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Chloe Cushman

Good morning.

Brexit's super Saturday

New uses for social media

Pinterest is the only place on the internet where people want ads. Once a simple place to find inspiration for DIY projects, the platform has become a power tool for online shopping.

How Pinterest became the only place on the internet where people want ads

I’m surprised Pinterest isn’t valued a lot higher because of this. I mean, A LOT higher. Basically, by making the tie-in to ads and purchases all organic to the experience of using the site, they achieve the holy grail of e-commerce, and they could monetize their position both ways, plus enjoy the fact

I’m surprised Pinterest isn’t valued a lot higher because of this. I mean, A LOT higher. Basically, by making the tie-in to ads and purchases all organic to the experience of using the site, they achieve the holy grail of e-commerce, and they could monetize their position both ways, plus enjoy the fact that their user base effectively creates their content, provides quite possibly the most detailed consumer profile possible, and evangelizes it all to their social circle, as well as cultivating broader-based followers across the internet. Plus, it’s easy to get sucked into spending time on Pinterest, and somehow that time spent feels enriching and fun. I don’t think I’d ever describe having to browse and use Amazon’s horrible search as “fun” or enriching, and same for Google Shopping or any other e-tailer.

The case of Pinterest proves the marketing theory of search. If you present a willing consumer with choices or alternatives for products they are looking for, they are likely to search from those alternatives. Else ads are just a nuisance

Indians are learning English through TikTok. China's viral video-sharing app just launched an educational initiative in India.

Indians are learning English through TikTok

It seems like ByteDance is trying to use the massive popularity of TikTok for something other than just being really fun.

Indians are using a Chinese app to teach one another English. Although it's an innovative use of social media, I'm a bit skeptical about TikTok's ability to revamp its image. The app's parent company, ByteDance, is based in Beijing. The specter of Chinese influence looms large.

This looks to me like an exercise to clean up its act in India. TikTok has had a rough run in this part of the world with linkages to fatal accidents and pornography. It's also faced legal suits and government warnings. So trying to promote and build an image of being more useful in helping common people

This looks to me like an exercise to clean up its act in India. TikTok has had a rough run in this part of the world with linkages to fatal accidents and pornography. It's also faced legal suits and government warnings. So trying to promote and build an image of being more useful in helping common people works in its favour. For the next court case, TikTok will at least have something positive to show for why it should be allowed to stay in the country.

The future of cars

The world’s downtowns are giving up on personal cars. In recent years, cities have begun to banish cars from specific streets or entire districts.

The world’s downtowns are slowly giving up on personal cars

I live in Los Angeles and were considering things like this as well except our public transit is terrible compared to other places. As long as the infrastructure can support having no cars, great!

It was a shame that the urban streetcar lines were all ripped out because of GM and Big Oil. Yet another stupid, awful and selfish mistake made by capitalism. Who would have thought? A system based on selfishness, greed and power is responsible for screwing over pretty much everyone in short-sighted

It was a shame that the urban streetcar lines were all ripped out because of GM and Big Oil. Yet another stupid, awful and selfish mistake made by capitalism. Who would have thought? A system based on selfishness, greed and power is responsible for screwing over pretty much everyone in short-sighted grab for profits... and we’re just supposed to accept this garbage?

Let’s start laying down a new urban streetcar system on these car-free streets - and expand from Market. I’ve always thought that Fillmore street would make a great no-car bus rapid transit line north/south. It’s only one lane in each direction for most of it, and the cars currently delay the busses, which delay the cars, and it all just slows to a crawl. Get rid of the car traffic and prioritize the signals at cross streets for busses (or ideally, a streetcar líne) and you could actually get from Market Street to the Fillmore, Pacific Heights, and the Marina much faster. Unlike the other North/South streets that parallel to each side, which are either arterials for cars or more residential with stop signs every block, Fillmore is slightly commercial but low-ish capacity and underutilized. But really, what SF needs is a lot more subways! Transit trying to compete with car congestion sucks.

