Someone Moved the Retail Cheese

Watch Amazon Go!

I remember when retired American Airlines executive Jack Jackson would speak at our industry events lamenting how the upstart airlines were changing the rules to flying.  Some in our industry may remember his famous stories of wondering whether those new paradigms really worked.  He told of his trip from Houston to Dallas where he argued with the ticket agent … who did not give him a ticket (only a cash receipt) and it had no seat number or even his name on it!

She asked him if he knew his name and he said yes he did.  Then she told him he could write his name on the slip of paper if he would like to do that.  “But what about my seat number?!”  She calmly replied that he could have any open seat he wanted, and if he really wanted more seat choices, he should arrive earlier next time.

Oh the times they are a changin’.  Well, Amazon has once again moved the retail cheese in the same way.  Only time will tell, but watch this video and decide for yourself: Watch the Amazon Go video here.

I have blogged and spoken about Amazon’s relentless desire to be The Everything Store for all people.  There is a book about that by that title.  It is easy to criticize Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.  It is easy to criticize Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk.  That does not stop them from trying, adjusting, and pushing forward.  You have heard me reference this over and over again in my quotes from the late Steve Jobs about the “crazy ones” yet our industry still thinks in small, incremental steps, afraid to move boldly.

Of course, if Amazon fails at this the crowds of rear view mirror thinkers will cheer.  They simply do not want to turn around and look into the future … If Amazon fails at this, they will have learned something ahead of everyone else and have moved on.

That is what truly makes a difference in a company:  Trying things, testing the waters, going with what works, and moving on from the rest.


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