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jerryking : nicholas_carr   12

Amazon’s Next Big Move: Take Over the Mall
November 14, 2016 | Technology Review | by Nicholas Carr .

What’s Amazon doing with Amazon Books?...Wall Street analysts and tech writers have filled the void with conjecture. The stores are all about selling gadgets, goes one popular idea, with the books there just to lure customers. The stores are data-gathering machines, goes another, enabling Amazon to extend its tracking of customers into the physical world. Or maybe the company’s secret plan is to use the stores to promote its cloud computing operation, Amazon Web Services, to other retailers....The theories are intriguing, and they may contain bits of truth. But the real impetus behind the stores is probably much simpler: Amazon wants to sell more books....Not long ago, the common wisdom held that Amazon would remake the book business in its own image. Its Web store would kill off bookstores, and its Kindle would render physical books obsolete. ...
“Pure-play Web retailing is not sustainable.”Bezos underestimated the allure of bricks and paper. With his bookstore chain, he now seems to be admitting that if Amazon is to expand its share of the book market, it will need to invest in bricks as well as bits....Having come up short in its plan to supplant books and bookstores with digital alternatives, the company is taking its revenge by attacking traditional bookshops on their own turf. Unlike the mom-and-pop independents, or even the struggling Barnes & Noble chain, Amazon has the scale and the cash required to wage a war of attrition. It can sustain losses on its stores for a long time.....Amazon Books may be just the vanguard of a much broader push into brick-and-mortar retailing by the company. In October, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Amazon is planning to open a chain of convenience stores, mainly for groceries, along with drive-in depots where consumers will be able to pick up merchandise ordered online. It has also begun rolling out small “pop-up” stores to hawk its electronic devices. It already has more than two dozen such kiosks in malls around the country, and dozens more are said to be in the works.

Even after 20 years of rapid growth, e-commerce still accounts for less than 10 percent of total retail sales. And now the rise of mobile computing places new constraints on Web stores.At the same time, the smartphone, with its apps, its messaging platforms, and its constant connectivity, gives retailers more ways to communicate with and influence customers, even when they’re shopping in stores. This is why the big trend in retailing today is toward “omnichannel” strategies, which blend physical stores, Web stores, and mobile apps in a way that makes the most of the convenience of smartphones and overcomes their limitations.....Beyond its expertise in Web sales, Amazon brings distinctive strengths to an omnichannel operation. Its vast, efficient network of warehouses and distribution centers can supply outlets and process returns. It has, thanks to the largesse and patience of its investors, a reservoir of cheap capital that it can draw on to fund a building spree. And it has a much-admired brand. What Amazon lacks is experience in the touchy-feely world of traditional retailing (e.g. merchandising??). The company’s proficiency in software and data crunching is unquestioned. Its people skills are another matter..... another of the store’s goals: to promote the Prime program, which is central to Amazon’s strategy of locking in customers....I feel let down. I had convinced myself that I was going to witness something fresh and unexpected at Amazon Books. What I found was an annex to a website—a store that, despite the bricks and paper, retains the coldness of the virtual.
e-commerce  shopping_malls  Amazon  Amazon_Prime  books  sterile  soulless  Nicholas_Carr  Amazon_Books  bricks-and-mortar  Jeff_Bezos  pure-plays  bookstores  omnichannel  strengths  smartphones  mobile_applications  loyalty_management  impersonal  people_skills  Achilles’_heel  weaknesses  convenience_stores  pop-ups  kiosks  voids  merchandising  AWS  physical_world  mom-and-pop  coldness  touchy-feely  cyberphysical  emotional_connections  empathy_vacuum  Amazon_Go  cashierless  locked_in  distribution_centres 
february 2017 by jerryking
Top-Down Disruption
May 23, 2005 | Strategy + Business | by Nicholas G. Carr.
As Clayton Christensen warns, look out for the underdog — but also beware the leader of the pack.

A single-minded focus on bottom-up disruptions, the model is also potentially dangerous. It may lead managers to overlook a very different sort of disruption — one that emerges not at the bottom of the market but at the top.

