Typical houses are built on the LAMP stack, not Rails. A lot of configuration and many of the conventions embodied are Rick 's and Rick ain't around. There are lots of corner cases built into any structure, and clean quick and straightforward pricing models by necessity come with lots of caveats. There's often a reason a light switch needs replacing that's bigger than just swapping out a part. The old one is still there because replacement was nasty work.
Throw a retail model at this and people expect refunds just because. I no-shit-know someone who had no problem taking back fresh from the ground annual flowers to Home Depot at the end of the season for a refund. The fact that new waste pipes won't work that way is why contracts matter. Good plumbers are busy and paid well, Amazon can't Uberfy them. It's not a commodity skill like driving a clean late model car. Sawzalls are involved and expert experienced judgement is required. They'd do better with web developers because they would nit have to solve the locality problem.
And when he did, they asked him for his driver's license. There's an annual limit to how much you can return without a receipt. Home Depot doesn't care so much, because if you're returning things that way ... they're just giving you store credit. You're going to have to buy something again and eventually, you'll end up spending lots of money there. It works out for them in the long run.
Lowes, Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond, they all operate the same way. They'd much rather you buy lots of stuff and return some of it, then buy a few things.
She told me stories like someone coming in with a 3 year old, completely ripped shower curtain and getting a refund.
So to be honest, I'd have no problem believing that they'd refund cash old flowers at the end of the year.
Amazon makes dozens of "products" every year, to do press releases, to sell more Amazon stock/keep the stock price high. Most of these products never become real.
Even AWS was a fake product-- they claimed it was "the infrastructure that ran Amazon.com", which was a straight up lie. (I worked for the company at the time.) All they had was S3. This product stuck to the wall and grew and became a real product over time, and so they backfilled.
This strategy works for them because when something disappears (remember google glass? Yeah, it really is gone, it made no sense to begin with, but they won't admit it) .... nobody remembers it.
Amazon wasted so much time on nonsense. We had 4 reorgs a year and a lot of chaos because they were constantly spinning up random teams for BS initiatives -- many of whome were nothing more than a press release.
I'm not saying this is wrong (except the dishonesty about AWS)...just that Amazon announcing a product doesn't mean Amazon will be providing that product.
Here's a key thing that people miss about amazon-- it is NOT a tech company. It should not be mentioned along with Google, Apple & Facebook.
Amazon is a retailer, most of the employees are retailers and the whole management structure is retail guys. Not engineers. Outside of AWS there's very little engineering resources at all given what they need to do, just to maintain the core business.
They're running 20 year old code that 10 years ago was crashing regularly-- eg Amazon.com going down so you can't b uy cell phones or whatever.
I've worked for a lot of startups and a lot of big tech companies, like Apple, Microsoft etc. Amazon is not a tech company.
If you're an engineer you should never go work there-- the management is all non-engineer types. My bosses training was to be a prison guard! He could barely handle excel but was criticizing our code. His boss was no better- a DMV reject. (literally), and all the way up to Bezos who is not an engineer either.
My boss, by the way was dealing weed in the PacMed garage to other employees. The entire team left because he was such an asshole-- and he got promoted as a result!
Company is pretty much a joke.
I know on HN you're not allowed(?) to say negative things about big "tech" companies. I may be shadowbanned for ti, but Amazon was a terrible, TERRIBLE place to work. Microsoft had too much bureaucracy and was too "corporate" for me, but you can understand why they were the way they were-- amazon on the other hand was absolutely terrible. It's run by people who are extremely arrogant and have no regard for anybody -not investors, not suppliers, and least of all employees. It is the most employee hostile place I ever worked. All advancement is political and because of stack ranking its really easy to stab people in the back. Terrible company. (I've had a lot of jobs, worked for disorganized startups-- but the key difference is whether management gives a damn about employees or not. Amazon they don't, they're hostile, everywhere else has not been that way- even bad management is usually just incompetent, not hostile.)
