Why is Amazon looking more and more like an old-fashioned retailer? The company’s do-it-all corporate strategy adheres to a familiar playbook—that of Sears, Roebuck & Company. Sears might seem like a zombie today, but it’s easy to forget how transformative the company was exactly 100 years ago, when it, too, was capitalizing on a mail-to-consumer business to establish a physical retail presence. To understand Amazon—its evolution, its strategy, and perhaps its future—look to Sears.
I think there has been a shift from paying for stuff that’s already made to paying for the ongoing creation of content, and to my mind publishers need to get into that mindset of shifting away from selling something that’s already done to selling the creation of something. That shift seems to mirror the Patreon “This stuff is already out there, and if you want to throw a few bucks our way that’d be amazing and you’ll feel good about it” to “Look, if you want this stuff, you gotta pay for it” sort of way. Do you think that’s a fair characterization, do you see the same shift, or am I sort of imagining things here?
There’s a whole segment of the market that doesn’t want to build a membership business on someone else’s platform, they want full control of the branding, they want full control of the experience. Right now Patreon is unable to serve that market, if we were to build that, it would be a completely separate thing. Working with the Memberful team accelerates us into that market segment, so it gives us a very big head start. I would say mostly that’s where the value is.
The most exciting thing to me about Node.js is its ubiquity. Node.js is in the initial stages of its uptick. There’s a long way to go and a long way to grow.” – Gaurav Seth, Group Product Manager at Microsoft
See if you can identify the following people: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Mark Porat.
If you puzzled over the last name, don’t feel bad. Porat was the founder of a technology company called General Magic, which you also probably haven’t heard of despite it once being described in Forbes magazine as “the most important dead company in Silicon Valley.” Matthew Maude and Sarah Kerruish’s documentary General Magic, receiving its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, provides a compelling history of a company that created a groundbreaking product that was unfortunately ahead of its time.
The company, started in 1990, was a spinoff of Apple, which six years earlier had unveiled the Macintosh. The idea was to create a handheld personal computer, essentially a precursor to the modern smartphone, and its roster included some of the best and brightest talents in the technology industry including Andy Hertzfeld, Bill Atkinson, Megan Smith, Kevin Lynch and Tony Fadell. As a New York Times journalist says of the fledging enterprise, “It had Apple’s fairy dust sprinkled on it.”
My take: I remember the guys at General Magic. I remember what Apple did to them. What I didn’t know was what they did next. See below (click to enlarge):