Just like Don Corleone in the epic Godfather movie, the folks at Washington-based e-commerce giant Amazon are about to make offers to their business partners, the company hopes they can’t refuse. That the firm, like Corleone, relies on ‘capos’ to enforce these offers, can be doubted, but they have a treasure the Mafia never possessed. Amazon’s immense knowledge about their business partners, generated from all sorts of data, takes the firm to a stage where it plans to rely a huge part of its channel domain on its recommendation system. But let me explain.
After establishing overnight delivery years ago and the introduction of the ‘drone delivery service’ last summer, the firm filed a patent in January with the bulky name ‘anticipatory shipping’. The idea behind it could revolutionize the e-commerce environment. According to techcrunch.com the system is the next ‘step towards cutting out human agency entirely from the e-commerce roundabout’ (1). When set up properly the automated collaborative filtering algorithm will learn from the behavior of registered consumers and anticipate what they could possibly be interested in, before the consumers themselves think about it. When matched with a specific product, Amazon plans to wrap the item and send it towards the potential customers before an order has been placed. This means slashing down shipping time by relying on clients’ historical buying patterns, preferences expressed via surveys, demographic data, but also browsing habits, wish-lists and even mouse movements (1). Essentially, the system entirely outsources the consumers’ shopping experience and direct communication with Amazon on basis of an online recommendation agent.
What does it take to create the smallest pieces you can find on this earth? Either you can jump in your self-made time machine and travel to the birth of our universe or, for the pocket money of 6.4 billion Euro, you can purchase 27 kilometers of tunnel underneath the Jura mountains in Switzerland and France, buy 9593 magnets, 1232 dipoles and 392 quadropels (1). Now you only have to find a smart brain and you will get yourself a private science lab, similar to the CERN in Geneve, right?
Wrong! It was not the billions of tax money or the finesse of one Harvard student, which makes the ‘world’s most ambitious scientific experiment’ a successful story (2). It is the fact that more than ten thousand qualified researchers from all over the world have collaborated in the experiments conducted at that giant laboratory (3), most of them physicist and engineers. Solely the largest experiment, ALICE, involves a scientific community, which, in my opinion, could refer to itself as the world’s smartest melting pot. 1200 researchers from 131 different institutes out of 36 countries make it possible to crash two tiny little substances with immense speed into each other, just to make them break apart further and to tell the physicists something about the history and future of the world (4).
Lately, I stumbled over the blog post “All around the world, you’re a great way to fly – Selling an experience“. The post contains a list of “profound services, which only the best airlines offer” (1) . It reminded me of heated discussions about the positioning and quality of airlines today, and how low-cost aircarriers’ (LCA) terrible reputation is a constant topic in media. Websites express the ‘general disgust’ about these firms (2), and passengers even take over planes (3). So, is it justified that many people perceive LCAs as the ‘worst airlines’ and most people think similar as the folks below?