Amazon is way more than a tech company, and the tech side of it is indeed just a portion of the overall organization, but your use of quotes on "tech company" is just derogatory and unnecessary. I have very little contact with "business" people, and they in no way determine how much I get paid or what I work on, they are there to support the business and are accountants, financial managers, etc.
> It is a negative because Amazon doesn't have that many resources or talent. They are short on engineers.
Who isn't? Most companies are short on talented engineers.
> Outside of AWS there's very little engineering resources at all given what they need to do, just to maintain the core business.
Shows how little you know about the company. Instant Video is huge, Website is huge, other/restricted projects are huge, and there are a lot of engineers on all those teams. Thinking AWS holds most of the engineers really shows how uninformed you are.
> If you're an engineer you should never go work there-- the management is all non-engineer types.
As an engineer, your manager WILL BE a former SDE. If you are a manager, however, then maybe your manager may not have been an engineer.
> All advancement is political and because of stack ranking its really easy to stab people in the back
The type of "stack ranking" people refer to as being evil is not the same that's practiced at Amazon (it's barely stack ranking at all). And you saying that advancement is political, just shows that you're disgruntled with the company, this is just not true (for engineers at least).
The other points you make are either subjective or anecdotes, but overall I think you just hate the company for some reason and are spilling every negative interaction you ever had.
I truly hope talented people don't buy on your negativity.
Amazon is definitely not a terrible place to work at, even though it does have some problems (what company doesn't?).
and you being so defensive about a simple comment are NOT a good sign about a company's culture and image.
But I also saw stuff that, like that letter, I consider to be wrong. The latter refers to criminal actions-- I am not a lawyer so I can't say whether what the company did was illegal or not, but I certainly thought it was wrong.
One thing about that letter that rang true in my experience was that the company does not follow its own internal policies or handbook.
Amazon HR was dishonest to me, deceptive and engaged in what I consider to be fraud.
Personally, I have no trouble buying a lot of what he's selling, not least because I've seen his posts around here for a good while and he seems like a decent sort, but it also dovetails with my own experience. YMMV, but I'm not calling you a liar.
I'm somewhat doubting that MCRed is lying, because he has some credibility to me through a history of good and productive posting, but it's possible.
>Thinking AWS holds most of the engineers really shows how uninformed you are.
Telling a lie about me to attempt to impeach my point is what's known as ad hominem.
>As an engineer, your manager WILL BE a former SDE.
FALSE. During my time there I had multiple managers (due to re-orgs.) and NOT ONE of them was a former SDE.
Not one of them was competent enough to manage programmers. None of them knew what a service oriented architecture was, or how version control worked (they thought of it as a backup), or how to write a simple program in ANY language. And this was true all the way between me and Bezos.
>The type of "stack ranking" people refer to as being evil is not the same that's practiced at Amazon
FALSE. It is exactly the same, with managers having to lobby, and whole teams of people who are "out of favor" with an upper manager getting lower salary because of the higher level stack.
>I have very little contact with "business" people, and they in no way determine how much I get paid
You impeach yourself by admitting that Amazon uses stack ranking which directly contradicts this claim.
Amazon is a terrible place to work at-- in an extensive career, it was, by far, the worst job.
Not only because of the problems, but because the management doesn't give a damn, and is actually hostile to employees-- that's what makes it really bad.
All companies have problems. Amazon has fundamental disrespect for engineers.
I think Amazon is not an easy company to work at, mostly because engineers are squeezed like lemons but they don't benefit much from it. However, this can also happen at "cool" startups, or other large companies such as Apple.
Also, a couple of things are lies (but every company has its own set of lies); AWS was never based on Amazon's extra capacity, but that's something that came out and stayed there for years. And also, the "large volume, low margins" is not true in the case of AWS.
Other than that, I think that I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have worked there; I've learned a ton and thanks to that I got a job I couldn't dream of ten years ago.
> As an engineer, your manager WILL BE a former SDE. If you are a manager, however, then maybe your manager may not have been an engineer.
Totally untrue. I spent many years at Amazon, with most of my managers being managers by trade and half of them being openly non-technical.
