When The Big Guys Act Small

The hubbub over the last couple of weeks regarding Netflix and the decision to spin off the DVD arm of the business got me thinking about agility. Sometimes, in order to move with the nature of a product life, a business needs to make a decision everyone won’t love. Most of us can be understanding, but the “how” of it is usually what can make or break a company. We shall see where Netflix stands in a few months…

A friend on Facebook recently put on his wall: “Amazon says, ‘There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp.’ This is the missile being thrown at Apple. Love it.”

Maybe it’s because I just came out of a class talking about Netflix, but I thought this comment could also be considered a mini-missile at Netflix, also. Afterall, if Netflix stands to lose Starz and additional content providers, they’ll be charging more but providing less. Sounds like Amazon wants to say, “Game on!” for any company looking to shortchange customers.

Amazon is doing this right now as they announce the Kindle Fire, essentially a move anticipated to really bring the tablet market from the fancy iPad and pretend competitor world, and into the mainstream.  If you think that the first Kindle was all about the “spark,” the Fire is probably going to blow things up.

Timing is everything in this situation. If we remember, Amazon is a little behind with a device that can really compete with the iPad, but they were first in really establishing the ereader market. And then when iPad came along, Amazon jumped in with the Kindle App for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, and pretty much anything with a screen. Amazon, essentially a giant supply-chain company that excels at mass-customized marketing, is being the nimble start-up we expect it to be. It’s thinking big and acting small, identifying what it is I want as a consumer, not what my market segment signals it wants.

Just because a start-up grows into a corporation, it doesn’t then mean the corporation is an evil machine that never gets anything right. Amazon may not be the key, but they’re definitely heating things up.

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