Hundreds of warehouses, hundreds of delivery stations, thousands of shipping containers, dozens of planes (plus an airport soon), a container ship is rumoured. That 341k number probably doesn't even count the independent contractors (both through Flex and through Amazon Logistics) handling deliveries.
The tens of thousands of software developers are there to (among other things) optimize the efficiency of those workers, make them achieve more with less effort via technology.
Walmart ackuired jet.com just 4 months ago. Jet.com, a startup, has managed to create a logistics network being able to do 1-day delivery to 50% of the population(or at least they claimed so), reached $1B in sales rapidly. Walmart has recently started to offer free 2-day delivery($35 minimum), which means that now, even for Prime memebers. shopping comparison is a reasonable option.
Furthermore, Walmart has curbside pickup for groceries, a very convinient service to get your groceries on the way from work, is seeing a lot of sucsess according to Walmart, with availibility in 500 stores, and planning to be in 600 more soon.
And Walmart definetly has got a huge logistics chain, maybe less in areas where Amazon is strong at, but they're probably better at the china/usa logistics part, that's why Amazon is doing some of those moves.
And Walmart does have enough capital to compete.
And once this impacts Amazon, will Amazon be able to keep it's very high stock price ? and how will this affect talent and growth ?
In short: finally , we're in for some very interesting times.
That said, I don't think they have any sort of clear advantage, for two particular reasons:
First, from a technical perspective, they have some serious catching up to do before they can provide the same service level at the same scale. It is not clear from available information that they actually have the required technical competence as an organization.
Second, they have to deal with a reputation that's going to keep them out of many consideration sets: from my perspective, at least, Walmart merchandise is universally cheap crap whose low utility and/or high failure rate will end up costing me more in the long run. I don't trust them to quickly and painlessly make things right if an order is broken, disappointing, or missing. In contrast, Amazon has spent years building trust (on the assumption that the short-term cost of this quality of experience is a profitable investment in securing future business).
I have yet to encounter an adequate answer to "Why should I bother looking at walmart.com?", which I suspect is true for many others, and which I think is a serious threat to Walmart.
Brick & mortar: my fastest route home every day has me driving past a rural Walmart, so even though the selection is not that great, they've become my default grocery store purely through convenience.
Cheap shit that doesn't have to last long: I just bought my 7 year-old three long sleeved shirts for $6 total. He'll wear them through the Spring and by Fall will have outgrown them anyway.
Convenience: when the store is on my way home anyway, and there's tons of easy parking, it's far easier to shop Walmart than go online to look for something.
As a result of this convenience we're now more likely to shop at Walmart.com instead of Amazon.com, I can order online and get free in-store pickup without paying shipping or having a Prime subscription.
this will be a game changer for me. Big time. The day when I order online, check-in on my mobile app in the parking lot, pull up to the delivery dock, Johnny comes out with a box of my stuff and puts it in my trunk, and I drive off. That will be my nirvana.
I have mild social anxiety, but walmart, for some reason, amplifies it considerably. Grocery stores too. Partly because I dont do proper meal planning/shopping planning, but partly because it just feels so inefficient to wade around the store and just feeling...handicapped ? Like, I just want to get my things and go, but ther'es always something impeding me: forgetting items, people in the way, employees restocking shelves during busy hours, long lines, bottlenecks at the one exit, etc.
Drive-thru supermarkets/walmarts/amazon pickup is going to change the world.
you probably mean change the USA, in France for instance, drive-thru supermarkets exists since at least 5 years  They now even have some new 24/7 pick up locations, which is a big deal for France where there is no 24/7 stores. There, your food just waits for you in a refrigerated/freezer lock box .
I'm actually surprised this is not already a common thing in the USA, which invented drive-thru fast foods 70 years ago.
 https://drive.intermarche.com/Carte (look for the icons of a car with the trunk open)
I live in the 'burbs and I drive every day anyway. To me, the pain isn't the driving (though for some urban areas I'm sure it is), it's just the hassle of parking and shopping in a crowded, inefficient store (wasting my time), and hauling all my stuff back to the car.
I think theres a deeper psychological issue at play here too: delivered to your door makes you passive, at the "mercy" or whim of the company/person making the delivery. There's a subconscious anxiety associated with waiting in anticipation. Whereas, going out and picking up makes you the active one. Sure the store could make you wait, but if they design their system properly, "ready for pickup" should mean just that. But "out for delivery" could me 5m or 3 hours from now.
Best part is the convenience: We've set it up to deliver once a week, and so every week the day after the previous delivery they create a new order and we can edit it in their app or on their website, and optionally you can set it to auto-populate your order based on your shopping history, and they get it "close enough" that often we don't bother even checking the order (this week, for example, I didn't) and we know we'll get something that's "close enough" that worst case we'll pick up the odd thing extra when we're out anyway sometime during the week.
