Jason Calacanis (@Jason), co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., and currently host of This Week in Startups is never afraid to voice his opinions. One of his recent articles entitled The Cult of Amazon Prime caught my eye because it paints such a vivid picture of Amazon’s growing market dominance. I appreciate the leadership role Amazon has played over the years, but I’m also concerned about the dangers of one vendor controlling too much of the market. Calacanis agreed to discuss my concerns in this interview.
Key points from the full video interview (below) include:
- Does Amazon Prime spell the end of the local mall? — It won’t happen immediately, and there will always be some need for in-person shopping, but Amazon Prime is already having an impact on the local shopping experience. [Discussed at the 00:40 mark.]
- Serendipity is overrated — Jason makes a good point about how what you discover at a brick-and-mortar store is often what the vendor or its supplier want you to discover, and this experience can easily be recreated with the “people who bought X also bought Y” model. [Discussed at 2:40.]
- Coming soon to a location near you: The Amazon Store? — Rather than continuing to use BestBuy and other stores for showrooming, Jason talks about the possibility of Amazon creating their own specialty retail presence where you could touch and feel big-ticket items and have them shipped to you the next day. [Discussed at 4:01.]
- The instant gratification problem won’t exist forever — Amazon has already implemented same-day shipping in some locations, and it’s possible a resolution to the state sales tax issue Amazon is currently in the midst of could lead to broader same-day delivery service. [Discussed at 6:01.]
- AmazonBasics is a preview of what’s to come — We’re all familiar with private label goods at the local grocery store. AmazonBasics is a similar program. Today, it only offers gadget accessories, but it could easily lead to Amazon toothpaste or breakfast cereal down the road. [Discussed at 7:22.]
- Don’t fear the controlling, manipulative market leader — I’m skeptical of this, but Jason believes that technology and other efficiencies make barriers to entry so low that a market leader who exploits its position will get knocked off by a new startup. [Discussed at 14:24.]
- Walmart vs. Amazon: Who will compete with Amazon to keep them honest? — Jason believes Walmart is the only serious threat. [Discussed at 18:34.]
You can view the entire interview in the following video.