Sunday evening on the CBS Television program, 60 Minutes, Charlie Rose took us behind the scenes of Amazon.com along with a visit with CEO, Jeff Bezos. Amazon is an amazing online company that began by selling books to customers over the Internet. Since its inception, Amazon has expanded beyond books and is now looking to sell us everything.
I still remember the early days of Amazon.com. It wasn’t such a big deal back in the nineties but it did amaze a number of us over at what was then called, Walt Disney Feature Animation. Until Amazon, many of us used to scrounge for books anywhere we could. That meant small mom and pop book stores and the big box stores such as now defunct Borders and Barnes&Noble. We often headed to used book stores and rare book stores in order to find what we needed. Now, all of a sudden here was Amazon. An online retailer that could provide us with whatever book we needed and do it quickly. In some cases, the books could be in our hands the very next morning. The cumbersome task of researching was turned on its head and all this was made possible by this amazing online bookseller called, Amazon.
Yes, there have been gripes and complaints. Jeff Bezos and his Amazon behemoth is now being blamed for the demise of the corner bookstore. However, the mom&pop bookstore was already being handed its head by the big retailers. Movies like, “You’ve Got Mail” had fun with mega retailer, Tom Hanks crushing Meg Ryan’s cute little corner bookstore. As Jeff Bezos says, “You can’t stop progress.” As much as I love my brick and mortar retailer they’re no match for a monster retailer such as Amazon. The Internet has disrupted everything and will continue to do so. That means things we cherish such as the corner bookstore will remain in our hearts as quaint and charming. However, when there’s a need for the overnight delivery of that special rare book - I’m afraid quaint and charming just don’t cut it.
Hey, I’m not defending Amazon. Jeff Bezos is a multi-millionaire and hardly needs any help from me. However, progress will continue to move us forward and that will happen whether we like it or not. Even now, people are beginning to grumble about the “Amazon Drone” that science fiction like device that could deliver a package to your front door. This hasn’t even happen yet and people are already complaining. It would appear most people either lack vision or are simply afraid of the future. Rest easy, my friends. The future is going to happen whether we like it or not. It reminds me of people who said, “who would ever need a cel phone,” or “why would anybody buy a tablet computer?”
Jeff Bezos and his Amazon Drones may indeed deliver packages to your home one day. And, guess what? This will probably be commonplace in our lifetime. The only question is - will you embrace it or will you be like the cranky grey haired old man standing on the front porch shouting, “Get them darn drones off my lawn!”