They deliver within the same 1 hour slot every week (unless we change it; if we do, they will show us when they have a car in the area if we want to try to be more eco-friendly, but won't put any restrictions on us if they have capacity), and it's very rare or them to miss it - when they do, the driver will call and explain why and give us updates. If they're able to deliver early, they'll call and ask, and if necessary (if we're out etc.) they'll do other deliveries first if they can or worst case sit and wait to deliver within the agreed time slot.
They'll carry everything into your kitchen if you wish, or wherever you want them to, and everything comes in colour-coded bags for freezer, fridge, and cabinets. The receipt list everything by minimum guaranteed use-by dates.
The precision in delivery makes all the difference. I rarely go into grocery stores any more, and I don't miss it.
1. The delivery guy may assume I'm not home, and hence leave a missed delivery card without knocking (way too common...)
2. If i know i won't be home: all the " permission to leave" forms are different (or sometimes not possible; and are a hassle)
3. Sometimes there's no good place to leave the item, so leaving isn't possible ( often the postie refuses even though I gave the permission, because we disagree about what's okay)
4. If i need it now, I'm in control if i go get it. (Added perk of physically comparing in some cases.)
5. _usually_ resolution time for issues with pickups is faster than deliveries (eg i notice in store (eg wrong item or size - which i've had a few times online), or can quickly go back).
6. When i'm shopping for a delivered item i don't yet know what the full cost will be (assuming no free prime-like option) and it often varies stupidly.
(At present all my deliveries actually go to a family member's house cause I know they'll be home, so no signing or leaving issues...)
I feel like my life setup must be a bit different to others :-) But I find it interesting how different my perception is to the others in this thread :-)
But with respect to delivery times: In the UK they have rolled out increasing number of regional warehouses to support same day delivery for many goods (e.g. London has at least two Amazon warehouses). Being able to order in the morning and gets things delivered in the afternoon certainly stops me from going to the shops for a lot of things where even 24 hour delivery feels "too long".
The bigger issue I have with Walmart is the quality. The only stuff I buy there is consumable.
Unfortunately this doesn't work when I actually need a specific item like a pair of jeans or something like that.
Other reasons could be people have poor delivery from their UPS driver, stolen packages, some people prefer not having people come to their door, some people feel empowered by going out and getting what they want, when they want to get it.
The biggest reason could be that it's ultimately a lower price for everyone, assuming its cheaper to hire junior employees to walk the store and pick my groceries vs hiring a driver and a truck to take the stuff to everyones door (plus someone to do all the picking).
Folks can come by after picking up their kids and get their groceries dropped in their car off the side of the building without leaving the car. All for a flat 4.95$
Bonus if the "updates" (ads) were targeted to me. If I were vegetarian, it should know not to show me about prime rib, for instance. If it sees I only buy granola or mainly health foods, don't give me ads about lucky charms. and not 30 second commercials either, just quick intros, with video/pictures, and a few facts about relevant products.
Actually, that just occurred to me, if you included recipes with the advertising, that wouldn't bother me at all. Just like reddit's DIY, start with the finished "product", then say " to make this, buy these things" (of course with a shortcut to just add them all to your cart) "and do this:" (cue to video of person making the dish).
but back to advertising, just quick (15s) videos with simple information and price. maybe with sideways scrolling so if I'm looking at margarine, it also has quick links to butter and vegetable oil. Don't skimp on video: each product has the same demo video/advertisement so I can compare them.
If you'd like to use my referral link we each get $10 off the next order. http://r.wmt.co/e0nUh
Not to mention they destroy local and small businesses, which is/was the biggest driver of middle class wealth. They are anti-union and anti-workers rights. They are everything wrong with the USA. Sell out your neighbors and fellow citizens, give an already far overreaching government more reasons to tax you, and to boot, prop up a communist government thousands of miles away that is completely destroying the environment.
Seems worth it for a $2 shirt to me. Maybe your child can grow up to be a factory worker making $2 shirts for other people in a polluted city and then they can reflect on the choices of their parents, such as yourselves.
I may be biased given that I've shopped at Fry's Electronics since their very first store, in a long-since-demolished, tiny former Fry's Grocery store on Oakmead.
The monetary cost to you, acting as a consumer is an incredible $6 or, $2 a shirt; However, as a citizen of earth, the environmental and social costs of buying cheap garments from places like Walmart is absolutely, shockingly enormous. 
It's just currently impossible to produce clothing at that price in an even slightly responsible way. Unfortunately, buying super cheap garments is really taking out a loan out against the future and that bonded or forced labour is probably involved.  If you're a documentary person, "The True Cost" is really worth watching. 
