Amazon’s Eventual Failure, Silicon Valley’s Soul – TMO Daily Observations 2018-11-19


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Kelly Guimont, Andrew Orr, and John Martellaro chat about Amazon eventually failing and if Silicon Valley has a soul to lose.

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TDO 2018-11-19: Amazon's eventual failure

3:32 PM Nov. 19th, 2018 | 00:27:57

Kelly Guimont, Andrew Orr, and John Martellaro chat about Amazon eventually failing and if Silicon Valley has a soul to lose.

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2 Comments Add a comment

  1. gGrant

    Let’s talk soul.

    Silicon Valley always was an engineering culture. Engineers (myself included) are not noted for social savvy. Social was never part of Silicon Valley. It was cool gadgets. Silicon Valley executives have no idea about social consequences, but they do understand numbers of users and profits.

    Social came to Silicon Valley in the form of services written by children with no sense of consequences. Be it arrested development or more engineers with no social skills, but dubious personal motives (who can forget Zuck’s quote from the early days about – if you want any dirt, just ask me, it’s amazing what these idiots will tell me). Facebook is little more than a nicer spin on hot-or-not and certainly the motives are unchanged.

    This generation has been so sheltered, they have no idea why we would need privacy, much less any respect for it. And a lot of the angst experienced post-Trump comes from living in a world where everyone was tending to your needs, protecting you from the actual world outside, where bad things not only do happen, but you have to deal with them. And you might not have the hard-knock skills to handle it.

    Imagine a world where advertising and media tried to manipulate you? Apparently some people can’t, and THAT Virginia is a real societal psychological problem of our own making.

  2. gGrant

    Let’s talk succession planning. Despite all Tim Cook’s successes, just keeping Apple viable without Steve Jobs is a BIG win, Tim will be remembered as the bridge between Job’s Apple and the Apple yet to come – what Apple becomes when Tim and his contemporaries are gone. It’s easy to focus on the operations stuff, like shipping product, Tim’s forte, that seems to have gone down the toilet under his reign, but a) just keeping Apple going, b) guiding it to being a trillion dollar company, which to those of us looking at the products and saying, “What less powerful again? How can they do this?” lose sight of – these are huge successes.

    But Tim’s biggest job is creating what Apple will become when all the lifers have moved on. It’s not glamorous. He’ll never get the credit he deserves, but I think when Steve Jobs was looking for his successor, that’s what he identified in Tim. The steady hand to massive change, not to mention massive growth.

    And just as there was only ever one name for Steve’s replacement, there has only ever been one name for Tim’s replacement, Jeff Williams. Even if there’s no talk of Tim moving on, when it happens, it will seem as natural and smooth as the Steve to Tim transition. Jeff is getting more visibility with Watch and health, just biding his time until Tim decides to move on. Tim is in no hurry, unless he burns out, and Jeff will have a decade or so to spread his roots throughout Apple.

    As to the faces on stage. It was only ever Steve’s show. He did all the talking. He controlled the message to within an inch of its life. Schiller was a bit player, a funny man to Steve’s straight man, not because he didn’t have the skills, but because it was Steve’s show.

    When Steve had to at least consider a future for Apple without himself, he brought forward the formidably talented backup team, to show that Apple was not a one-man show, it only appeared to be that way. If there was a Jobs equivalent, there would be only one face on stage, but nobody had the product, business and sales touch that Steve had. Nobody in the world has Steve’s measure in any one of those 3 areas, much less all 3. So Steve split the roles to get the next best thing, and demonstrate that Apple was much more than Steve.

    All this talk of diversity on stage, how many people were on stage – that would be moot if Apple had another Steve Jobs to fill the role. It was a necessary complication, which diluted the message, but ensured the survival of Apple. Nice to talk about diversity & depth, but not actually desirable.

    And who knows, Scott Forstall may benefit from his time in the wilderness, just as Steve, inarguably needed to, and Apple may yet have a charismatic leader once again. Certainly the Computer History Museum interview showed he’s still got what it takes, if he can learn what he needs to take him to the next level. I don’t miss the skeumorphisms, but it’s clear we’ve lost of lot of the do-what-it-takes start-up culture since the experts took over at Apple. Apple’s troubles reek of a systems approach – what do you mean, you’re not happy with all the stuff that just doesn’t work? Catastrophic faults are way down!! Classic corporate IT culture, not start-up Apple at all.

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