Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

I know the title of this post is a worn out cliche but it does kinda make sense for this post about WalMart taking on Amazon in the online market. Another worn out cliche that fits this scenario is “Better late than never”.

It is still kind of hard to think of Walmart as “old-school”. I can remember when there were none of them around. I think of McDonald’s in the same vein. Both are trying to hold on to the dominance they once had in their markets while others are quickly eating their dinner so to speak.  McDonald’s, at least in my area, are going through a pretty severe facelift.  The golden arches are for the most part gone except for a small one on the side of the new plain grey facade.  But in both cases, I kind of think its too little too late but I am getting ahead of myself here.

2018-05-17_08-15-25.pngWalmart is trying to bring up a strong online presence but from my personal experiences, it is a pretty meager effort. Their “new” website is well (yawn) boring. It just lacks the pizzazz and speed of response of Amazon. But I have recently given them a chance. I was in need of a new twin mattress for my microRV and found that Walmart has the one I want for about the same price as Amazon, so I ordered it.  They promised a 3 day delivery to my local store.  When I went to pick it up I found a pretty much untrained staff to handle the transaction. I wish them luck but…

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Waiting In Line…

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canstockphoto35801773.jpgI have never been a person who patiently waits in a line. It has always seemed like a total waste to me. I will most often do anything to keep from having to stand behind other people. Now that I have taken the “One day at a time” approach to life, I want to live what I have left of life as fully as I can. Waiting in line is just not in that scenario.  And as Will said in the quote above many things just aren’t worth the wait.

Most of my grocery shopping occurs during the early hours when the store is almost empty.  I can order just about anything from Amazon now and have it on my doorstep within two days. Why drive an hour round trip to search through aisle after aisle trying to find what I am looking for and then wait to pay for it?

At an even higher level, I have come to more fully understand what the mantra “Simplify” means. I try to always stop and ask myself “do I really need this?”  Many times the answer is “No”.

Of course, there are times when waiting in line has to be tolerated. One of those times for me was when I wanted to get something off my bucket list. That something was a week at Disney World. Even though I visited the park during the off-season the lines were still pretty gnarly.  I loved my time there but will never do it again. 🙂

Taking The Long View..

HavingMySay Banner  I will say upfront that I am a regular customer at Amazon. I shop there more than everywhere else combined, except for food and medicine that is. I am an Amazon guy.

2017-05-03_10-21-22.pngWhen Jeff Bezos came upon the scene in the late 1990s with the simple idea of selling books online I thought he was a guy for the 21st century. He was taking the long view when most CEO’s were anguishing over the next quarter’s profit. Amazon has grown even beyond my expectations. Their two-day delivery is beyond belief in the corporate world.

I saw the other day the following quote from him it is “Day 1” which allows Amazon to continually move forward.  According to him Day 2 is stasis followed by irrelevance, followed by death. So, to Jeff, it will always be Day 1.

Another important distinction between Mr. Bezos and the typical current day CEO is that he practices the theory of the three-legged stool. That is that all corporations are made of up a mix of owners/stockholder, customers, and employees, and that attention should be given to all three legs to keep the corporation balanced.  That used to be the norm but during the Reagan years and the hyped MBA programs, the total attention was given to the owners.  Some people call this “shareholder capitalism” vs “stakeholder capitalism.”

When Amazon went public, Bezos wrote a shareholder letter that basically said he wasn’t going to worry about them (the shareholders).  Instead, his total attention would be customer satisfaction.  Everything he does is skewed towards customer satisfaction.

Fast forward to today and Amazon is the fastest growing corporation and has the most loyal customers and highest customer satisfaction.  Yes, there is harping about how much he demands from this employees. He wants them to be as focused as he is on customer satisfaction and some simple can’t do that.  Some complain that they are losing their jobs to automation/robots but that is normal for today and is a step forward to me.

Amazon is always looking for ways to do things more efficiently  and as a result sometimes jobs change in the process. Amazon is about embracing change and that is what a 21st-century corporation should be about, at least in my twisted mind.  🙂