There is a few apps that can help people make informed choices before a purchase  and of course, great brands like Patagonia  who make quality clothing in a responsible way.
There are also amazingly good quality items in second hand stores around the world too, I know there can be some stigma attached to second hand clothing, but it's only stigma, it wears off quickly and no one knows you have a second hand shirt on.
I have a friend who works at a second hand store, which is part of franchise, and there are a lot good quality, safe items in surplus around the world waiting to be worn again.
Often for some folks anything worn represents a costume.
I looked at your first link and to be honest, it seems like we have a lot more important environmental issues to address.
I usually buy my clothes at Uniqlo or Zara. As much as I'd like to do the right thing instead, I can't justify paying the massive premium for boutique and artisan stuff manufactured in western regions, except the occasional specific premium item, like a Rapha or Outlier jacket.
In OP's case those are clothes for a small child, that will outgrow them quickly, which makes the cheap option even more attractive.
Jet, on the other hand, has no spam problem, prices usually better than local stores, and very reliable free two day shipping. Hopefully they can scale up.
With all that, it would be completely unsurprising to find out that Amazon runs their warehouse and goods movement more efficiently than Walmart does, but they still don't own the entire stack like Walmart does.
On top of that, Walmart gets companies to produce entire product lines at prices that they themselves pretty much set. Amazon is just going to take a cut of a lot of sales while Walmart is getting the margin they want.
Technology wise I'd say it's a safe bet that Amazon is light years ahead, but don't sleep on Walmart Labs and their ability to innovate. Just don't expect it to be as useful to us as AWS.
I know everyone likes to bag on Walmart for being 'cheap' and/or 'shit' but at least if I buy a brand from Walmart I can be extremely confident in it being the real thing. Which has been getting to be (at least personally) a huge issue with me for Amazon and has started moving me to buy more things at other stores (including Walmart).
There are tradeoffs between the two, but I think they both run tight ships and are in the best position to be each other's biggest competitor.
Walmart does not have a competitive advantage in logistical areas. Have a look at a youtube video of what happens in an Amazon FC. Amazon does not simply box packages and ship them.
I would say Amazon is implementing the physical manifestation of algorithms onto physical goods, but that only scratches the surface of the complexity required to optimize the entire chain from customer desire to fulfillment.
I do a lot of doodling boxes-and-arrows stuff, pseudo-UML, half-assed flow-charts, etc., when working on ideas. For some strange (and largely irrelevant) reason, I'm really picky about the pencils I use. And my favorite ones have apparently gone out of production. So last week, I order two new high-end mechanical drafting pencils from Amazon. They show up, I like them right away, so I order 5 more.
The package arrives, and there are only 3 pencils. From what I can tell, they were loosely slopped in along with the book that in the same order and the packaging was loose enough that I'm guessing the other 2 actually fell out.
I login to Amazon.com (this was on Friday), report the 2 missing pencils, and wait to see what happens.
A few hours later I get a notice that a replacement package is 5 pencils is being overnighted to me. Note that only two were lost from the original package.
For all the grief Amazon gets, at times their customer service can be pretty damn good.
Wal-Mart, OTOH, to me, just "feels" like a place to get mostly cheap crap, sold by underpaid employees with surly attitudes. I don't even think of walmart.com as a place to shop online. They're so far off my radar that they might as well not have e-commerce.
The question then, to me, is how many people have a world view like mine? And if the answer is a large number, how does Wal-Mart get people to consider them at all? Leveraging the hybrid "click and mortar" thing sounds like a good start, but I'm wondering if it will be enough.
Walmart at least gives the appearance of curation for quality - It's at least easy to go see the quality of the things walmart is carrying. Amazon seems to be more of a crap shoot.
Doesn't Wal-mart have a pretty good return policy, where you don't even need a receipt? (Things might have changed since I last made a return)
Amazon's site quality seem to have gone down, according to many). How hard would it be for them to fix their brand? How long would that take ?
That's not going to happen anytime soon. Walmart is trying to offer service like Amazon, but they don't have their shit together enough to succeed at that level.
Recently I wanted to buy a new Roku, and the Walmart site said it was available for pickup today nearby store. Great! I can order it and pick it up on my way home. But wait, when I select it and go to checkout, the site now tells me it will be available for pickup in 5 days. WTF Walmart?!!
Their site was being stupid, so I decided to just stop at Walmart on my way home and buy it. When I get there I have to spend time to track down an employee, and they have to track down someone with keys to get it out of the glass case. Then I realize their in-store price is $10 higher than online, so I have to wait while they track down a manager. After all that bullshit, the the manager tells me they can't match the price on their own fucking website.
I took out my phone and ordered it from Amazon in front of the Walmart manager.