Banning cars from the downtown is good for our lungs, our waist lines and our ears. Less air and noise pollution could attract people back to the downtown and result in much needed rejuvenation of beautiful older architecture. Walking in green spaces would allow exercise that is accessible to all and

Banning cars from the downtown is good for our lungs, our waist lines and our ears. Less air and noise pollution could attract people back to the downtown and result in much needed rejuvenation of beautiful older architecture. Walking in green spaces would allow exercise that is accessible to all and may even reconstitute a sense of community as people interact more. The key is access for service and delivery vehicles and easy alternative transport for longer distance travel like trains tramways buses and shared taxis.

India's wealth gap

Chinese censorship goes global

Chinese censorship is no longer just a China problem. The broad strokes of censorship in China are common knowledge. But over the past week or two, the world began to wake up to the fact that China’s censorship machine is now a global phenomenon. ✦

Chinese censorship is no longer just a China problem

It’s fascinating to see: the statement that something doesn’t fall in the scope of free speech because “it hurts the feelings” of people is an appeal to ethical concepts coming from a country that a while back proclaimed there are no such things as natural rights...

In the overt, China complains about

It’s fascinating to see: the statement that something doesn’t fall in the scope of free speech because “it hurts the feelings” of people is an appeal to ethical concepts coming from a country that a while back proclaimed there are no such things as natural rights...

In the overt, China complains about free speech hurting feelings, in the covert it manipulates social media in the west with disinformation.

Western companies need to decide how much to give up in ethics and basic rights in order to gain access to a market.

Outsiders' self-censorship follows a familiar pattern. When a Westerner runs afoul of Chinese nationalist ideology, they tend to follow the crude strategy of "apologize, play dumb, shut up."

The world needs to stop self-censoring about Hong Kong

Personally I disagree with cultural relativism. Not everything begs our understanding, like restricting freedom of thought, opinion, dress or the right to vote or assemble peacefully. There is a such thing as universally wrong. How does one judge the difference? I don’t have all the answers but usually

Personally I disagree with cultural relativism. Not everything begs our understanding, like restricting freedom of thought, opinion, dress or the right to vote or assemble peacefully. There is a such thing as universally wrong. How does one judge the difference? I don’t have all the answers but usually the right thing doesn’t produce more harm than good.

One small step

Two women walked in space. NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir stepped outside the International Space Station for a historic spacewalk that doubles as a metaphor for what it's like to be a woman full of ambition in 2019.

The metaphorical power of NASA’s first all-women spacewalk

Today was the first-ever all-women spacewalk, this moment is historic and will inspire so many girls to come. But getting here to this moment is a reminder of women trying to succeed in a world made for men

A moment to celebrate for all women. Lets make the spacesuit fit for many more women to come. Lets break down the bias so that this story - while spectacular, can become the norm and our children will see no boundaries nor be marginalized in the future simply for being female.

The future of gaming

Call of Duty turns down the loot. Players of the latest edition of the military-themed first-person shooter will no longer be able to pay for a chance of getting better at the game. Ridding loot boxes is a big step for the company, which generated $4.2 billion in revenue last year.

Call of Duty won’t be the last high-profile game to get rid of loot boxes

As an avid gamer I am extremely happy about this! This returns the game to a more skill-based system rather than a “pay to win” model. If you want pay to win, play mobile games or Fortnight and try not to get eliminated by some 8 year old who stole his moms credit card to buy better weapons.

This is great, loot boxes are kind of like gambling with the RNG (random number generator) element. Yes it makes money but nowhere near Season Battle Passes that Fortnite uses (Epic made ~$3B in profit in 2018 from it just one company not the while industry).

So good riddance to loot boxes, Battle Passes

This is great, loot boxes are kind of like gambling with the RNG (random number generator) element. Yes it makes money but nowhere near Season Battle Passes that Fortnite uses (Epic made ~$3B in profit in 2018 from it just one company not the while industry).