>> All advancement is political and because of stack ranking its really easy to stab people in the back
> The type of "stack ranking" people refer to as being evil is not the same that's practiced at Amazon (it's barely stack ranking at all). And you saying that advancement is political, just shows that you're disgruntled with the company, this is just not true (for engineers at least).
If you are not a manager, you do not have direct visibility into this process and cannot make this claim. If you are a manager, then you're aware that every department is run very differently and should also be aware that some of them are very political.
I'm curious on what you think separates Amazon's interpretation of stack ranking from the "bad" versions, or how it is "barely" stack ranking at all.
This is not strictly true. I was at Amazon for 4 years (2004 - 2008 in Supply Chain and Retail), I had 3 managers. Only 1 of them was a former SDE.
And do I know if what is true 100% of the time? Asking coding questions in a SDM loop? I have no idea. While I was there, I was only on TPM and SDE loops.
But when I say they couldn't code, I mean that literally-- for one example degree in criminal justice, no knowledge of software practices, etc. This isn't another way of saying they were "bad programmers". No bad programmers can make great managers.
Politics was a huge factor. If a team worked really hard during the quarter and got a lot done, but hadn't shipped their feature yet, they risked all bering in the "underperforming" category, simply to allow a peer team to have more "over performers" to reward them-- for actually delivering or for sufficiently sucking off the appropriate boss (or not getting knives in your back.)
There were a lot of (metaphorical) blowjobs and knives in the back in that organization.
Which is what you have to have when ALL of the management is non-technical.
You can't have a meritocracy when the people assigning ratings are incapable of judging merit.
But you also won't get promoted just because of seniority, most of what people say about being hard to get promoted is true. However, there are only 3 SDE levels if you don't count Principal, so SDE II has a very large range of pay rates, and you don't need to get promoted to get a higher pay. Higher levels are all about being a better leader and influencing more people. There are people who spend 10 years as SDE II and are happy with it, because they don't care about leading others, they just care about doing their job, and this is fine.
However I suppose that it stands to reason that perhaps that phenomena is due to the fact that greener managers may have greener engineers working under them who are perhaps more prone to mistakes or may not be a good fit.
But here's the real kicker that makes the company so stupid- if you're on the lower half of the rank, you're blocked from moving to another team.
Even though the HR policy is that your manager can't block you from an internal transfer, that's not reality. Which means when you're wrongly assigned to a team with a bad manager or a bad fit, you better bounce quick, or you're stuck there until you leave the company.
I guess that's not engineering though.
I despise this meme. You are allowed to say negative things about big "tech" companies, especially here on HN. What you aren't allowed to do is act childish about it. Which is exactly what you do when you say things like this. And I tend to down vote when I see commentary like this, because regardless of what else you have to say, this type of commentary is what hurts conversation. Clearly, you are wrong about the culture of HN.
I've been on this site since 2006 or 2007. I've earned 5,000+ karma on most of my previous accounts. Everyone of them was shadowbanned at one point or another.
In one case I linked to a scientific paper about global warming that does not agree with global warming hysterics. That was the only post in several months at the time and the only commentary I added was "these guys disagree!"..... shadowbanned. For linking to a peer reviewed paper!
Another time, the last comment was talking about how I had met Grace Hopper. Nothing negative in it, Nothing "childish". Just relating how she gave me a "nanosecond". Shadowbanned.
I stopped putting effort into this site for several years because of that-- why try to discuss things with an extremely ideological and narrow minded group (which HN really is) if you're going to get banned for disagreeing?
I only created this account because I don't care. I do expect to get shadowboxed because the moderators of this site, in my experience, are unethical.
But of course, those who believe in rigid narrow minded censorship are incentivized to believe that all those who were shadowbanned were being "childish".
Because of course you want to believe you're broad minded and that criticizing Amazon is allowed, and the like. (Hey maybe it is, so far I've been allowed to.... but that's the thing about arbitrary shadow bans, you can't know what's verboten and what's allowed.)
If the views are so absurd, why not allow them to stand and be downvoted? Why the need to flag and ban?
