Is the world moving way too fast, or what? It seems that keeping pace is just getting harder as we accelerate madly towards something they are calling singularity.
So where am I at this moment in time? Well, looking at Amazon vs. Etsy and wondering what an Etsy drone might look like (upcycled wood and stone?) or for that matter an Amazon Team (a Gestalt session with everyone in the hotseat?) :)
How did I arrive in this strange place? It started this afternoon while I was about to watch a video promo for Amazon’s futuristic Prime Air and an order came in from Montana. Great! We’ll ship it from Brooklyn today and it will be in Montana in a few days. That’s fast! Or so I thought.
What Amazon says about Prime Air:
We're excited about Prime Air — a future delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using small unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones... Putting Prime Air into service will take some time, but we will deploy when we have the regulatory support needed to realize our vision.
Thirty minutes or less! Amazon Prime is already killing everyone else. Even major retailers have been forced to get on board to sell to the Amazon Prime Customer. Is 30 minutes or less checkmate? Probably, because while it’s pretty Orwellian to have drones flying overhead, fast, cheap and secure is a big incentive, especially when it’s marketed and packaged right.
That brings me to Amazon Handmade - I just realized it has launched. We’ve been waiting for the personal care category to open as we’ll be selling there. As you may know, it’s a direct challenge to Etsy. And while Etsy might be the poster child B Corporation, and Amazon struggles with a bad corporate image you have to wonder if Etsy really thinks it can win by shaming Amazon into submission?
Not likely, but who knows? Shame can be a powerful weapon, especially in a transparent corporate world like B Corps envisions. Related, and crazy as it might seem, the thought has crossed my mind that we might be heading towards a synthesis that hi tech/low tech hipsters have been acting out - a bizarre reality where Air Prime delivers only Handmade, USDA Organic and B Certified goods and nothing else - unless you have a note from your doctor
So, what does all this have to do with beards?
Well, I have some ideas about Silicon Valley and beards - nothing yet on the subcategory of drones and beards. Of course there is Etsy and beards and Brooklyn and beards and B Corps and beards and hipsters and beards. The truth is, the more you look, beards are just about everywhere and I have barely begun to scratch the surface of what this all means.
Perhaps predictably, my online wanderings have taken me to Portland Oregon, named by the travel editors at Orbitz as the Beard Capital of America. It also happens to be America’s Greenest City and the home of 15 different kinds of hipsters including the “tech hipster” who, according this techy may not be truly techy at all. Still, Portland also has it’s share of tech companies, so maybe there really are tech hipsters in Portland? Does they really exist? Are they the key to figuring this whole thing out?
Who knows, meanwhile, as Prime Air works through all kinds of issues before launch, it doesn’t hurt to look ahead and ask ourselves an increasingly obvious question. Who’s going to buy on our website and wait a few days when Amazon will drop the balm so fast?
Perhaps someone who is very highly motivated? Why might they be be highly motivated? Maybe to support a small business? Maybe because they don’t like the idea of overhead drones? In the end, it’s likely those motivations just won’t be enough as people just want their stuff fast.
So where does that leave us? Well, we’ll see how it unfolds but I wouldn’t bet against beard balm from the sky, would you?