Walmart's literally the Fortune One. I wouldn't necessarily count them out quite yet.
Isn't that normal? People who use Internet can easily compare prices in different shops so the price for them is more competitive. And people who have already spent their time to get to the shop are not so picky so they can pay more.
Here's a fun chart from Google Finance: 10-Year Wal-Mart vs Amazon stock performance:
Amazon needs to grow 5x the size it is today to reach Wal-Mart scale. They can get there and they're growing more quickly which is why the market has AMZN worth $388B market cap vs. $205B for WMT.
Amazon has a long way to go, I believe they can become the first trillion dollar revenue company but it won't be without a fight from Wal-Mart, FedEx/UPS, regional groceriers, Alibaba (I expect to see them in the US market in 2017), etc.
For Amazon to reach WMT revenue, assume WMT stays flat now and AMZN continues to grow at 27% Y/Y it'd be 2022 before the pass WMT in scale. If they average half of their current growth rate over the full period to reach WMT's current scale it won't happen until 2026 -- basically another full decade.
They could have been better, sure, but that's hardly a disaster.
You are such a tough guy!
When I got my first iPhone I was recommended a Zagg screen protector. I found that Walmart online had the best deal so I ordered it for in-store pickup. I was notified the day it arrived and headed back to the Layaway area. Nobody was there, but there was a little kiosk where I could enter my info and someone would fetch my item for me. Seemed like a very efficient setup. Walk in, get my thing, and leave.
After putting my info into the kiosk and being told my item was on its way, I waited. And waited. And waited. About 15 minutes in, after entering the info into the kiosk again and not getting a response, I called the store and asked for a manager. It took me a minute to get them to understand that I was calling from inside their store to get my item. But finally, they got it and assured me that someone would be bringing out my item shortly.
Another 15 minutes of waiting and I HAD TO CALL THEM AGAIN! And explain, again, that, "Yes, I'm standing inside your store, waiting for the thing I purchased. We talked about this already."
All told, I was probably there for 45 minutes before I got my item. That was the last time I bought something from Walmart.
Now, I'll concede that this was almost 10 years ago and maybe they've changed. But Walmart has never been known for the best customer service, and Amazon is always fantastic when I have to deal with them. So I'm placing my bet on Amazon in this particular race.
Tho there are other tradeoffs (mainly expected latency).
I had to read this intro 3 times to wrap my brain around the 2.5 negations, just to find out you DO think Walmart is not capable of competing with Amazon :)
Actually, thinking Walmart is capable does not follow from not thinking they aren't capable. The subject doesn't think they are incapable of giving any hard times. Overall this is perhaps the weakest vote of confidence in Walmart possible, I would read this: "There exists the possibility that Walmart is capable of giving Amazon one or more hard times."
That's the best I can do.
On reflection the word 'thinking' is crucial, because is suggests a level of uncertainty. Without that uncertainty: !(not walmart is not capable) <-> walmart is capable.
Brand and impressions are critical when switching cost is nil. Amazon is not perfect but it's not due to their fault, it's always the carrier delivering items late.
Argos especially is much better than anything I've seen in the U.S. in that regard. They have a subset of more commonly ordered items labeled "FastTrack" items, meaning you can typically pick up within 1 hour at any location (you can check ahead of time whether the item is in stock for 1-hour pickup at your desired location, but it usually is). Other items are typically available the next day, with the exception of some larger stuff (furniture, etc.) that might take longer. And if you don't want in-store pickup, you can get home delivery within a chosen 3-hour window the next day, which I find a lot more convenient than even Amazon Prime, where you can't specify which time of day you want the delivery.
In the 1990s, everyone I knew (as a child) had an Argos catalogue at home. It was simple to write down product numbers, give them to the cashier, pay, then wait at the counter for the goods to be handed to you. Depending how busy the shop was, the waiting time would be 2-5 minutes.
The website says "FastTrack" means collection within 60 seconds of ordering. That's the slight change since I lived in Britain.
Besides which, isn't Amazon a cloud tech company with a vestigial retailing arm?
That's sort of like trying to pin down General Electric. At some point, you have to give up with the "they are a $foo company" thinking and accept that they've grown past the boundaries and limitations imposed by a single market.
First, they ship 30% of their orders from their own warehouse.
Second, if jet.com was a "bubble" company, with nothing to back themselves up, i'm not sure Walmart would have ackuired them for $3B.
Wow. No wonder Wal-Mart bought them, they're cut from the same cloth.
As to discerning a reason, no clue. At least 2 of them were competent coders, so no idea why they never asked me anything.
Disclaimer: I am probably biased because I used to work for Amazon
I'm not sure I agree with that. Amazon already has such a poor reputation but they don't seem to have any trouble attracting people to work there. Considering the turnover* there, the fact they are able to grow this quickly must mean there are ways to get people to join despite having a poor reputation.