So good riddance to loot boxes, Battle Passes are more aligned with player engagement b/c you buy the pass and in order to maximize all its benefits you have to play more, play with friends, complete challenges, etc. to unlock things. Brilliant from a user engagement standpoint vs dumb chance loot boxes.

Top dollar TV

Can you hear me now?

Brave towns are putting a stop to the tyranny of leaf blowers. The loudest models may have noise levels of up to 112 decibels—louder than a plane taking off, a freight train, or a live rock concert.

More and more brave towns are putting a stop to the tyranny of leaf blowers

Sorry but the back up beep beep is required by law to save lives. Doesn't stop people from walking behind them and that creates more noise.

Life outside the city has highway noise lawm mowers and snow blowers not to mention trains and jet engines. Even cottage country has outboards and snowmobiles

Sorry but the back up beep beep is required by law to save lives. Doesn't stop people from walking behind them and that creates more noise.

Life outside the city has highway noise lawm mowers and snow blowers not to mention trains and jet engines. Even cottage country has outboards and snowmobiles. Annoy your neighbors crank the volume.

Let’s not stop there. Those pesky beep BEEP BEEPS from the semi-trailer trucks and snow plows on my street have got. to. go. I’ve fantasized about painting a “where (your) kids come to cry” sign at the entrance of the alley way our bedroom sits over. I swear it’s a symphony of bad hip hop or EDM blasting

Let’s not stop there. Those pesky beep BEEP BEEPS from the semi-trailer trucks and snow plows on my street have got. to. go. I’ve fantasized about painting a “where (your) kids come to cry” sign at the entrance of the alley way our bedroom sits over. I swear it’s a symphony of bad hip hop or EDM blasting from sun roofs and open windowed sedans (you know who you are), trucks endlessly backing up (to seemingly nowhere), children mid-meltdown, sloshing drunks, recycling foragers clanking $.05 bottles, children on the verge of a meltdown, couples on the verge of a meltdown and finally, yes, leaf blowers and lawn care equipment.

I want peace but I’m wrapped in red tape. An ode to city life.

Noise pollution is one of the next major challenges to overcome, and the solutions cannot only come from technology advances. Machines, even the quietest, generate their own low-level noise that contributes to both overall pollution and the insistent, steady thrum.

Talkin' Texas

The Lone Star State, but make it fashion. The world’s biggest luxury brand, Louis Vuitton, is investing $50 million into a bag production factory on a Texas ranch south of Fort Worth. They have good reasons why.

Why Louis Vuitton opened a factory on a ranch in Texas

I never thought I'd see the day where Bernard Arnault would be in a photo with Trump. But this is a great set of news for the US manufacturing sector, and hopefully this can create a bigger trend towards fashion brands setting up more US plants.

That said, "Made in the USA" is a tag that brands can

I never thought I'd see the day where Bernard Arnault would be in a photo with Trump. But this is a great set of news for the US manufacturing sector, and hopefully this can create a bigger trend towards fashion brands setting up more US plants.

That said, "Made in the USA" is a tag that brands can only use if 100% of their products are sourced there. The leather isn't entirely from Texas (which is a bit odd) but this issue has also hindered the watch world.

There so much more under this hood, but kudos to LVMH for this news.

Come back soon!

Close

Amazon stands for nothing. That almost makes it beautiful

Read more on Quartz

From Our Members

  • Amazon squarely stands for “cheaper stuff, made easy for you, at all costs.” It makes a promise, it keeps it. I don’t need to consciously remember to trust Amazon, don’t need to feel anything, I just know. No one ever gets excited about buying from Amazon. There’s zero adventure. Beautiful.

    I’m very

    Amazon squarely stands for “cheaper stuff, made easy for you, at all costs.” It makes a promise, it keeps it. I don’t need to consciously remember to trust Amazon, don’t need to feel anything, I just know. No one ever gets excited about buying from Amazon. There’s zero adventure. Beautiful.

