When we think of the word “Amazon,” we can easily free-associate to “rainforest.” Of course, there’s another free association that’s far closer to home: Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as envisioned by the late Steve Jobs is a beautiful yet tightly controlled closed garden, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) as envisioned by Jeff Bezos is a lush, diverse, expansive corporate entity. Both virtual places shine with some fair share of beauty and brilliance.
At its core, the real-life rainforest is a bastion of biodiversity. More than half of the world’s species reside in the rainforest (although irresponsible and unsustainable human harvesting has threatened this mind-blowing attribute). Fascinating attributes abound; for example, plants and animals provide examples of adaptation to survive and thrive in rainforest life. Natural ways to combat disease can be found in its lush density. That one place can support so many of the types of life on the planet speaks for itself.
Amazon’s amazing ecosystem
It’s pretty easy for us to grasp why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) keeps its operating system and apps so tightly controlled. Its functions transfer seamlessly to all devices, making a real case for such controls. On the other hand, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) thrives on spreading its business far and wide. It has come far from the early dot-com days, when it was often dismissed as “just a retailer” peddling books and music.
There are plenty of overt ways we can call Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s business diverse. There’s the sheer breadth of its merchandise. It’s a rare good that one can’t find on Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), from the commonplace to the obscure. Amazon Prime helps it retain customer loyalty, giving members everything from free and cut-rate shipping to simple and occasionally free movie streaming. The Kindle has been a victory for the e-reader and reading in general, giving consumers an easier, cheaper way to expand their horizons.
Much like the many species deep in the rainforest, some of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s advantages are sheltered in the forest’s depth. Its significant role in the cloud arena is one of those advantages. Furthermore, though, did you know that Amazon owns Zappos? What about IMDb.com? Audible belongs to Amazon too. How about CreateSpace, its on-demand publishing unit?
Of course, Amazon has a pretty bloodthirsty reputation. It’s well known for threatening revenues for retailers including Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and even Wal-Mart. Costco is increasingly mentioned as a real head-to-head matchup for Amazon, since both are such strong and highly respected companies.
However, Amazon’s incredible power isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just take publishing. As much as Amazon may hurt some booksellers, it also can carry a heck of a lot of obscure material that brick-and-mortar retailers just won’t — and really, feasibly can’t — carry. And speaking of CreateSpace, Amazon has boosted some self-published artists’ work, giving them a platform to market it. Some self-published authors have had blockbusters solely through Amazon. Amazon provides inexpensive Amazon Shorts, helping the short-story arena, which has often seemed almost dead.
Amazon probably won’t kill reading, but it will hurt some of the middlemen, such as the big major publishers, who are often more interested in marketability rather than art or even competence.
Mass layoffs? No, mass hirings.
Meanwhile, in light of what many called weak results from Amazon, we can go back to another interesting thing about Bezos’ company: the willingness to truly invest in the future. His style is certainly not for short-termers, but long-term investors can see why this company is positioning itself for the very long term, regardless of razor-thin margins.
Just yesterday, we learned that Amazon plans to hire thousands of Americans. The behemoth’s plans are mind-blowing: 5,000 full-time positions and 2,000 customer service jobs that could also be part-time or seasonal.
This is incredibly significant. Companies making smart investments in people, as opposed to holding on to their cash or even wasting it on stock-boosting moves like acquisitions, many of which end up being big boondoggles over the long term, are exactly what our country needs right now.