Walmart Labs on the other hand has a good reputation so you could even argue that if Walmart plays its cards right, it actually has an advantage in that aspect of attracting tech talent. I mean they even use Clojure..
* I admit this is anecdotal but I live in Seattle and used to work there and the average tenure is fairly low from what I've seen.
It wasn't that long ago that a regional manager forced people to work off the clock and walmart lost a major suit against minimum wage employees. Even though other store managers and walmart executives scrambled to tighten rules, enforce already present rules and denounce that one manager, their image was already tainted. Stuff like that sticks with the public consciousness for decades.
I already have a strong distaste for Amazon and have been using Newegg where possible.
So far I've had success with finding other vendors. I've been using Target, Walmart, third party retailers, the manufacturer, and AliExpress as an alternative. Heck I've been shopping locally more.
However I don't know that many people who are/were happy at 126, while to my surprise everyone I've met who works at Walmart labs seems happy with it.
(not much of a wal mart customer, BTW)
His own words: https://twitter.com/eranhammer/status/824006905253089280
At some point they'll need to spin off AWS.
Walmart did most of the innovation in the back office space 30 years ago.
While Jeff Bezos isn't an angel, at least he's doing things with his money that I find noble, like Blue Origin and contributing millions to expand the computer science program at the University of Washington
I shudder to think of a future where Walmart dominates the tech logistics scene. Might there be a "Committee for a Third Term for Donald Trump" SuperPAC in the future?
Walmart has 0.03% net income margins. If you raise the hourly pay for the average Walmart employee, by $3 to $4 per hour, Walmart is bankrupt. Meanwhile Amazon is going to begin substantially digging in to Walmart's sales with their growth. As Walmart's sales begin to contract in the coming years, that will pressure their non-existent margins further. If Walmart raises prices to afford the pay hikes, Amazon will damage Walmart's business that much faster. In the near future, Amazon is likely to rupture Walmart's business in such a fashion as to cause financial losses that cause hundreds of thousands of low skill workers to lose their jobs (with no replacement jobs). Walmart's likely future is to tip over, bleed epic amounts of red ink (they don't even have a large enough cash balance to afford one year in that condition), close hundreds of stores, and fire a million workers.
You can either have Walmart employ far too many people as it does now, at low wages (which has the advantage of absorbing vast amounts of low value, low skilled labor). Or you can have Walmart employ far fewer people per dollar of sales, in the model of Costco, and have higher pay. You can't - and will never - have both.
Not just Walmart.
In Germany, Amazon actually reduced their reliance on DHL, UPS and DPD... by contracting out almost their entire logistics to Hermes.
If you've never heard of it, Hermes Logistics belongs to the OTTO Group, Europe's largest online retailer group (you likely don't know them, but basically every store contracts out their online shops to OTTO, and OTTO also has their own shops)
It's interesting when even Amazon contracts out their entire logistics to a competitor.
They're going to give Amazon a real competitor. Amazon may be getting better at a lot of things, but the actual experience of shopping online with them is getting worse. I search for an item and i get a hellscape of poorly categorized over-MSRP 3rd party sellers.
a Fedex hub in Memphis
For purchasing online, most people just immediately type "amazon" into their web browser. People will never have any reason to do anything differently, unless Amazon starts screwing up the user experience, or becomes significantly more expensive than other online sites. Neither of those things is likely to happen.
Suggesting that such things will happen is like suggesting that some other search engine is going to quickly replace Google.
I guess all bets are off when one tries to look ten years out–the entire world can change radically in ten years–but personally, I'd bet good money that Amazon and Google will still be the largest players by far for their markets.
The more interesting question, I think, is for how long will Amazon maintain its lead in cloud computing. Cloud computing is something of a commodity, so companies will have a great deal of incentive to go with whoever can do it most cheaply. As long as they do it well, that is. I'd still put my money on Amazon.
Walmart is a perfect example of the difficulty of a business not disrupting itself. They could have caught up perhaps five years ago, but not now.
Here's the thing: the family still controls it. They are billionaires many times over. To seriously compete with AMZN would take many billions a year, many years in a row, and frankly, you need a guy like Bezos who just doesn't care about anything besides winning. Walmart has had nothing of the sort and the focus on their physical store base was a major distraction during the time they could have caught up. There's obviously TONS of tech involved in AMZN's retail operations, and WMT will simply never be able to hire as many or the same caliber as AMZN can (despite AMZN's poor employer reputation)
Not to mention the fact that their CEOs are concerned about the stock price a few years from now from their RSUs or stock options, and massive e-commerce investments would certainly drive EPS and/or the dividend down which is basically how Walmart is valued in the public market.
