Cyberspace is filled with information.
The great thing about owning information is you can sell it. Unlike a car, after you sell information you still have the information — plus you have more information about the people who bought it from you, so you have more information to sell and so on. I think Bill Gates picked the right area to get into.
(I gleaned the above in an article by Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern business theory.) He said his old business concepts don’t seem to work anymore.
So he rewrote them. Good for him.
And then he died at 95.
He helped create a world of MBAs out of Harvard. Now they will have to go back to school to figure out what’s what. Good for them. It might keep them out of our hair. Good for us.
Recently Wal-Mart sued Amazon.com over trade secrets. Amazon sells mostly books on the Internet. Amazon is valued at zillions on the New York Stock Exchange. So far the cyberspace company has not made a profit.
A few years ago, Amazon did not exist except in South America where it was the longest river in the world. Now it’s a river of information in cyberspace.
Wal-Mart, a hugely successful retailing chain, ruins local mom and pop stores by underselling them, then when they are gone, Wal-mart kicks up the prices. This destroys communities. I bet a lot of MBAs from Harvard are behind Wal-Mart’s predatory retailing.
I’m glad they have to go back to school now. I hope they learn something about ethics the second time around.
Getting back to the lawsuit. It seems Amazon hired some Wal-Mart employees who understood one aspect of Wal-Mart’s technology.
This technology analyzes products customers buy in certain combinations. For example you might buy a snowplow and a box of chocolates. From this, I suppose, the rocket scientists at Wal-Mart would determine you ate candy while plowing snow. They could use this knowledge to perhaps build a snowplow that had a candy dispenser built into it.
Wal-Mart fears that Amazon because of its success with books, could succeed in other areas of on-line retailing.
I think Amazon will succeed. Here’s a news flash for Wal-Mart. Live with it.
Wal-Mart is already in almost every area of retailing.
It mostly sells a lot of cheap products for the cheapest price. And do you know how they get those cheap products? By predatory buying practices. If you want to sell stuff to Wal-Mart you have to supply it real cheap.
Usually the only way to get products really cheap is to buy them in a third world country. This means local manufacturers are squeezed out of business.
I suggest that Wal-Mart use its own technology to find out what customers really want.
What customers want is to be part of a decent community.
That’s why people get married, have families and live in houses, in tents or even under leaves. People want to have enough to live happily with their families in their communities.
If Wal-Mart wants to do something with all the money it makes, why doesn’t it figure out how to incorporate their huge stores to involve and nurture local merchants and local manufacturers? This would result in a win-win situation for the community and the giant retailer.
Instead of trying to hinder competition from people such as Amazon, why doesn’t Wal-Mart embrace Amazon’s philosophy?
And what is that philosophy? A major aspect of the Amazon philosophy is to allow anyone, anywhere to sell his or her books at a reasonable price to the whole world. It’s about spreading information and sharing the profits with the people who create the information.
By the way, Wal-Mart, here’s a final question to pose to your technology analyzer: If you keep destroying communities who’s left to buy your stuff?
The above was written years ago. Here is how things are shaping up:
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