Community, Industry Research, Technology Platforms

Amazon new store: The Laboratory

As one of the guys who helped launch, I have been watching the opening of Amazon’s first brick and mortar store closely. I have been waiting years for the ironic moment to happen. I once ran into Jeff Bezos in an elevator and told him ‘I just joined Borders and we have been waiting to take you on.’ Jeff replied ‘And we have been waiting for you and who knows, we might just open a store.’

To be honest, I have learned a great deal about merchandising and business from Amazon. Probably the single most valuable lesson was ‘don’t be afraid to cannibalize your own business.. otherwise someone else will’, as Bezos described in the great book Everything Store.

Early reviews of the new store indicates that it has a nice atmosphere, has a good offering of Best Sellers, and that the store personal (some of whom are part-time self-employed holiday workers) often say ‘you can order it online.’ But what is really behind this new store. I am surprised that more journalists are not say ‘what’s the catch.’

And there is one. This new Amazon store is a laborary. It is another way for Bezos to get close to the customer. Just think the types of information they can capture:

  • They can test out their price matching app to see if it can keep up with store information real time
  • They can test out the GPS capability of their app (when it arrives) to test out On-Demand Curb Site Pick Up (like Curbside which lets customers buy products on a smartphone app then pick them up outside of Target stores.
  • They can see how well their online ratings system translates to the store because they don’t rotate books or use the New York Times Best Seller List to determine what to feature like other Bookstores do. Instead, the shop’s selection hinges on Amazon’s
    curation—books selected due to their own rating algorithms. Think about Amazon sharing this valuable info with other stores)
  • They can test out their ability to sell Hardware such as Amazon Echo.
  • They can stick their young associates in front of customers to get face-to-face training

So this might be one case where generating a profit will not matter. (Sounds like Amazon : ).

The company also plans a few other Bricks and Mortar experiments. It plans to be a true Miracle on 34th Street; and open store in New York City. Since Amazon hires tens of thousands of workers during the last quarter of each calendar year, I am sure some of the people behind the counter in Seattle and New York, will be seasonal temps and freelancers. Considering the company has received some negative press recently about how it treats it’s temporary workers, I wonder if how these experts will be treated. Unfortunately, they could be the perfect hire in such a grand experiment as the testing of a book retail store.

As always, I have my eye on Amazon and hope to learn from their experience.


Filld just raised $3.25 million to make sure you'll never have to pump your own gas again
Companies, Ondemand Platform, Technology Platforms

Filld: You’ll never have to pump your own gas again

On-Demand Start-Up:

Filld, a startup that delivers gas on-demand, day or night, has raised $3.25 million in seed funding in a bid to take on the gas station model…. CEO Aubuchon says the early adopters of the app have been drawn to the ability to have your tank filled overnight, and indeed this does seem convenient. Tap on the app, go to bed, and wake up with a full tank. You have just removed one annoying detail from your life.

Unlike one of its main competitors in the space, Purple, Filld’s trucks are certified to determine exactly how much gas you need. While Purple can only fill a set amount — let’s say 10 or 15 gallons at a time — Filld uses a similar pump to one you’d find at a gas station, which clicks when it’s done. All you have to do is tell Filld to fill it up.

After setting up your profile on Filld, the app is simple. You order the gas like you would order an , by placing a pin at the location, and one of Filld’s trucks comes and fills your tank. If you have a locking gas tank door, you have to leave it open a crack for them.



The Continuing Evolution of the On-Demand Economy
Companies, Services, Technology Platforms

The Continuing Evolution of the On-Demand Economy

The past few years have seen the rise of what’s been variously referred to as the on-demand, collaborative, sharing, or peer-to-peer economy. Regardless of what we call it, this trend has captured the public’s imagination. Articles on the subject now appear fairly frequently. Some of the articles are focused […]

Pickaxes And Shovels: 35 Startups Providing Infrastructure For The On-Demand Boom
Connecting talent, Finding Jobs, Services, Technology Platforms

Pickaxes And Shovels: 35 Startups Providing Infrastructure For The On-Demand Boom

On-demand economy startups have raised over $9.4B since 2010 to provide mobile-powered services across many categories, including food-delivery, shipping, and transportation.

But while consumer-facing startups like Uber and Shyp capture investor and media attention, another less glamorous subset of companies will provide the infrastructure and services to enable their services. In 2011, Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz wrote about the “shovels” opportunity that follows most major technology trends:

“For most technology trends, the number of successful companies created in gold mining and pickaxes are comparable, yet the gold mining businesses tend to get much more attention.”

Within the gold-rush world of on-demand, startups providing “pickaxes” are focusing on a few key categories:

  • Route / vehicle optimization & logistics: Companies helping on-demand startups and/or other firms to manage and analyze delivery operations, routes, and assets. This category includes firms like OnFleet, which manages delivery operations for on-demand startups such as Meadow and Boxbee; as well as Dispatch, which offers products and back-end feature sets to bring businesses into the on-demand economy.
  • Background checks: Startups in this category, like Checkr, are leveraging APIs to automate background checks, enabling a quicker screening process for on-demand workers.
  • On-boarding / 1099 economy: A host of companies are helping on-board, track and/or pay freelancers, contractors, and short-term rental hosts for the various on-demand platforms. These companies are working both with on-demand startups and directly with workers. Zen99, for example, provides tax and insurance forms, as well as health insurance, to independent contractors.
  • App promotion / deep links/indexing: Companies providing connections between apps to drive installs and app-to-app integration. Button, for example, powered a recent partnership allowing users to order an Uber directly from Foursquare‘s app.Looking for data on on-demand mobile services? Check out the CB Insights Venture Capital Database free below.Pickaxes And Shovels: 35 Startups Providing Infrastructure For The On-Demand Boom


Connecting talent, Finding Jobs, Freelancers, Ondemand Platform, Services, Technology Platforms, Uber

How Digital Platforms Like LinkedIn, Uber And TaskRabbit Are Changing The On-Demand Economy

We’ve been inundated with stories about how advances in technology will change employment — from the rise of the “on-demand economy” to the effect of artificial intelligence and automation on jobs. A June report from the McKinsey Global Institute, however, makes a strong case that one particular application of technology is not only having a healthy effect on jobs and productivity, but could also add $2.7 trillion to global gross domestic product in the next decade.

– Huffington Post

Editors Note: There’s an opportunity to have commerce platforms that match freelancers with customers, such as Uber.


We’ve been inundated with stories about how advances in technology will change employment — from the rise of the

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