In stark contrast to the bottom-up variety, top-down disruptive innovations actually outperform existing products when they’re introduced, and they sell for a premium price rather than at a discount. They’re initially purchased by the most discriminating and least price-sensitive buyers, and then they move steadily downward, into the mainstream, to recast the entire market in their own image. A top-down disruption is as revolutionary as a bottom-up one. But the good news for incumbents is that they have a much better chance of surviving, or even spearheading, the former than the latter.
Nicholas_Carr  Clayton_Christensen  outperformance  disruption  innovation  large_companies  top-down  bottom-up  dangers  dual-consciousness  overlooked  single-minded_focus 
july 2012 by jerryking
The Weakest Link
November 30, 2006 |Strategy + Business | by Nicholas G. Carr.

A product’s vulnerabilities can point the way to lucrative new business opportunities.

As John Campbell pointed out in a 1996 article in the journal of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the landing gear of the early 1930s, before the O-ring was introduced, is an example of a “reverse salient.” That odd term has its origins in descriptions of warfare, where it refers to a section of an advancing military force that has fallen behind the rest of the front. This section is typically the point of weakness in an attack, the lagging element that prevents the rest of the force from accomplishing its mission. Until the reverse salient is corrected, an army’s progress comes to a halt.

Historian Thomas P. Hughes was the first to apply the term to the realm of technological innovation. As described in his book Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), a reverse salient often forms as a complex technological system advances: “As the system evolves toward a goal, some components fall behind or out of line. As a result of the reverse salient, growth of the entire enterprise is hampered, or thwarted, and thus remedial action is required.” In technological advance as in warfare, the reverse salient is the weak link that impedes progress.
Nicholas_Carr  problem_solving  unintended_consequences  shortcomings  limitations  vulnerabilities  revenge_effects  new_businesses  weak_links 
july 2012 by jerryking
Why Modern Innovation Traffics in Trifles
July 6, 2012| WSJ | By NICHOLAS CARR.
Why Our Innovators Traffic in Trifles
An app for making vintage photos isn't exactly a moonshot. Are we too obsessed with 'tools of the self'?

What's behind innovation's turn toward the trifling? Declinists point to several possible culprits: America's schools are broken, investors and executives have become shortsighted, taxes are too high (sapping the entrepreneurial spirit), taxes are too low (preventing the government from funding basic research). Or maybe America has just lost its mojo.

But none of these explanations is particularly compelling. In all sorts of ways, the conditions for ingenuity and enterprise have never been better, and more patents were granted last year than ever before in American history. In the past few years, companies have decoded the human genome, shrunk multipurpose computers to the size of sardine tins and built cars that can drive themselves. The Internet itself, a global computer network of mind-blowing speed, size and utility, testifies to the ability of today's engineers to perform miracles....... What we are seeing is not a slowdown in the pace of innovation but a shift in its focus. Americans are as creative as ever, but today's buzz and big-money speculation are devoted to smaller-scale, less far-reaching, less conspicuous advances. We are getting precisely the kind of innovation that we desire—and deserve..........Knowing that the cause of our innovators' faltering ambitions lies in our own nature does not make it any less of a concern. But it does suggest that, if we want to see a resurgence in big thinking and grand invention, if we want to promote breakthroughs that will improve not only our own lives but those of our grandchildren, we need to enlarge our aspirations. We need to look outward again. If our own dreams are small and self-centered, we can hardly blame inventors for producing trifles.
America_in_Decline?  breakthroughs  Facebook  incrementalism  ingenuity  innovation  Instagram  Mark_Zuckerberg  moonshots  Nicholas_Carr  short-sightedness  thinking_big 
july 2012 by jerryking
Starting Up in High Gear
July-August 2000 | HBR |An Interview with Vinod Khosla by David Champion and Nicholas G. Carr.

To create the kind of new wealth you’re talking about, we’re going to have to see massive investments in information technology. Where’s the money going to come from?

