R&D and Amazon's Digital Services Strategy
Anyone who has seen presentation of mine recently has seen me talk about "R&D". It is not
research and development" as you may initially think. It is "rip-off and duplicate". I actually ripped this off from Cameron Herold, the former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, and the founder of BackPocket COO. The concept is when you are struggling with a strategic decision in a changing market it is easy to feel alone. That is because you are sitting in your conference room thinking that the challenges your company or your industry are facing are unique and novel. The concept of "R&D" is to look at other industries and how they dealt with the same or similar challenges. Try to figure out what worked and what didn't. What is different and what is similar about your business or your industry? How can you learn from their mistakes and replicate their success?
Along these lines I believe it a company to watch is Amazon.com. They started in the business of distributing hardcopy content - books. They are now seeing the business of distributing digital content grow. A couple days ago they launched the Amazon Kindle DX. A larger version of their eBook reader. I have a kindle and it is great. I read most of my content on line, on my iPhone, or I listen to eBooks (via Amazon's Audible.com) service on my iPhone. I am buying more content now, and I am not buying many books. Because it is digital and more portible I am finding better and more convenient ways of experiencing the content. I suspect my children will buy even fewer books, if any at all. I read an article recently that said the next market that Amazon is going after with their Kindle product line is education. Instead of buying paper books every year you can buy them or rent them for use on your Kindle. Pretty smart!
As the Kindle gets bigger could you view construction plans on it? How will your business fit into this model? Have you embraced digital services enough to make a profit in this model? Do your customers see you as the company to go to for this type of service?