For example, regarding the Pao issue, numerous reaction articles from differing viewpoints were instantly flagkilled.
I find that HN is a group of clever people who conform an extremely narrow ideology.
What absurd nonsense. If we are having a rational discussion we only care about what he has to say, not how he says it.
Leave the doublethink and doublespeak for the politicians, it doesn't belong here.
Which is what I did.
This is also not one persons perspective, but a common perspective in Seattle, so common that I knew about it in 1996, repeatedly heard horror sorries for the next 10 years ,and still went to work there after hearing horror stories from other ex-employees. Yeah, they caught me at point where I was a bit desperate.
In seattle, the horribleness of working there is pretty widely known.
Not sure why its so shocking and unbelievable here on Hacker News.
Even if we were talking about 100,000 engineers, though, I think it's fair to make a generalization about the culture. Companies have a lot of autonomy in deciding the nature of interactions between the employees as a group, and especially between employees and their superiors.
Also, people make similar generalizations all the time around small towns and neighborhoods (with often dubious accuracy, sure), but the only difference is one's structure develops bottom-up, and the other top-down.
One of the things that has since become a red flag for me is that Amazon is very cult like.
I do think it's unfortunate that Software Engineers are held in such low regard.
Calling me "bitter" is just blaming the victim.
I'm here so that other engineers can be forewarned about a bad actor in our midst.
I think that's a good use of my time because I hate how engineers are disrespected, and increasingly so.
His experiences there mirror mine. I've warned people away from going there for exactly the same reason. Amazon treats their employees like shit.
I think you need to reevaluate your outlook on giving advice. You seem to have a preference for more tech oriented companies which is perfectly fine, but their are a lot of other people on HN that aren't as techie as you. Don't trash a company and shout advice to everyone based on your own personal preferences for work.
I was foolish (and a little desperate) when I applied at Amazon. Because I had been told.
This has nothing to do with them not being a tech company-- I just don't like tech people misclassifying them.
This is all about them disrespecting their employees. Not having competent managers for engineers is a form of disrespect. But all the sexist, obnoxious and rude things done to my friend who was non-technical are also disrespectful.
This isn't about me being "arrogant" at all.
This is me just warning you about a terrible experience I had!
Please respond to negativity on HN with less of it, not more. Otherwise the threads spiral into toxicity.
- people do not know what to associate amazon with (it's just a bookstore, right?)
- when they kill off too many project, or too many projects fail, their brand value hurts.
There are other businesses that have many, many product lines, but the most succesful ones (Procter & Gamble, Unilever) almost never use their core brand name and just invent new brands. It makes it more difficult to start, but is better for your brands.
And I disagree with you about a discontinued product hurting their brand. No-one remembers Amazon menu, Amazon movie listings, Microsoft Courier, Google Catalogs, Wave, Google labs etc.
In my experience people couldn't care less about "brand identity" in general.
Nobody (outside our tech filter-bubble) cares what Amazon does or doesn't do beyond their shopping and book business.
Google is a good example, since their brand identity is strongly linked with web search. When people want to find something out, opening google.com is often an immediate reaction; they don't wonder if they should use a different search engine, or even look it up somewhere else. It's immediate and unconscious.
I disagree. I think most people know. Amazon was once a bookstore, then it changed; it's now the website where you buy things. If you're in IT it is also the major host for cloud computing.
There it is in a sentence (two for IT specialists). Does this leave out major things like video? Sure, but you asked about the brand, and that seems pretty clear: that website where you buy stuff.
Amazon.com runs on a lot of 20 year old code because they've never been able to upgrade it, because there's so much cruft. Amazon menusand all that create cruft.
There are bugs I fixed in 2006 that came back in 2009 and are still there-- the team that I was on when I fixed them no longer exists because the people got pulled off for nonsense "products" like menus etc that eventually got canned.
It's not just that they are trying things, the things they are trying take engineers out of their key talent pool-- which is pretty shallow to begin with because Amazon is a very anti-engineering company. (Really they hate engineers at the executive level.)
Most of the site at this point is cruft while engineers run around chasing nonsense that will never be in production more than a year.