The culture, just everything is different and superior at AMZN.
My impression of Walmart is forever tainted by the few recent store experiences I've had. They have no idea where or if inventory is in the store and no one wants to help you find it if so. The last few Walmarts I've been to have had rusty shopping carts that barely roll. And that was in Palo Alto, which has to have much higher incomes than average.
Amazon now has the advantage that the freight train that is FBA has started rolling and just won't stop for a very long time. AWS operating income and FBA fees subsidize their own retail gross margins, which would make it even hard for WMT to compete.
And good luck getting your marketplace partners to deliver as on-time and reliably as AMZN already has gotten theirs to.
Walmart has mid single-digit operating profit margins (profit before taxes and interest). That makes every 1% price reduction (if they were to seriously compete on price) reduce their profit by 15-20%!
Otoh Walmart is much more subjected to the whims of the stock market and their stock price than amazon is. As such they can't afford to take the same risks with capital.
Dude in full hunting regalia spit what I assumed was tobacco on the floor.
I went to K-Mart, which was better. K-mart... was... better...
I'm long on AMZN.
Amazon is first a foremost a data-driven company. Companies say this so much that it's now a cliche, but you better believe it with Amazon.
As an exclusively online (until recently) retailer, every single sale goes through their data warehouse. Every single product, price, clicks are all stored - think of the analytical capability of that consolidated store of data. Amazon is probably the singly largest reserve of economics data.
Moreover, I am fully certain every one of their products, cars, trucks, planes and even people are hooked up into real-time tracking. When you have that much data all centralised, and the scale of Amazon, real life problems start to resemble CS problems and Fulfillment Centers and logistics start resembling CDNs.
If only Amazon has extensive knowledge of the workings of CDNs... oh wait.
Walmart had 4 times the annual sales revenue of Amazon and they store every single transaction as well. They don't have the click data, but they certainly have far more actual purchasing data.
[EDIT]not to mention that as an online store Amazon can do all kinds of automated A/B testing in real-time.
At best with Walmart, in stores can capture some of this with a loyalty card and credit card.
People have been asking this question about Amazon for many years now. I am not saying it wont go down but its a bit tiring hearing the sky is about to fall for Amazon.
and one day replace everything with robots
Considering the growth of its number of employees, it seems to me that currently Amazon seems to increasing employment and not reducing it. Or am I wrong and is for every new Amazon employee at least one employee fired elsewhere?
Trump himself has told foreign born, but now legal citizens, to "get out of his country." He's imploding our relations with long-time allies.
It's not hard for me to see Trump not caring that 100k+ jobs are being created if it means they're not going to get him any prestige for making them. He'll undermine Amazon or Google if there's a shot at doing something else over here to create jobs, so long as it makes him look good.
I'm also amazed they are saying American workers just can't compete with foreigners.
> Trump himself has told foreign born, but now legal citizens, to "get out of his country."
In the video that circulated yesterday, I think that was a security guard, not Trump himself.
I feel like Trump has trained people to not believe anything he says, until it happens, and then people think he's doing exactly what he said he would do. The president said Amazon is going to have problems.
And drone delivery... I don't see that being successful for Amazon for another 10 years. Too many technical, legal, and cultural hurdles for that to happen faster, if ever.
Population has been shifting from rural to urban for decades, Walmart's advantage is in a shrinking market.
Drone delivery is marketing nonsense anyway.
I will take back my comment when I can order something from Walmart online and get it within an hour. In fact, Walmart is BEST positioned to do this BECAUSE every one of their stores is a de facto warehouse and they have a ridiculous headcount
There is no way that 231K could have hired 110K that fast without getting lots who were not above average.
There is probably a calculated advantage to becoming an average-to-below-average giant giant as a follow-up to above average e-commerce, logistics, or web gigantism.
And to allow Amazon to make bigger profits for itself by laying off or continuing to exploit workers rather than valuing automation as a method so humans can work less.
The automation is coming, yes, and many very tedious tasks are being automated but Amazon has never laid off warehouse employees because a robot replaced them- they just move those humans to jobs robots can't do yet, and grow faster.
In some respects I believe the re-purposing of humans for other jobs may be worse.
Incorrect. If that is true, it's only temporary. It is passed to the consumer via lower prices due to competition pressure.
Why should it go to the 'consumer'?
We're all in the same market, I don't see why you would have to make a distinction between 'labourers' and 'consumer'.
Walmart had 2.3 million worldwide and 1.4 million in the US as of 2016.
FedEx globally had 400k+ as of the end of 2016.
USPS had 493,381 career employees 131,732 non-career employees as of January 2016.
Edit: Disregard this, I can't read.
Furthermore I wouldn't be surprised if many of these new jobs ended up being automated in the near future. The free market still hasn't figured out a solution to that particular problem last I checked.
