Is This The End Of Amazon?
It must suck trying to compete with Amazon. You spend 24 hours every day perfecting a business model that allows you to provide a service to the public and make a little money at the same time. Then, just when you start to turn a profit, Amazon comes along and destroys you.
Amazon isn’t just big. It has a secret weapon, one that’s unavailable to most business owners. Their weapon? A bunch of investors who don’t seem to care if Amazon doesn’t make a profit. You can’t compete with a monolithic business that doesn’t care if it loses money.
But what if… just what if… shareholders cared if Amazon made a profit?
Last week Amazon announced that it might lose money in the fourth quarter this year. This happened the same week that its shares dropped more than expected. Investors aren’t always known for their patience. I watch Shark Tank; I know how things work. And if shareholders lose patience with Amazon NOT making money… (dramatic pause)… would that mean the end of Amazon?
I like Amazon, and I don’t want it go away. Amazon Prime is a great deal if you use it enough, and it’s changed my buying habits. The only reason I don’t do the Kindle Unlimited is because my local library is pretty good, and I can usually grab a new book before the blood stains and boogers show up. Either that, or the librarians do a good job cleaning up the books. That’s a job I wouldn’t want, the library-book-decontaminator.
I’m not an Amazon investor (or a competitor), so I don’t mind Amazon’s unprofitable business practices. If Amazon’s shareholders don’t mind the company’s lack of profits, then I don’t mind saving money off their speculation. In fact, I have an obligation to take advantage of Amazon while the deals still last. I wish I had more money to spend on saving money at Amazon.
At some point though, even Amazon’s shareholders are going to get worried over Amazon’s lack of profits. When the investors pull out, what happens? Will eager new investors take their place? Will a bunch of other investors panic and pull out at the same time, causing a jaw-dropping crash that destroys the entire American financial sector? Or will the reaction be somewhere in between?
Just because Amazon isn’t making a profit now doesn’t mean it never will. Trends don’t always last forever. After all, the last three letters in “trend” are E-N-D. I’m pretty sure Amazon can turn a profit when Jeff Bezos decides to do it. I mean, a bunch of real investors believe that, so it must be true. For Jeff Bezos’s sake, it had better be true. I wouldn’t want to be Jeff Bezos if Amazon tanks and a bunch of investors decide to sue (or do worse). Or maybe it’s a great deal, to take investors’ money and blow it. Arriana Huffington seems to be pretty good at that too. If I could get people to call me a genius and give me their money, I’d do it. But nobody’s ever called me a genius, and people usually try to take my money instead of giving me theirs.
I would like to invest in a growing company like Amazon, but I’m the kind of guy who can destroy a good thing. If I invest in stocks, the market crashes.
If I steer my car into the fastest lane, the cars in front of me slow down.
When I push my shopping cart into the smallest checkout line, the old lady at the front argues about coupons and pulls out a check book.
When I buy a house with a nice view, a high-rise blocking the view is built a couple lots away.
That’s just how it goes. It’s my X-Men mutant gift. I’m surprised Amazon didn’t go belly up as soon as I published my first ebook.
Maybe it’s a mistake for me to write about business stuff like Amazon because I don’t know much about business, but I’ve seen the talking-heads on cable business networks, and they don’t seem to know any more than I do (but they’re more attractive and speak with much more authority than I do). Now that I’ve asked if this is the end of Amazon, Amazon will start making huge profits, and I’ll look like a fool for even asking the question. But at least the good deals will continue.
Enough about me! What do you think? Is Amazon getting too big for its britches? Is Amazon going to flame out and leave its shareholders with nothing? Or will Amazon start making mind-boggling profits to justify its shareholders’ faith? Is Kindle Unlimited a good deal? Should I vandalize the high-rise that ruined my view? What bad investments have you made? What’s your X-Men mutant power?