Amazon is an online hypermarket, and I don't think that's even remotely a secret.
People understood the company mission of Sears, Roebuck, & Company, a hundred years ago, and they can certainly understand Amazon's today.
Amazon management is very adept and focosed on blowing smoke up the skirt of employees. "Today is day one!" Even the use of "door desks"-- that cost the company more money than actual desks would-- is done to perpetuate the "we're just a startup, rah rah rah" BS "Culture".
Its' gross manipulation but it also results in people who buy into it being REALLY dedicated to their beliefs-- because deep down people want to believe and Amazon gives them that (even though it then turns around and abuses them.)
They do this for a reason-- by having these mantras and these beliefs about the company, it makes people not believe the negatives or think the negatives don't represent the whole company.
or you just end up on a product that makes no sense, but gotta do it because someone wants it/promised it.
You mean the drone delivery they're actively testing in the UK? The drone delivery they're fighting with the FAA about? The drone delivery they just testified before Congress about?
They're spending an awful lot of time, money, and political capital on something that makes no sense, will never happen, and was just a press release.
Textbook drone delivery: http://pandodaily.com/2013/10/14/zookal-starts-world-first-d...
Cake drone delivery: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/1020621...
Pizza drone delivery: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/dominos-tests-delivery-pizza-r...
Parcel delivery drones: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57601531-76/drones-in-chin... http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/25/german-dhl...
Beer delivery drones: http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/branding/1561256/...
Taco delivery drones: http://tacocopter.com/
Burrito delivery drones: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2012/12/17/burrito-bo...
Sushi delivery drones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=y9RKX...
Rubber shoe delivery drones: https://www.techinasia.com/crocs-japan-drone-delivery-crash/
General delivery drones: http://matternet.us/our-vision/ http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21567193-... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/11210026/Drone-on... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/09/02/project_wing_google_...
I think a certain amount of scepticism is warranted :)
This is the same VP, by the way, that testified before the same committee in January on net neutrality.
Are you suggesting he's lying to Congress?
Last year, Amazon hired for their Prime Air team, among other high-profile individuals, a former NASA astronaut, a Keyhole co-founder, and a mess of aerospace vets and MIT grads.
Argue all you want about its viability, but this is not "a press release" or "april fool's joke".
Once something has such a strong financial implication, any other obstacle in its way is going to crumble (not to mention that the technology is mature enough today to perform this; the barrier is regulation, and that can change with enough money at stake).
Automated cars on the other hand...
Also, I'd imagine that the drones would be (remotely) human driven at least the first few times they drop off a package, so they can learn where to drop off the package (similar to how Google handles training their self driving cars). After that, they could drop it off automatically, but hand off control to a human if the environment looks too different.
I imagine safety and power issues, talking to friends who research drone tech.
Sure, by shaping the drone into a winged vehicle you can get the payload capacity up and make it move quickly as it goes from waypoint to waypoint on a "delivery route", even in windy conditions. But now you can't deliver the package itself neatly onto the ground adjacent to obstacles like you could with a quadra-copter.
If someone can figure out a reusable payload delivery parachute or something like that with the ability to keep itself on course even in windy conditions to hit a drop point on the ground from a couple hundred feet up, and make it work with packaged goods the size of a small book or video game, then it has a chance.
For starters. "To your door" urban drone delivery would be nearly impossible as most urban dwellers live in condos, apartments or densely populated areas where landing or hovering presents real-world, safety, security and logistical concerns most likely impossible to overcome.
The best case urban scenario is Amazon "drop off points". Basically small Amazon stores strategically located throughout a city with designated landing zones for their drones and close proximity to the recipient - so the recipient (or the delivery person) only needs to walk a few blocks max.
In this scenario you're still looking at a "real person" to get the package to the door though.
"To your door" sub-urban and rural (the outskirts as you call it) in theory may be more doable as dwellings tend to have driveways, yards and space. However the challenges of urban still exist. And landing (hovering) on location, on private property adds greater complexity from a safety and legal perspective.