It’s going to come out of corporate budgets. Companies invest wherever they’re going to get the biggest returns, and right now that’s IT. Look at the trend in capital expenditures. Twenty years ago, information technology accounted for about 10% of capital expenditures in the United States. ...
Today, if you have a plan for a new business, you circulate it in the venture community and you get funded in a week. What you don’t get is an honest, painstaking critique. What are the downsides in your plan? What are the shortcomings? What are the weak links? The strengths of your idea get a lot of attention, but the weaknesses get ignored—and ultimately it’s the weaknesses of your plan that will kill you. A start-up is only as strong as its weakest link....
The first thing we focused on was getting the right set of people for the company—the right gene pool. We started out on the technical end. Pradeep had helped architect the Ultrasparc processor at Sun, so he had strong skills in building technical architectures and could apply those skills to routers. But he needed somebody with experience in building and operating an IP network, and he needed somebody who’d done operating systems software for routers and somebody who’d done protocols for routers. So we drew out a map that said, “Here are the ten different areas of expertise we need.” Then we made a list of the companies doing the best work in each area, and we listed the five people in each company who would make good targets. We went after those people, and piece by piece we assembled a multidisciplinary team that could make Juniper a leader.
IT  interviews  HBR  Kleiner_Perkins  start_ups  large_companies  management_consulting  Vinod_Khosla  executive_search  shortcomings  weaknesses  new_businesses  CAPEX  weak_links  Nicholas_Carr  talent_acquisition  gene_pool  expertise  team_risk  wealth_creation  cross-pollination  interdisciplinary  teams  protocols 
june 2012 by jerryking
Nicholas Carr on E-Books - WSJ.com
DECEMBER 31, 2011 |WSJ | By NICHOLAS CARR

Books That Are Never Done Being Written
Digital text is ushering in an era of perpetual revision and updating, for better and for worse.

As electronic books push paper ones aside, movable type seems fated to be replaced by movable text.

That's an attractive development in many ways. It makes it easy for writers to correct errors and update facts. Guidebooks will no longer send travelers to restaurants that have closed or to once charming inns that have turned into fleabags. The instructions in manuals will always be accurate. Reference books need never go out of date.

Even literary authors will be tempted to keep their works fresh. Historians and biographers will be able to revise their narratives to account for recent events or newly discovered documents. Polemicists will be able to bolster their arguments with new evidence. Novelists will be able to scrub away the little anachronisms that can make even a recently published story feel dated.

But as is often the case with digitization, the boon carries a bane. The ability to alter the contents of a book will be easy to abuse. School boards may come to exert even greater influence over what students read. They'll be able to edit textbooks that don't fit with local biases. Authoritarian governments will be able to tweak books to suit their political interests. And the edits can ripple backward. Because e-readers connect to the Internet, the works they contain can be revised remotely, just as software programs are updated today. Movable text makes a lousy preservative.

