Editor's note: Amazon launched the voice control audio Echo became the hottest products this season. Amazon said nothing about sales, but the media said Echo's sales during the Christmas period is 9 times the same period last year.
Recently, Amazon released new products quickly dominated in the field. Amazon released the e-book Kindle many years ago and become the leader in the field. At the same time, Amazon also has its own place in the cloud computing market. AWS (Amazon Web Service) is expected to yield 12 billion US dollars.
In 2017, Amazon hopes to go online Amazon Go, look forward to in the physical sales field show director. Amazon Go is a convenience store without a checkout, which will revolutionize retailing.
In short, Amazon has shown itself in different areas, different product types can achieve success. In contrast, most other giants are only in a field of shine, such as Google in the field of online services dominance, Apple in the hardware field benefit. When demand increases forcing them to leave their core areas of competition, their situation is not optimistic.
"Big companies have the opportunity to innovate," says Eric Ries, writer and startup trainer. "But there are very few big companies that can innovate." Amazon is one of them. & Rdquo;
Amazon has succeeded in combining the corporate culture of small businesses with the economic resources of large enterprises, which makes it possible for Amazon to solve problems that many companies can not solve.
Many companies are struggling outside their core competencies
In the first decade of the 21st century, Google released (or acquired) a range of fire-fighting products, including Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, YouTube Android and Chrome. These products have in common, they are and Google's search engine is similar, are online services. There are two exceptions - mdash; Android and Chrome, two is to facilitate people to use Google's online service equipment.
Over the next decade, Google's ambition to invest in a series of "lunar landing program", hoping to solve major scientific and technological problems. This is far from the company's original focus - & mdash; online services. Of course, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin think this task is too important, so they reorganized Google, created a new parent company called Alphabet, which can be more "lunar project" to provide Protective umbrella.
But so far, Google's efforts in this area have little effect. Google in the Google Glass project fell a big somersault. Google has been developing unmanned technology for the past six years but has not yet released commercial products. Google acquired Nest in 2014, and Nest has been struggling to expand beyond the smart temperature control market. Google in 2014 also acquired a series of robot start-up companies, but has not planned how to make good use of these companies, and eventually one of the listed for sale.
One of the problems is that Page and Google are too obsessed with solving difficult technical problems. The development of new smart glasses computing platform is a difficult and interesting scientific and technological challenges, but they did not think that this problem can create a viable product.
Google's most promising "lunar landing program" project is its autopilot project, they are in this area is seen as a leader. But the senior engineer involved in the project has been impatient for the company to delay the product into the market. Google's group of engineers left Google to create Otto, an automated trucking company. Otto was acquired by Uber in 2016. Chrits Urmson, head of the Google autopilot project, recently left Google to create his own autopilot startup.
The same is true of robotics, which is an important area of computational science. But Google does not seem to have a clear plan for a lot of robot start-ups. Google's approach seems to be the first acquisition of the best, and then think about how to use them to profit.
Of course, one of Google's autopilot project or the other "lunar landing program" can create a commercial success that can make up for all other failures. However, for now, Google's efforts in the field of non-online services are not bear fruit.
Amazon - & mdash; mdash; focus on user needs
Google first solve the big problem and then seek business interests model is rooted in Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin engineer background. But Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, worked for nearly a decade on Wall Street before creating Amazon, a background that made him more pragmatic and focused on developing products that consumers would actually buy.
Bezos is committed to creating an experimentally friendly atmosphere in the Amazon.
"I know an example of this is an Amazon engineer, said," I see an idea in a blog, I think we can try ", Eric Ries said:" Then, this name The engineer was called to the Executive Committee, Jeff Bezos on the spot to make a decision. & Rdquo;
Ries said that the important reason for this success is that these experiments are starting small, longer than time. In an ordinary company, when the CEO to support an idea, the idea will become the focus of the whole company, doing so will waste a lot of resources in a pile of useless ideas. But Amazon's approach is different, Amazon set up a small team, the team to carry out experiments and explore the feasibility of ideas. Bezos because "two pizza team" and famous, the so-called "two pizza team" means that the team should be small enough, two pizza enough team points.
Ries said the new team at Amazon was financially limited and had clear goals. If a small team succeeds in solving a small problem, they will have more resources to solve the larger challenge.
But Amazon will not spend too much time on the internal testing. They will "early release" as the first element, an engineer in 2011 in a comparison of Amazon and other technology in the corporate culture of the article wrote. "Early Release" or Ries said "the minimum viability of the product" enables Amazon to detect a sound-like idea in the shortest time possible in terms of practical feasibility.