Interesting, I think the entire industrial revolution is a very strong counter example to that statement. We repeatedly automated the majority of jobs on the planet every few decades and we saw the largest expansion of wealth and prosperity for the majority of humans in all of history. Should we lament over those subsistence farming jobs that were automated away?
The free market isn't some singular entity that figures out problems before they arrive and sends us all an executive summary of its plan. We currently don't have mass unemployment from automation, and I don't agree with many of the reasons people express for worrying. The only arguments I've seen against mass automation are hints of some dystopian future where somehow robots are prohibitively expensive for all but the richest people, and goods will somehow be cheap enough from automation that non-automated manufacturing can't compete, but still expensive enough that if we don't work 40 hours a week we'll starve.
You could make a fairly strong argument that is was the very real threat of Communist revolution in Western Europe (e.g. Germany in the 1930s, or Italy and France post-WW2) that forced governments to adopt socialist programs that moderated many of the excesses of the market, or in the US, the massive government investment in the middle class as well as draconian anti-left measures that prevented a similar threat.
We've so far ended up in a somewhat decent place, but if history is any measure, we're going to have a rocky next few decades if technology does end up destroying or transforming demand for labor. People generally don't go quietly when their livelihoods or place in the social order are threatened.
> "In managing the earth, vegetation and animals, the first priority of medieval men and women was to produce food, but they also expected to receive the benefits of their work in the foreseeable future, so the practised (to use the modern term) 'sustainable' agriculture. They planned for the same land to yield crops regularly, and the appreciated that well-managed resources renewed themselves. They anticipated the changeability of the seasons and the harvests, and hoped that their farming methods would allow them to survive in a year of unusual weather, for example by planting a variety of crops. At no time or place within our period can they be described as 'subsistence farmers' [emphasis added], in the sense that they ate only food that they had grown, or that they produced solely for their own consumption needs. They always expected that their land would yield a surplus, whether for the benefit of the state, the church or their lords, or for exchange for goods and services which they could not obtain from their own land.
Now, I'm not going to pretend that the industrial revolution was obviously bad for most people, but to say it was obviously good is wrong too. It's a complex thing, and it's not clear whether people are happier or even healthier in an industrial economy than an agrarian one.
Plague, famine, et al, sure sounds happier and healthier than compared to modern (First World) living.
Even if you look back at hunter-gatherer societies where it's been claimed that leisure time was substantially greater than today, things like infant mortality make that seem like hell.
I take these type of historical deconstructions with a large grain of salt; it used to be the idea of the Noble Savage, now it's moving on to medieval times.
Those changes in infant mortality, for example, are largely due to better hygiene around births and in handling infants. Wash your hands and boil your water; you can still be in an agrarian economy and do this.
A society which knows about warp travel, but has chosen to live an agrarian lifestyle again, while keeping their technological knowledge.
I think it comes from a pretty triumphalist view of the last 300 years rather than any real history. So basically: I agree.
Nobody had modern medicine or electricity that far back anyway.
By now there's no reason for anyone urban or rural to do without medicine or electricity unless their society is consuming more than it produces, or is handling surplus in unbalanced ways.
Maybe paradise would be more within reach if those little problems could be overcome.
>The free market isn't some singular entity that figures out problems before they arrive and sends us all an executive summary of its plan.
Obviously, which is why I think it's a good idea to have a few regulations in place so that we, as a society, might figure out our plan and how to make the transition a little less painful for those who have to suffer the consequences. Not that you argued against regulations in the first place but from your comments I assumed you and pm90 were of the libertarian kind.
I'll repeat the point: We have 250 years of experience of jobs disappearing to automation.
The counterintuitive result is an enormously increased living standard for regular people. It's hard to compute by how much, but economists who try come up with a factor of 20x to 30x.
I don't think modern society is in any way ready to reoptimize for the accelerating displacement that robotics and ai bring.
It's not the same thing, and we aren't ready for it, partly just because people don't recognize the difference between the two.
That era has lifted the greatest number of people out of poverty in history. Employment and income keeps going normally.
I agree that it's possible that this trend will break. But be aware that all through these 250 years, people have constantly predicted this, and always had plausible arguments for why "this time it's different".
Wait till the software engineering jobs are automated away.
A lot of that wealth was obtained by unsustainably extracting our planet's natural resources. The past 100 years have been good, relatively speaking, but we did it in part by mortgaging our descendents' futures for many generations to come.
To alleviate the pain of the transition, sometimes we need to slow it down. The tough part is figuring out how much drag to apply so that it slows but doesn't halt.
There was a graph not to long ago that showed the most common job in each state. In a huge swath of them, that job was "Truck Driver". What're those people going to do to put food on the table or a roof over their family's head when those jobs are automated away?