    I’m very conscious of why and when I shop at a physical store: the experience. A great environment, service, community-centric, see, touch, try on, curated products, instant gratification or need it now. My local bike shop is a case in point. It’s these experiences that mean Amazon doesn’t get all my retail dollars.

    We have seen the cost and carnage in traditional retail yet it hasn’t stopped us loving (and needing) what Amazon has delivered in terms of lower prices, choice and convenience. I suspect there’s a nascent yearning or even expectation for Amazon to do the same thing in other industries; health, for one. Wouldn’t that be great? Lower prices, cheaper everything, incumbents forced to change, information on what you’re buying at the moment you need it, and choice, choice, choice. Medicine doesn’t really work like that but insurance might if Amazon applied its meritocratic, almost clinical, single-mindedness to customer satisfaction in that market.

    Great article.

  • It seems to me the mission statement is right there in bold on the quoted IPO document - to offer great value to customers... Not very different from Wal-Mart if you think about it. But so what?

    Unlike Amazon, the other two tech companies that recently were the most valuable in the world - Microsoft

    It seems to me the mission statement is right there in bold on the quoted IPO document - to offer great value to customers... Not very different from Wal-Mart if you think about it. But so what?

    Unlike Amazon, the other two tech companies that recently were the most valuable in the world - Microsoft and Apple have created products that meet the so-called "Gates line": when the value in other parts of the ecosystem that was created as a result surpasses the value of the product or platform itself... Think PC revolution, Windows and the multiple innovations and businesses that came from that. Or iOS and AppStore for a more recent example.

    Amazon's customer focus is admirable, even if self-serving. I am a loyal customer myself. But when I think about impact to the world over a lifetime, I don't see them in the same league as Microsoft or Apple.

    Just as it's great to admire Babe Ruth for his accomplishments, it doesn't put him on the same league as Alexander Fleming or Thomas Edison.

    And on this talk about monopoly and the capitalistic amoral position, check out Peter Thiel's "Zero to One" for a great perspective on why the government need not interfere if consumers are not being harmed. Let people and partners vote with their wallets. Transparency helps make that efficient.

  • I wouldn’t say Amazon is an example of capitalism at all. One of the definitive traits of capitalism is the existence of healthy competitive markets, which is something Amazon is chipping away at. I’d also say that Amazon does stand for something - it stands for, and is the perfect symbol of, consumerism

    I wouldn’t say Amazon is an example of capitalism at all. One of the definitive traits of capitalism is the existence of healthy competitive markets, which is something Amazon is chipping away at. I’d also say that Amazon does stand for something - it stands for, and is the perfect symbol of, consumerism.

    The more goods we consume, the bigger Amazon becomes. So Amazon will do anything to ensure that there is no friction to the growth of consumerism (as bloated and harmful as it already is becoming), because that is also the same friction to the growth of Amazon itself.

  • Really thoughtful reflection stepping back from the sweep of Amazon history about how it stands for nothing. Traditionally a mercenary approach has been thought to be a challenge to a company's ability to recruit and retain top talent—people drawn to "Don't be evil" or "Think different," say. My reading

    Really thoughtful reflection stepping back from the sweep of Amazon history about how it stands for nothing. Traditionally a mercenary approach has been thought to be a challenge to a company's ability to recruit and retain top talent—people drawn to "Don't be evil" or "Think different," say. My reading of Brad Stone's book about Amazon was at least partly that it made a lot of bad executive hires throughout its history. And I'm troubled by its insufficient self-reflection around things such as destroying small businesses, creating unenviable conditions for its warehouse workforce, and selling facial ID tech to the US government—amid extreme business value and wealth creation. But at the end of the day, Amazon's lack of specificity about its purpose on earth apart from serving customers has delivered impressive returns.

  • When you’re a super power, standing for nothing is standing for something. Big Tech needs to hire more humanities grads, including in the C Suite.

  • For some time I've been thinking how Silicon Valley companies have stumbled over themselves to align some of their actions with their stated values, whether it's tracking users when they have no need to, selling data to just about any third party or outright lying about their achievements.