Such abuses can be prevented through laws and software protocols. What may be more insidious is the pressure to fiddle with books for commercial reasons. Because e-readers gather enormously detailed information on the way people read, publishers may soon be awash in market research. They'll know how quickly readers progress through different chapters, when they skip pages, and when they abandon a book.
Nicholas_Carr  e-books  digital_media  shortcomings  protocols  unintended_consequences  abuses  digitalization  market_research  publishing  dark_side 
january 2012 by jerryking
The Medium Is the Medium - NYTimes.com
July 8, 2010 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS. "There was 1interesting
observation made by a philanthropist who gives books to disadvantaged
kids. It’s not the physical presence of the books that produces the
biggest impact, she suggested. It’s the change in how the students see
themselves as they build a home library. They see themselves as readers,
as members of a different group...". The great essayist Joseph Epstein
distinguished between being well informed, being hip and being
cultivated. The Web helps you become well informed — knowledgeable about
current events, controversies and trends. The Web also helps you become
hip — to learn about what’s going on, “in those lively waters outside
the mainstream.” But the literary world is better at helping you become
cultivated, mastering significant things of lasting import. To learn
these sorts of things, you have to defer to greater minds than your own,
take time to immerse in a great writer’s world, to respect the
authority of the teacher.
David_Brooks  reading  books  Nicholas_Carr  arduous  hard_work  personal_libraries  humility  well_informed  respect  cultivated 
july 2010 by jerryking
Unboxed - Yes, People Still Read, but Now It’s Social - NYTimes.com
June 18, 2010 | New York Times | By STEVEN JOHNSON, Nicholas
Carr's new book, “The Shallows,” argues that the compulsive skimming,
linking and multitasking of our screen reading is undermining the deep,
immersive focus that has defined book culture for centuries.
Distractions come with a heavy cost--studies show how multitasking harms
our concentration. But we must also measure what we gain from
multitasking....The problem with Mr. Carr’s model is its unquestioned
reverence for the slow contemplation of deep reading. For society to
advance as it has since Gutenberg, he argues, we need the quiet,
solitary space of the book. Yet many great ideas that have advanced
culture over the past centuries have emerged from a more connective
space, in the collision of different worldviews and sensibilities,
different metaphors and fields of expertise. (Gutenberg himself borrowed
his printing press from the screw presses of Rhineland vintners, as Mr.
Carr notes.)
cognitive_skills  collective_intelligence  collective_wisdom  Communicating_&_Connecting  connected_learning  contemplation  cross-disciplinary  deep_learning  discernment  distractions  focus  Johan_Gutenberg  Kindle  metaphors  multitasking  monotasking  Nicholas_Carr  reading  shallowness  skimming  solitude  Steven_Johnson  sustained_inquiry  thinking  thinking_deliberatively  worldviews 
june 2010 by jerryking
Does the Internet Make You Dumber? - WSJ.com
JUNE 5, 2010 | WSJ | NICHOLAS CARR. The cognitive effects are
measurable: We're turning into shallow thinkers, says Nicholas Carr.
Nicholas_Carr  information_overload  cognitive_skills  internet  mental_maps  shallowness  skimming 
june 2010 by jerryking
Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains
May 24, 2010 | Wired magazine | By Nicholas Carr. Adapted
from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. "There’s
nothing wrong with absorbing information quickly and in bits and pieces.
We’ve always skimmed newspapers more than we’ve read them, and we
routinely run our eyes over books and magazines to get the gist of a
piece of writing and decide whether it warrants more thorough reading.
The ability to scan and browse is as important as the ability to read
deeply and think attentively. The problem is that skimming is becoming
our dominant mode of thought. Once a means to an end, a way to identify
information for further study, it’s becoming an end in itself—our
preferred method of both learning and analysis. Dazzled by the Net’s
treasures, we are blind to the damage we may be doing to our
intellectual lives and even our culture."
Nicholas_Carr  information_overload  brain_imaging  cognitive_skills  focus  thinking_deliberatively  shallowness  skimming  squirrel-like_behaviour 
may 2010 by jerryking
How to Be a Smart Innovator - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 11, 2006 | Wall Street Journal | by Nicholas Carr,
who talks about the right way to be creative --and the wrong way. Mr.
Carr says, companies need to be prudent --even conservative --in where
and how much they encourage innovation. He reminds us that innovation
isn't free, that it's quite expensive and quite risky. Managers need to
bring the same kind of discipline to deciding where to innovate as they
would normally bring to any other kind of management question.
Innovation initiatives and innovation investments should be connected to
a firm's broader business strategy and its areas of competitive
advantage: mfg. processes or its supply chain or its products themselves
or branding and marketing areas. You don't need to always shoot for
home runs in innovation. Further, innovations can be useful if, instead
of causing disruptions, mend those disruptions or help regular customers
(late majority) adapt to new technologies or new innovations--bridging.
adaptability  breakthroughs  bridging  competitive_advantage  contrarians  Daniel_Pink  disruption  Freshbooks  howto  incrementalism  innovation  innovators  Nicholas_Carr  smart_people  strategy  taxonomy 
february 2010 by jerryking

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