Now, I'm not some heartless jerk who doesn't recognize that the short-term effects of job loss on unskilled workers. It is certainly a hard problem, but I'm still not convinced that we will have some epic labor shortage because all unskilled jobs will vanish too quickly.
And while labor-saving tech is, overall a good thing, there are lots of people still counting on those mundane jobs to put food on the table. And so far, no one is willing to think of what happens to them, or prepare for when those jobs go away. And if we don't do that, if we rely on "the market" to do the right thing, we will see that epic labor shortage which leads to the dystopian future.
Today growth is very anemic owing to market saturation and declining birth rates.
That was bogus, it had to do with the fact that "Truck Driver" didn't have fine-grained sub-classification in the taxonomy, while jobs like "teacher" did.
The average 55 year old has nothing to fear from semi-autonomous vehicle technology affecting their careers
To say this is because of the free market, when most technology development is heavily government funded, even in the USA is just plain wrong.
This can be a source of much confusion because it is often unclear from a single encounter whether someone criticizing "populism" is an elitist opposed to politics genuinely directed at the interests of the masses, or simply warning of authoritarian demagoguery.
Retail vs Warehouse? I don't think it's much different in quality.
A ton of Retail is Warehouse anyway, just inside a store with customers vs a building with robots.
But a lot of retail jobs involve the stockroom with heavy boxes and crates, and a lot of bending and lifting to put products on shelves.
And much of Amazon jobs involve retrieving lightweight items from shelves to put in a bin.
The jobs are not that different.
Haven't they transitioned all their warehouses to the model where the person stays stationary, and robots bring product to the person? Or is that only in selected warehouses?
That's not to say standing in one position is any better or less stressful (might even be more so, if you've ever seen videos of the robots in action on the floor).
I think that packing the shipping boxes is still all manual in all the warehouses.
Their business practices are terrible and their boom has really hurt everyone not in tech in their home of Seattle.
They're another piece, but quite a large piece, in a consumption based world that's simply not sustainable. We are in a world today where we simply buy things, all the time. Companies like Amazon have a vested interest in ensuring we never stop making purchases.
For instance, the claim of the 4 job cuts for every job that Amazon creates is based on the following statistics: the number of new hires at Amazon in a certain period, against the number of jobs lost in the brick and mortar retail industry in the same period.
Apparently the assumption is made that every single job loss in the brick and mortar retail industry is to blame on Amazon. As if Amazon is the only Internet retail shop in the USA.
The rest of the report is full with other weak claims and sensational titles as well. It appears that the writers had their conclusions already made up before they started investigating ...
1. it's not a free market. that was a thought experiment actually. there is no such thing as a free market, and even if there was, the U.S. economy isn't one.
2. market fundamentalism is unbecoming
I don't. Being forced to sell your labour in order to survive doesn't sound all that good to me. Nor the environmental damage due to pursuit of profits.
> Being forced to sell your labour in order to survive
we sell our labor because we live in a complex society where our skills our specialized and our lifestyle is massively interdependent. we need to use the money abstraction to mediate trades because of our specialization and interdependency. thus we sell labor. selling labor for profit, for providing specialized services to your community, or for the pure joy of it is one thing. selling labor from a position of alienation and need for subsistence is another.
an advanced industrial economy has much more productive capacity than is needed for pure subsistence levels of existence. we could supply survival essentials to everyone in the U.S. and still be hugely in the surplus. UBI is a popular idea among economists for exactly this reason. it's a proposed solution to a major problem of distribution of wealth.
There are many valid critiques to be made of governments which have attempted to implement Communism or Socialism, I'm not here to defend them, merely to propose that their failure does not, at least necessarily, implicate Communism. Furthermore by the same logic, I cannot see why capitalism ought to be get a leash when the real world examples have consistently shown that it leads to exploitation and recklessness or active harm to the environment globally and locally, and the resulting inbalance of wealth leading to poverty.
Capitalism is no meritocracy. It's better than feudalism, and that's about it.
If comparisons are being made, they should be done so between "ideal capitalist society" and its alternatives.
Almost everyone I encounter that opposes the slide back toward 19th century capitalism from mixed economies favors maintaining mixed economies with basically capitalist property rights, with very minor additional compensatory measures to treat some of capitalism's failure modes. You can find people supporting classical utopian Marxist ideas (or the divergences from it rooted in Leninism) but they seem to be o creasingly rare even as a proportion of critics.of capitalism.
Bet you'll love it a lot less when Amazon has eliminated most competition and will start increasing their margins to pay back shareholders.
are you being sarcastic dude
I thought it was pretty common knowledge that traditional B&M consumer goods retailers have been struggling for a long time.