    Conversely

    For some time I've been thinking how Silicon Valley companies have stumbled over themselves to align some of their actions with their stated values, whether it's tracking users when they have no need to, selling data to just about any third party or outright lying about their achievements.

    Conversely, I've never seen Amazon have any sort of confusion over who it purports to be and what it does. Like no other company, it's forcing us to confront what we really want or expect from a corporation. Its only promises to us, the consumer and even society, are a huge selection, low prices and great customer service. It has delivered those things and, in turn, incredible investor returns. But eventually we'll assess the full cost.

  • Why does this remind me of that exchange from “The Big Lebowski”...

    Brant: He’s a nihilist.

    Dude: That must be exhausting.

    I wouldn’t say corporate nihilism is beautiful. It is, however, the perfect embodiment of out-of-control hypercapitalism, just as Bezos is the perfect Lex Luthor avatar for the same.

  • What does it mean for a company to stand for something? What does it mean for a company to be moral in the context capitalism?

    The purpose of capitalism is to make what is “rare” abundant. And that’s accomplished by lowering costs, which come in two forms. Lowering explicit costs, which is the cost

    What does it mean for a company to stand for something? What does it mean for a company to be moral in the context capitalism?

    The purpose of capitalism is to make what is “rare” abundant. And that’s accomplished by lowering costs, which come in two forms. Lowering explicit costs, which is the cost of the actual good or service. Secondly, lowering implicit costs, which is the time required in attaining the good or service.

    In this context, Amazon is not only the textbook example of capitalism. But the company has also done more for consumers than any other company in recent history, save Apple which supplies platform in which its services live on.

  • The author here says that Amazon should be your ideal if you’re a true believer in capitalism. Well, there’s your issue: the growing rifts in societies around the globe and all the crap they are causing are attributable to some of the flaws in our current version of capitalism.

    It doesn’t take a genius

    The author here says that Amazon should be your ideal if you’re a true believer in capitalism. Well, there’s your issue: the growing rifts in societies around the globe and all the crap they are causing are attributable to some of the flaws in our current version of capitalism.

    It doesn’t take a genius to see that big tech is the new financial services, the techlash will bring much needed regulation, competition, transparency, fairer pay distribution, better employee welfare and wider accountability.

    The big difference here: tech companies much more than the FS behemoths will absolutely need public trust to survive - people today need to know that a company exists for more than just making profits, people expect companies to play a positive role in the world as well as generate revenue.

    If you don’t stand for something, if you don’t have some societally relevant values, it’s a threat to your business continuity. Especially if you are a big tech company right now!

  • It's a clever headline, but as the story quotes from its public filing, ”Amazon.com strives to offer its customers compelling value through innovative use of technology, broad selection, high-quality content, a high level of customer service, competitive pricing and personalized services." This is what

    It's a clever headline, but as the story quotes from its public filing, ”Amazon.com strives to offer its customers compelling value through innovative use of technology, broad selection, high-quality content, a high level of customer service, competitive pricing and personalized services." This is what it stands for; where there is a product, whether it was at first books and now streaming media, it continues to attempt to offer value for the customer. This is not nothing, this is something and Bezos' team have always understood that the Amazon platform's purpose is to facilitate transactions which benefit the consumer; it's not the pregnant Swiss Army knife that Facebook has become, bloated with tools people seldom use, nor is it as cold and engineer focused as Google products. That's really something.

  • Now that Bezos’ private texts were allegedly hacked, perhaps Amazon will want to stand for privacy.

    But to say that Amazon stands for nothing makes no sense: it stands for consumerism, materialism, and more.” By monetizing your browsing data, it commoditizes its users, and it’s a military-defense contractor

    Now that Bezos’ private texts were allegedly hacked, perhaps Amazon will want to stand for privacy.

