amazon

Alexa, never play songs by James Taylor

Me: Alexa, play 70s folk music.

*Alexa starts playing a James Taylor song*

Me: Alexa, never play songs by James Taylor.

Alexa: Shuffling James Taylor playlist, on Amazon Music.

It’s important to distinguish opinions from facts

It’s important to remember that even when successful people say things, they’re often just opinions, not facts. Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz once told Jeff Bezos of Amazon, “You have no physical presence. That is going to hold you back.” The reality was that not having a physical presence at that time is what propelled Amazon forward.

Best Buy Should Be Dead, But It’s Thriving in the Age of Amazon alvin July 23, 2018 - 9:59am

Bloomberg has a nice article about business strategy titled, Best Buy Should Be Dead, But It’s Thriving in the Age of Amazon.

Why Siri is bad (and Apple is behind Amazon and Google) alvin July 16, 2018 - 1:20pm

While it’s old news (March, 2018), I’ve often wondered why Siri seems to be getting worse, and how/why Amazon and Google beat Apple to the market for Alexa-like assistants. MacRumors has this article where they report several of the problems related to Siri’s development. (Their article is based on an article written by The Information, which requires a subscription.)

Interviews with Jeff Bezos and James Comey

Here’s a great 1999 interview with Jeff Bezos on YouTube. And here’s a transcript of an interview with James Comey, where he says, “so much of what I’ve tried to do as a leader is guardrail around what I think my weaknesses are. Really important to me that I avoid the danger — which I think all humans have, but I know I have — of falling in love with my own view of things, my own righteousness.”

Alexa has no concept of “current”

In case you’re worried about artificial intelligence (AI), there’s this:

Me: Alexa, cancel the current timer.

Alexa: I don’t have a timer called “current,” but there is one called “Fifteen minute timer.”

Me: *sigh*

Warren Buffett on Jeff Bezos, Amazon, and the cloud alvin March 7, 2018 - 4:49pm

“But the cloud came along. And one of the most extraordinary things I've ever seen in business is when an unrelated type company — a retailer, you can call Amazon of that type, goes into another big industry and sees the future in it, gets into it, and then they gave — and Jeff Bezos would say this, he said it on the Charlie Rose show, some time ago — he got this amazing runway. I mean, the other players — here are all these 200 IQ people, you know, in that business, and they gave him year, after year, after year. It wasn't a secret of what he was doing. And he was, in an important way, revolutionizing the industry, and the other people sat on their hands, basically.”

~ Warren Buffett talking about Amazon and “the cloud” in this Morningstar article

Chase, Amazon, and Berkshire are already self-insured employers alvin February 27, 2018 - 10:36pm

Lost in the recent announcement about JPMorgan Chase, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway combining forces to get into the employee insurance business is the fact that they are already self-insured employers. I read that in this Business Insider article, where I also read that 80% of large companies are already self-insured.

Notes from February 4, 2018 (decision journals, Mayan civilization, more)

Farnam Street has been an interesting blog lately, including this post about keeping a decision journal, and this post about the rules of the road of investing.

In other news, bbc.com reports that researchers have found a sprawling Maya network discovered under a Guatemalan jungle.

sixcolors.com has a nice pie chart that shows how Apple makes its money (hint: 70% comes from the iPhone, 7% from the Mac).

inc.com has this article, 21 questions Amazon asks its job candidates.

Finally, here’s a series of tweets where Alastair McAlpine “asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning.” (Highly recommended reading.)