Of course, this approach is not leakproof. Amazon also had a lot of failures, such as their smart phone failed. But Amazon's "early release" strategy and good after-sales tracking to enable Amazon to avoid unnecessary waste in the market of products too much time.
Amazon Go, its latest convenience store concept, seems to have adopted this strategy. In fact, this technology can be used in many types of physical stores, but Amazon's initial goal is simple: simple and relatively small convenience store. Media reports show that Amazon plans to open 2,000 retail stores, but the Amazon official denied this claim. After all, Amazon is currently not even a shop to open, not to mention the 2000 home. Amazon will be the first pilot, if the first successful future there will be more homes.
Why rich in resources but can not engage in innovation?
In a nutshell, Amazon's approach is to minimize bureaucracy and start small experiments. If successful, then do big & mdash; sounds good, but in fact it can be said to be almost cliche. But even cliché, many big companies, especially when entering new markets, do not do this well.
The corporate culture and processes of large companies are optimized for their previously successful markets. The company will tend to establish a unified company-wide standards. The summer of 2010 When I was an intern at Google, I spent most of my time learning how to use the company's powerful software. This is fine if you're developing an online service like Gmail, but it's a stumbling block if you're developing products that are completely different from search engines.
Apple has such a mistake. Apple is known for its elegant user interaction, which also shows that Apple's entire development cycle is based on the designer as the core rather than engineers or project managers as the core. Doing so can develop products that users like, such as the iPhone or Apple Watch, but do not apply to other product categories. Apple's iCloud service (.Mac and MobileMe update products) hard to survive for many years.
Looking back at Amazon, Jeff Bezos was obsessed with teamwork. "In the Amazon, what technology is not important," a former Amazon engineer in 2011, wrote. Bezos is very clear against Google or Apple and other companies using standardized measures, he encouraged the team to operate independently and can use any technology can be used.
Bezos strives to make Amazon a modular and flexible organization, where it minimizes company-level policies. This makes the Amazon's internal cultural chaos and Balkanization. In the Amazon, a project engineer is not as easy as Google or Apple to jump to another project. The team due to the different cultures of the friction caused by many people think that a lot of pressure in the Amazon work.
But chaotic corporate culture can drive innovation. A new team can use whatever tools and procedures they feel best without having to be bound and stressed by corporate standards.
Amazon for the next 10 years of innovation to find their way
Amazon's more far-reaching significance of this approach is that large companies can learn to imitate the advantages of start-up companies.
Amazon Go is a great example. It's hard to imagine a small start-up that can do that. Amazon Go behind the technology used, such as the use of cameras and other sensors to track every step of consumers, real-time detection of consumer products removed from the shelves of this action, these are very sophisticated and accurate computer science, its development The cost will reach millions of dollars. In order to recover this part of the investment, Amazon needs to spend more time and money in their do not know whether the areas of income to open retail stores. This money and the time required is generally not start-up companies.
In the 90s of last century to the first decade of this century, the web is the forefront of high-tech. The challenge of making a website user from a few hundred to a few million is a huge challenge, but it does not require a large team or a lot of physical infrastructure. This is why Google and Facebook can be made from today's unicorn enterprise.
However, the next generation of innovation seems to be closer to the real world of physics and traditional industries: shared apartments, autopilot, retail industry, health care innovation, and so on.
Google, Uber, Tesla and other traditional carmakers are developing autopilot technology. To be successful in this area, companies must combine software, hardware, sophisticated maps, and strategies to address a variety of legal requirements that an independent start-up can not.
Both Amazon and Google are developing UAV shipments, which also include hardware, software and legal challenges. The two companies have the economic, technological and lobbying resources can make them in this market opportunities.
Another way for big companies to solve complex problems is to acquire them early in the startup. This can combine the innovation of start-up companies with the resources of large companies. Otto, the autopilot trucking company, was acquired by Uber less than a year ago. In March, GM spent $ 1 billion acquisition of the autopilot startup Cruise.
But for Google and Uber, the cost of maintaining a lead through acquisitions is huge. In many cases, this will not even have any good results. Google spent $ 2 billion acquisition of Nest, which should promote the growth of the company, but the company is struggling in the Alphabet's.
Such a contrast to find out how the Amazon from the internal incubator business project is successful and meaningful. Amazon does not need to rely too much on high-risk, high-cost acquisitions, because they can incubate their own business projects. As technology more and more immersed into the real world, Amazon's own enterprise projects will get more opportunities.
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