It’s easy to forget how dominant Amazon has become in our lives. An article from the Economist a few weeks ago (I’m behind!) is a good reminder. Some tidbits:
- It is now the world’s fifth largest company by value (currently at ~$400B), with sales at about $140B
- It accounts for 5% of retail spending in the US (roughly half of Walmart)
- Alexa already has has ~10,000 skills (sort of akin to apps), despite the recency of its launch
- Amazon spends twice as much much on movies / TV than HBO
- The number of Amazon prime customers is now ~72M, up 32% from 2015.
Only 10 firms with sales of more $50B have managed to grow by 15% for over 10 years since 1950; no company over $100B has pulled that off. Can Amazon be the one? I wouldn’t rule it out.
Nicely written article on the “bro” culture in Silicon Valley from the NYTimes. While most of the article focuses (of course!) on Uber, it has examples from others including Zenefits and Quirky. A couple of points that caught my eye:
- In 1999, 10 percent of investing partners at venture capital companies were women. By 2014 the number had declined to 6 percent. Bros in VC support Bros in tech companies.
- None of the 15 biggest tech “unicorns” — start-ups worth more than $1 billion — has a female chief executive
Worth a a quick scan.
Airlines’ business practices never cease to amaze me. It appears that the “extra fees” (read blankets, ear buds, movies, baggage, change fees etc.) now make up ~10% of total revenue according to an article in the NYTimes. The data is actually from a survey from hopper.com – full data here. All this while the quality of “service” continues to be awful at best. Read and weep.
I ran across some data on the “most hyped” cloud vendors from Oppenheimer research that I thought would be useful to share. It essentially confirms that Oracle, IBM lead in the “hype vs. reality” for cloud. [The essential question asked in the survey was:”Which cloud vendor has least lived up to the hype?”]
Notice that Amazon is near the bottom, where one would expect it to be.
A new report from the EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) on IoT claims that adoption is slower than expected. Major blockers seem to be costs, concerns about security and lack of senior management commitment.
However not all is gloomy. More than half the surveyed execs are optimistic about the future potential of IoT.
Interesting article from the NYTimes on the people who run the world – a.k.a. the ~2500 billionaires. A few points that caught my eye:
- Six of the top 10 billionaires made their money in technology
- A new billionaire is created every three days in Asia(!), with 65 percent of the region’s billionaires in China. So much for communism not being the way.
- 57 percent are self-made, and another 31 percent received an inheritance and grew it into billions.
- Over half of all billionaires are worth between $1 billion and $2 billion. Go up to $5 billion and there are 2,101.
- More of today’s billionaires went to Harvard than to any other school. Stanford was second.
Definitely worth the read.
Reading this article in New Yorker about how the tech super wealthy have back up plans to escape doomsday scenarios made me sad.
Don’t get me wrong. The article was really well written. It was the content that shocked me:
- Apparently more than 50% of all tech billionaires have escape plans (some with planes / helicopters, gold coins, houses at the ready)
- New Zealand seems like a favored destination. In the first few days after the recent election, the rate of people applying for residency climbed to 7 times the normal rate. Wow.
- Another (more local) favored destination seems to be underground missile bunkers. e.g. One in Kansas called the Survival Condo Project was selling condos for $3M a pop. All of them are sold out (in case you were wondering).
I would have normally dismissed such extreme planning to paranoia. However, after a week of the clown show that we have seen in the new administration, I feel completely unprepared.