aware of the Orlando PD’s facial recognition pilot.
A July 6 memo addressed to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and representatives of Orlando Districts 1 through 6, and written by representatives of the Orlando Police Department, stated: “The pilot aligns with the City’s mission to be financially responsible by leveraging existing resources and technology to improve operational efficiencies supporting OPD in keeping our residents, visitors, and officers safe.”
The pace at which the Orlando Police Department is moving on facial recognition technology while demonstrating a limited grasp of how it works is concerning, said Scott Maxwell, an Orlando resident and columnist at the Orlando Sentinel.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Long before Amazon, Sears taught Americans to trust shopping from home”

Sears taught Americans to trust shopping from home – Los Angeles Times.
The irony is that Sears figured out shopping from home long before Amazon’s Jeff Bezos even was born.
Sears’ parent company, Sears Holdings, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Monday, the latest retailer to become roadkill in an industry upended by technological advances and changing consumer tastes.
Just as Bezos began his online experiment with books, Richard W. Sears launched his company in 1886 with watches.
“If you buy a good watch you will always be satisfied, and at our prices a good watch will influence the sale of another good watch,” Sears declared.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that Sears started its long slide into retail mediocrity.
Sears’ historical parallels with Amazon are a little spooky.
Another key difference between Sears and Amazon is how each company followed through on its successes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “One Reason Mergers Fail: The Two Cultures Aren’t Compatible”

Tight company cultures value consistency and routine.
Tight cultures have an efficient orderliness and reassuring predictability, but are less adaptable.
Loose cultures tend to be open and creative, but are more disorganized.
People in loose cultures prefer visionary, collaborative leaders: those who advocate for change and empower their workers, like Whole Foods’ Mackey.
People in tight cultures desire leaders who embody independence, extreme confidence, and top-down decision making.
To understand more about how mergers between tight and loose cultures work, we collected data on over 4,500 international mergers from 32 different countries between 1989 and 2013.
They should determine the pros and cons of their current levels of tight-loose, as well as the opportunities and threats posed by merging cultures.
How will the Amazon-Whole Foods partnership pan out? It’s too soon to say, but spending more time on integrating their cultures could help.

The orginal article.

Summary of “5 movies that explain the 2008 financial crisis”

The financial crisis sank some banks and paralyzed markets, resulting in staggering costs for ordinary Americans.
Here are five films worth watching that help bring the causes and effects of the crisis to life.
The Queen of Versailles Jackie and David Siegel, the owners of Westgate Resorts, were in the process of building a massive home – which they called Versailles – on the outskirts of Orlando when the financial crisis was dawning.
It’s a strong piece of storytelling, set among some of the groups of people who were most affected by the crisis, and it illuminates just how devastatingly the crisis was an inversion of the American dream.
99 Homes is available to stream on Amazon Prime and digitally rent on YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play.
The Big Short Based on Michael Lewis’s book of the same name, The Big Short is a seething comedy with an unhappy ending that tracks some of the figures who saw the crisis coming and bet against it.
The Big Short is available to digitally rent on YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play.
Margin Call Set on the night before the big crisis broke, Margin Call follows a gaggle of traders through a taut and sleepless 24 hours as they try to contain the damage after an analyst discovers information that is likely to ruin their firm, and possibly the whole economy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Constant Consumer”

Every day, the imperative to perceive oneself as a customer grows across a range of experiences and institutions: in the shopping centers and business improvement districts that have replaced public squares and parks; in the schools and hospitals, where offerings are tailored not to general social welfare but to individual consumer choice and what each can afford; and in the gym, where exercise, nutrition, and other forms of wellness have been redefined as personal lifestyle choices.
In light of Amazon’s all-encompassing ambitions, the strategy behind several of the company’s most important product initiatives – Alexa, Amazon Prime, physical retail stores, and Amazon Key – becomes clearer.
Amazon represents its efforts to erase the remaining bulwarks against consumerism as its “Customer obsession.” Throughout Amazon’s existence, the company has claimed that traditional corporate priorities, from high-profile retail partnerships to short-term profitability to the company’s stock price, have always ranked below customer satisfaction.
The company’s endless praise for the consumer role is part of its intent to disarm us, to invite us to enter its universe of deals and recommendations and to internalize the status of permanent customer – and specifically, Amazon’s customer.
If being a customer feels so great, as the past century has trained us, what happens when the consumer experience encompasses us so completely that we forget we’re customers at all?
Higher education has recategorized students as customers, emphasizing efficiency and consumer choice over education’s role as a socially useful endeavor to participate in.
The company’s physical retail stores – Amazon Go, Amazon Books, and now Whole Foods – extend that territory to the urban space that Amazon had previously bypassed.
In realizing such a totalizing vision, Amazon faces an obstacle: If being a customer feels so great, as the past century has trained us, what happens when the consumer experience encompasses us so completely that we forget we’re customers at all? The minor friction of 1-click ordering pleasantly reminds us how easy it is to be one of Amazon’s empowered customers, the object of the company’s obsession.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The monopoly-busting case against Google, Amazon, Uber, and Facebook”

We need a new standard for monopolies, they argue, one that focuses less on consumer harm and more on the skewed incentives produced by a company the size of Facebook or Google.
On a good day, Google is the most valuable company in the world by market cap, with dozens of different products supported by an all-encompassing ad network.
“If you’re looking for a silver bullet, probably the best thing to do would be to block Google from being able to buy any companies,” says Stoller.
The company’s modular structure is arguably a direct result of that buying spree, and it’s hard to imagine what Google would look like without it.
Of course, Klobuchar’s bill doesn’t focus on Google or even tech giants, but Stoller says that kind of blockade would have a unique effect on how big companies shape the startup world.
“All of these companies, from Amazon to Facebook to Google, they proactively find their competitors and buy them out,” says Stoller.
Amazon makes life hard for its competitors – and by now, the company is competing against nearly everyone.
Anti-monopoly lawyer Lina Khan laid out the case against the retail giant in a 2017 article called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” in which she argued that the Amazon store had become a utility infrastructure that the company was subverting for its own benefit.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Amazonization of Whole Foods, one year in – TechCrunch”

At the time, Amazon said the goal was to make “High-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone.” Bananas, avocados and even tilapia was going to be cheaper than before.
A bunch of other Amazon offerings involving delivery options were also mentioned, including the getting of Whole Food groceries through a then new Amazon Fresh grocery delivery program and Whole Foods private label products would be made available through Prime Now and Prime Pantry.
Further, Amazon lockers would be showing up at select stores to make pick ups and returns easier for Amazon customers.
Walking into my local Whole Foods, the Amazon branding is everywhere from the deep orange lockers off to the side, the large, green Amazon Fresh coolers greeting me at the entrance to the parking lot and rows of bags ready for pickup and delivery via Amazon workers.
You want to do one better, just download the Amazon app to your smartphone, use the code given and then purchase with Apple pay using your Amazon Prime credit card for maximum benefits.
I’ve also enjoyed using the integrated partnership to order Whole Foods items straight from my Amazon Fresh account.
With Amazon, I can order from various stores, including Whole Foods through my Amazon Fresh account all in one order and then choose a time for delivery.
There’s still some bumps with that process – you can’t order every item available in Whole Foods, just what Fresh offers that week through the Amazon platform.

The orginal article.