Monday, December 02, 2013
Amazon is working on delivering packages by drone Octocopters. Jeff Bezos unveiled the machines on 60 Minutes last night, but was careful to say it might take five years for the service to start and deliveries would be limited to a 10-mile radius of its distribution centers. In other words, there is as much hype in the revelation as innovation because a large percentage of Amazon's customers live beyond the delivery distance. Still, the publicity highlights the company's commitment to innovation that has changed the way the world shops. Retailing history will be pre-Amazon and post-Amazon. Bezos merits the gentle treatment that 60 Minutes gave him with mostly "puffball" questions that Bezos answered well. Bezos made clear that companies come and go in time and his objective in thinking long-term -- five to seven years out -- was to ensure that Amazon remained competitive. He had no apologies for low return on investment to shareholders. The bulk of Amazon's earnings go back into growing the company and R&D. He made clear that Amazon remained customer-centric in everything it does, and other inside stories about Amazon emphasize that customers are his focus. So, Octocopters are hype. The company can get away with it for the good it has done.