    But to say that Amazon stands for nothing makes no sense: it stands for consumerism, materialism, and more.” By monetizing your browsing data, it commoditizes its users, and it’s a military-defense contractor and part of what Eisenhauer famously described as the “military industrial complex.” When he announced his private charter school, Bezos said children were our most important commodity. And when he says everyday at Amazon is “day 1,” he’s literally quoting Pol Pot and the teachings of the re-education camps of Cambodia, as seen in the film “The Killing Fields.” In a nutshell, Amazon stands for “more.” By contrast, Marie Kondo stands for less.

  • Amazon and Walmart are virtually the same company, yet everyone loves Amazon and loves to hate Walmart.

    Amazon is great at controlling its narrative. People are hooked on their products. It’s the kind of addiction that Facebook is grasping their straws at. Turns out convenience is more addicting and

    Amazon and Walmart are virtually the same company, yet everyone loves Amazon and loves to hate Walmart.

    Amazon is great at controlling its narrative. People are hooked on their products. It’s the kind of addiction that Facebook is grasping their straws at. Turns out convenience is more addicting and profitable than slot machines!

  • Amazon is customer obsessed.

    It bends over backwards to give us what we want from ‘A to Z’.

    Nothing is paternalistic, “for our good”, which is why we appreciate it.

  • You want to see just how ingrained Amazon is in your life? How much time savings is involved in EVERYTHING you do EVERYDAY? Spend three months in a third-world country like the Philippines, where you spend hours every day standing in lines and waiting for everything you need. You too will wish to be

    You want to see just how ingrained Amazon is in your life? How much time savings is involved in EVERYTHING you do EVERYDAY? Spend three months in a third-world country like the Philippines, where you spend hours every day standing in lines and waiting for everything you need. You too will wish to be transported 30 years into the future, when Amazon will finally work here like it does in the west.

  • Honestly, it’s rather refreshing. One doesn’t always need an explicit self-righteous cause or pre-ordained purpose to do good business, or serve its customers well.

    It’s also one less thing to answer for later, when it’s invariably broken. Surely the “don’t be evil” shtick has been a long term hindrance for Google.

  • There is a time, place, and context to stand for something in business. And it seems there isn’t a one size fits all approach. So much depends on what your platform does, who it’s intended to serve, and what it’s measure of success is.

    I wrote more about this on Twitter, but companies who build for

    There is a time, place, and context to stand for something in business. And it seems there isn’t a one size fits all approach. So much depends on what your platform does, who it’s intended to serve, and what it’s measure of success is.

    I wrote more about this on Twitter, but companies who build for the mass distribution of speech, money, and/or delivery of goods should be cautious of a negative corporate activism. Leave the “anti-xyz” posturing to executive personas, not corporate policy.

  • “We feel really great and really strongly about the value that Amazon Rekognition is providing our customers of all sizes and all types of industries in law enforcement and out of law enforcement.”

  • Coming from a commercial finance background of floorplanning

  • Making money. Selling things quickly. Being a helpful addition to people’s homes.

  • Amazon has the most viable business model in almost every industry they are involved in.

    They are the indisputable leader in online shopping and always the first site most shoppers go to.

    What's amazing is their Amazon Prime model which provides a range of benefits across shipping, music and video

    Amazon has the most viable business model in almost every industry they are involved in.

    They are the indisputable leader in online shopping and always the first site most shoppers go to.

    What's amazing is their Amazon Prime model which provides a range of benefits across shipping, music and video streaming. This makes their video streaming potentially the most commercially sustainable, even more so than the more dominant Netflix, in the longer term.

    The only dark cloud is if there might be future disruptions as a result of the Bezos divorce proceedings.

  • Great read! Very interesting way of portraying the methods used by Amazon. They wish to be more than a medium of exchange; they aspire to control every aspect of one’s life with regards to their economic impact within society.

  • Value can be defined in many ways.

    There are opportunity spaces to provide consumers with the means to increase their perceived value exchange by offsetting their footprint costs created in the wake of providing products so tantalizingly cost effective. Eco-Prime anyone?