Amazon—Juggernaut? You Decide

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Amazon almost indisputably distinguishes itself as a technology titan revolutionizing internet-based service infrastructure.

With its cloud-computing business which other companies rent for server space, the global dynasty reportedly ranks top ten for its 2015 stock market value rankings. Amazon also presumably doubled retail sales of Walmart, and according to the New York Times, even exceeds General Electric in stock market value rankings.

JuggernautsThe New York Times partially accredits Amazon’s apparent unprecedented success as an innovator to CEO Jeff Bezos, allegedly for his methodical “patience” over “two decades.”

With patience as perhaps the missing, differentiating ingredient among competitors, Amazon’s cumulative multi-billion dollar investments consequently culminated in construction of “more than 100 warehouses.”

But Amazon’s Bezos assumes every measure possible to generate customer value.[i] His philosophy: “237 million stores should accommodate 237 million customers.” [ii] Bezos’ assumed attitude of customer value, namely, as he himself asserts about people not simply, “buying Amazon devices, but using them,” appears to reinforce this conclusion. [iii] Bezos’ ostensible patience also extends to supposedly, “Bezos and every Amazon employee spending two days annually answering customer service phone calls.” [iv]

By emphasizing customer-service, Amazon putatively places first in “customer service quality,” even outranking notoriously “world class customer service” institutions as the Ritz Carlton & Lexus. [v]

However, while media sources purport controversy concerning Amazon’s work culture, the New York Times wrongly assumes Amazon discourages rather than perhaps inspiring competitors by mischaracterizing it as a “retail juggernaut.” [vi] The Times not only wrongly depicts Amazon’s prominence as “engendering fear of economic totalitarianism,” but fails to substantiate its exaggerated contention about “other retailers catching up anytime soon.”
Therefore, this article commits the following unwarranted assumptions:

  • Even if representative, the assertion furnishes no factual support for its contention about intractable competition.
  • First, the scant, unrepresentative sample of several market analysts surveyed fails to accurately assess prevailing expert opinion among venture capitalists at large;
  • Assumes without warrant the accuracy of one stock market analysts’ tendentious opinion about others presumably unable to compete with “Amazon’s insurmountable infrastructure,” as authoritative.
  • Moreover, what constitutes a reasonable concern?
  • Hence, the contention mistakes a sufficient and necessary condition because, such fears, if true, may not represent reasonable concerns.
  • Even if Amazon actually “engendered such fear,” this unsupported inference overlooks the assumption of fears not constituting a “reasonable concern.”
  • Adopts the conclusion it attempts to prove without evidentiary support, inferring such “fears” constitute reasonable concerns.
  • Fails to support its conclusory assertion that Amazon incites “fears of economic and cultural totalitarianism;
  • Neglects the assumption that Amazon’s “rise” might not engender fears;
  • The contention about e-commerce “waning” supposedly because “Bezos already won,” also lacks evidence.
  • This assertion also assumes without warrant the inexistence of subsequent innovative alternatives, or future opportunities for internet exploration in e-commerce.
  • This unwarranted assumption also assumes one CEO’s alleged conquest in an industry precludes another company from possibly equally excelling, if not surpassing Amazon’s e-commerce capabilities.

Labelling Amazon a “retail juggernaut” without even defining “juggernaut.” Merriam Webster defines “juggernaut” almost verbatim as any “massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, and/or object,” that “crushes anything in its path.”
If taken literally, this mislabel neglects the following assumptions:

  • First, Amazon, hardly constitutes an “indomitable” or “inexorable force,” which assumes invincibility, disregarding potential internal weaknesses and external threats (SWOT), that may alter Amazon’s competitiveness. Portraying Amazon as some “inexorable force” with the moniker “juggernaut,” capitulates rather than “resists marveling” at an arguably extraordinary, albeit, imperfect human creation. After all, the Times concedes that it took years of Amazon’s negative earnings before Amazon’s skyrocketing retail sales. Moreover, questions exist as to Amazon’s employee culture/citizenship behavior.
  • Assuming Amazon doubled Walmart’s retail sales, Walmart’s allegedly present struggles matching Amazon in 2015 fails to necessarily portend continued struggles matching Amazon for Walmart or any other company.
  1. The imagery of Amazon “crushing everything in its path,” evoked if literally interpreted as a “juggernaut,” neglects Amazon’s ability too to empower rather than destroy. Why “fear” when competitors might attempt to emulate Amazon, while simultaneously considering innovative alternatives to differentiate and diversify products/services?
  2. This article appears to espouse such a literal interpretation of juggernaut as inferred from its aforementioned contention about, “engendering fear about economic and cultural totalitarianism.” The word totalitarianism implies competitors subjugated to Amazon’s absolute control.
  3. Even if Amazon dominates now, such domination fails to assume indomitable, which, here, denotes an incapability of competitors possibly dominating. But we live in a finite world where almost anything material tends to expire, end, or become superseded by another. Even if Amazon defied common sense, and conceivably (though extremely implausibly), established some indefinite reign in the technology industry, to infer such a result disregards other possible outcomes. Thus, the 2020 prediction by some experts that “50% of American households will become prime members,” lacks merit because it assumes omniscience, eliminating other possibilities.

Conclusion:
Therefore, this article remains vulnerable to criticism because it assumes without warrant that Amazon’s innovations at expanding distribution centers renders competition intractable in the technology industry. But this exaggerated contention neglects the assumption that competitors may eventually implement technological advances to supersede Amazon in retail sales. Perhaps with the same pertinacious persistence, patience, and punctilious precision, competitors may contemplate more novel methods than Bezos. Perseverance remains key.

[i] See Jason A. Colquitt, Jeffery A. LePine, Michael J. Wesson, “Organizational Behavior—Improving Performance and Commitment in the Workplace,” 4th Edition, 2015, p. 245.
[ii] See Gary Armstrong, Philip Kotler, “Principles of Marketing, sixteenth edition,” 2016, 2014, 2012, Pearson Education, Inc., p. 2-3.
[iii] Karis Hustad, “Kindle Fire HDX Keeps Amazon’s Low Price, Adds Extra Features,” Christian Science Monitor, September 26, 2013, www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/2013/0926/Kindle-Fire-HDX-keeps-Amazon-s-low-price-adds-extra-features.

[iv] Green, H. “How Amazon Aims to Keep You Clicking.” Business-Week, March 2, 2009, pp.34-40.
[v] McGregor, J. “Behind the List.” BusinessWeek, March 2, 2009, p. 32.
[vi] Ryan Scott, “What Amazon’s Culture Tells About Employee Disengagement,” Forbes, August 21, 2015, p.1 http://www.forbes.com/sites/causeintegration/2015/08/21/what-amazons-work-culture-tells-us-about-employee-disengagement/

1 Comment
  1. Michael W Staib says

    Thank you, always, dearest Angie, for publishing my writings! Michael

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