Category Archives: Amazon

Walmart and Jet

Going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Prof. Galloway is professing a huge writedown is coming but I’m not sure yet. Mark is a shrewd operator and clearly possesses the skills but the issue issue is can Walmart become something big in ecommerce or not.

Here is the latest on the recent layoffs and Mark’s memo to staff :: http://fortune.com/2017/01/26/walmart-layoffs-ecommerce/

I am also wondering how this will play out internationally. Flipkart is toast in the face of a lone battle against Amazon – might make sense for Walmart to buy it and use it to careen through Asia. I never got why Flipkart with all the cash and over payed execs stuck to India only knowing Amazon and Alibaba would go global.

Fun times. Big bucks.

Interesting times.

Alibaba buys Lazada.

Amazon supposedly tried to buy Redmart. For the record – I would have took that deal.

Now Lazada buys Redmart. I don’t know the deal specifics but clearly this was not a sale from a position of strength. Redmart needed cash and I think this was the best option – versus going out of business.

Now Amazon announces they are coming to Singapore. Personally I am stoked. It is hard to not want some sort of Prime Singapore situation. I buy stuff from Lazada from time to time but it is kind of a crappy experience. It works but it is not amazing. Give me fresh, books, video and Alexa all working locally and I think it will be awesome.

Globally no one is equipped to rival that. No one. Sure Alibaba has some of the pieces and they may weave together something similar from the remnants of Lazada, Redmart and all the other products/properties they own but I doubt it can rival Amazon. I also doubt I will have any interest in it.

Some may see this a harbinger of things to come – the global guys coming in but for me I see this as something deeper and far more exciting. SEA is now on the map big time. It’s an ecosystem big enough to care about and if you happen to be here, building for this scene. Cry tears of joy.

Carry on.

Think Simple

I had wanted to read his first book, Insanely Simple, but just never ended up picking it up.

Happened to be at the book store today to restock for the kids, Yo Kai Vol 5 just in, and came across Ken Segall’s latest book – Think Simple.

So far so good. I am always game for thinking more simply and of course it is easy to want to make things simpler but the reality is the opposite. Hoping to glean a few ideas or to out of the book.

First step is working on a mission statement.

Laterz.

Disruption

Picked up on this article by Steve Blank over the weekend – such a good read.

I have worked at a few places in my life – startups, corporates, corporates in decline (Yahoo) and joint ventures masked as vehicles for corporates to try and stem declines (HOOQ). All of them share critical components but the corporates trying to deal with disruption can be very interesting. They don’t have it easy but they also continue to display the classic behaviors that got them to where they are in the first place. 

I notice in the local space that there is not a lot of investigative journalism into the big corporates around Singapore. I am guessing it is too touchy of a subject or maybe doesn’t drive page views. Hard to say.

Having just left HOOQ I would like to say a few things about it since I am asked many times why I went from startup land, Spuul, to pseudo startup land – HOOQ. 

Let me list a few reasons:

– I wanted the chance to get to know Singapore Inc. more closely.

– I wanted exposure to Sony and Warner.

– I was generally intrigued by the concept – 2 big studios work with local telco to try and do something cool in OTT.

– The plan had a solid model – the plan that is. The execution – not so much.

I went into the gig with my eyes wide open. I would learn, I would network and I would gain much needed experience on how to deal with a big corporate giant, actually three of them, trying to innovate. I would have a seat at the board meetings – huge learning opportunity. Boards can help a lot if done right.

Lastly, most importantly for me – I would try and see if I could buck the trend of a large corporate trying a new way to innovate but normally failing. The model had the right ingredients – a joint venture versus a subsidiary, good partners, a worthy business to go after and funds. Most startups don’t have these ingredients but then again most startups also don’t come with any baggage. Usually startups have a green field advantage and the right to make plans as they go whereas a joint venture is immediately plagued with too much funds, large parents to make happy and long range planning processes.

Frankly – it is too early to tell what will happen. Right now the market for OTT in emerging markets is early days. It is all about funding, posturing and moon shots. Obviously Netflix and Amazon will be the largest global players. As I keep saying to folks who constantly ask – who is the Amazon of India – Amazon. Just wait and see.

However folks tend to only thing big and forget that there are some healthy niche businesses out there – take Spuul for example. Doing well, but most folks only want to hear about big fund raising or other PR noteworthy milestones as examples of success.

For video we tend to think of Netflix or maybe YouTube. Right now the YouTube of emerging markets is YouTube. The Netflix for emerging markets – is also probably YouTube cause free and piracy are still the leader around the emerging markets. The idea of building out a robust, and profitable, paid OTT service for the emerging markets is still a work in progress.

HOOQ has a shot but iFlix appears to have the early lead. Will guys like Rakuten, Alibaba and HotStar emerge to try and go big? Don’t know yet. Will Netflix and Amazon slowly take over? Possibly. Will Google eventually get it right around the globe when it comes to premium content? I think not likely. Apple – well, they just seem to suck at emerging markets when it comes to payment models so I am not hopeful.

The race is on. I will continue to armchair quarterback it and share more insights as I go.

Let the bloodbath begin!

Banged this out yesterday – http://www.nokpis.com/2016/04/18/the-actual-state-of-ott-in-emerging-markets/

The idea being that the expansion of OTT across the planet will be a full scale war and that it won’t simply be handed over to Netflix on a silver platter.

Now we have Netflix with the okay quarter but with a shady forecast: http://techcrunch.com/2016/04/18/netflix-posts-a-mixed-q1-but-adds-6-74m-new-subscribers/

Don’t get me wrong here. Netflix is huge and growing but the cost of building out tech and a library for the globe won’t be cheap. They are also losing paid subscribers who can no longer VPN to get the good content. I am in Singapore and the size of the library sucks here. I can’t even get the latest season of many of the Netflix shows. Thankfully I still use my mom’s account so not like I am sweating the subscription.

However on top of dealing with all the regional players, Netflix has to now contend with Amazon.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2016/04/amazon-starts-offering-prime-video-as-a-8-99-monthly-subscription/

I always assumed Amazon would do this at some point but didn’t expect it this soon. To be frank I had Prime for a bit so I could play with the video service but didn’t keep it due to not having enough content. With the service now being split out I may try it again but I have always found their tech and apps to suck in comparison to HBO and Netflix. Amazon always does just enough to get by versus build the best app ever. It shows with their video apps but maybe this breakout will force them to compete more. Time will tell.

One thing we do know is video is growing like mad – even in Asia. http://variety.com/2016/digital/asia/online-video-further-growth-in-asia-report-1201755475/

I think the market will split off into a few groups and that there will never be one dominant player for the globe or for the Asian regions.

But who the hell knows.

Whither Android…

I haven’t seen much mainstream coverage of this move. We all know Google battled hard to do a non Oracle Java but seems that didn’t work out. Legally I always thought Google was wrong but of course I am not a fan of Oracle and the way they steward Java.

Read this about the latest on Oracle and Android.

If you thought overall Android performance sucks now, I think it does, it sure won’t get any better with issues like this : Google has of course its own Android UI framework. Swing will now sit on every Android phone, using up resources.

I don’t know if this is the final word on the subject or if Google has other ideas but I sure do appreciate Apple’s native stack designed from the ground up for mobile.

I won’t argue the point that Android is huge but this isn’t a good sign of where it is heading.

If anyone has some good opposing links or counters please chime in using the comments.

I was hoping Tim Bray had covered it but not yet.