The Future is an On-Demand World
On the list of entrepreneurs who have built up a great track record of envisioning the digital future (e.g., Jeff Bezos, etc.) I think you’d have to include Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings. That’s why it was great reading Om Malik’s recent post about his interview with Reed about just that future. In short, the future is more on-demand services than ever.
Om starts the post talking about Netflix’s impressive subscriber growth from 14 million to 22 million in the last year. He goes on to mention the company’s focus on big data in order to improve user interaction.
Hastings believes that the broadband era of the Internet has just begun and that experiments such as the 1Gbps Google Access Fiber project in Kansas will be a great showcase of what will be possible in the future. He also likes the way countries such as Australia, Brazil and Costa Rica have made fiber broadband to the home a top priority.
Finally, he said that, in about 10 years, the predominant way to watch video will be on-demand. I think that time is actually already here for today’s youth, many of who don’t have the patience to wait to see what broadcast television decides to transmit. He gave an interesting vision of television and televisions sets comparable to the current state of smart mobile phone platforms such as the iphone.
It’s always interesting to gaze into the future, but it’s important for me to remind myself that more times than not, these visions turn out to be wrong. Indeed, there are really tough issues in terms of economic stability, scarcer natural resources and others that are clouds on the horizon.
Nevertheless, it’s definitely my view that we are much more at the beginning of a deep transformation of the way business is transacted and the way society interacts with each other. That makes for many challenges, but also much opportunity for creating new, viable “digitally enhanced” business models and that’s one of the reasons we’re so passionate about this environment and excited about its possibilities.
Amazon's Push For Same-Day Delivery
One of the major advantages Amazon has had over brick-and-mortar stores has been the lack of a sales tax. One of the disadvantages has been the lack of immediate gratification by consumers purchasing items. You buy something, you want to use it immediately. Recently, Amazon has stopped fighting the sales-tax war, which seems like a curious move to give up such a huge advantage over places like Walmart and Best Buy.
Slate’s Farhad Manjoo argues that by giving up the sales tax fight, Amazon is pushing ahead with another disruptive plan: same-day delivery that will all but destroy local retail.
Now that Amazon collects state sales tax, it can legally set up distribution centers within those states. So, instead of having to ship items to NYC from Kentucky or wherever, it can establish a myriad of warehouses across the country to ship ordered good within hours of the purchase time. Manjoo theorizes that next-day delivery will eventually become the default and same-day delivery will be a cheap upgrade or included in its Amazon Prime service.
If that happens it could be game over for many big box stores.