Amazon has an uphill battle to wage with regards to the legality, rules, regulations and safety of operating unmanned air vehicles over "built up areas" in general. Current pending and existing regulations lean towards flightpaths and fly-zones that ensure drones can land safely in the event of an emergency requiring immediate decent (eg. a crash landing).
This means flightpaths over built-up areas of cities and towns in general would be extremely expensive (funding, insurance, lobbying) and most likely impossible under today's regulations.
No matter how safe they're deemed, drones represent a hazard to persons and property, and as such they'll be highly regulated. Amazon won't be able to fly them anywhere, anytime soon. It will take time.
Now, with all that said, a couple years ago the FAA Modernization and Reform Act was signed, providing funding to the Federal Aviation Authority to establish safety rules that deal with all of the above. The funding as I mentioned has already begun ... to the tune of $60 billion or so.
We'll see how the FAA strikes a balance between corporate interest and public safety.
In the mean time Amazon Drone Delivery is mostly a marketing / PR tactic to generate interest and buzz. Strategic in the sense that, on the surface, it sounds like something the public would like to see. It's exciting! Progress! Get the public on your side and "fast-tracked regulation" becomes much more realistic.
Many such structures in densely-populated areas have large, flat, mostly-empty roofs. (Hell, some of the apartment buildings in my little urban area of ~40k people have flat roofs, as do most of the local dorms.)
Have you ever been up to a typical apartment or condo roof top? Sometimes there's a common area or party area - not suitable for leaving a pile of random packages though. Otherwise it's full of HVAC and utility stuff.
There's no way on earth my condo board would approve the costs involved in allowing residents up on the roof or having security collect packages from the roof. It's hard enough for security to deal with packages at the front door.
Easy roof access is typically the default. Landlords sometimes cut off access and a shitstorm ensues. Lawyers sometimes get involved, since it's legally hairy to cut off access to previously-accessible common areas.
> Have you ever been up to a typical apartment or condo roof top?
Several, and you can examine thousands more for yourself on Google Maps, if you like. They're not, typically, "full" of anything. They're mostly empty space.
> Sometimes there's a common area or party area - not suitable for leaving a pile of random packages though.
I'm not sure why not, but even so, there seems little risk of there being a "pile". The whole point is delivery in 30 minutes. Why would you pay for 30-minute drone delivery if you weren't going to be there to pick it up soon after?
> There's no way on earth my condo board would approve the costs involved in allowing residents up on the roof.
What costs are you imagining?
> It's hard enough for security to deal with packages at the front door.
It eludes me why you think tenants picking up their own packages from a roof is more trouble than having security (which doesn't even exist in many such buildings) deal with it.
The costs are significant if there isn't a prebuilt common area (rooftop patio). Because of safety, accessibility and liability concerns. Sure it's a big flat space, and it may be accessible in case of emergency, but it wasn't designed for regular use. These surfaces are designed for HVAC, roofing material and drainage of rainwater.
You want a safe drop location for drones that's also resident accessible and safe?
You're going to have to retrofit the roof to meet spec. Even if you already have a rooftop patio. And that means condo board and / or property management approval.
I grew up in Washington and Oregon, west of the Cascades. And if you're ever in Taipei's Songshan or Xinyi districts during the monsoon and see a crazy white guy not using an umbrella, you've probably caught me on yet another foolishly-agreed-to business trip.
As an expert on being heavily peed on by the sky, I can assure you that rain does not easily or quickly penetrate things like the hard plastic containers Amazon Prime Air will be delivering items in. (I guess you never watched the video?)
> and WINTER where anything not bolted down to the roof generally gets blown right off
I'm in eastern Washington now, where our regular 60+mph storms are more of an autumn thing.
Tornadoes are fairly rare throughout Washington, but when they do happen, they are, of course, concentrated in spring and summer, like the one we suspect touched down on our property in western Washington in the 90s.
But regardless of the time of year, if the weather is that bad, the drone probably won't be flying.
> Sure it's a big flat space, and it may be accessible in case of emergency, but it wasn't designed for regular use.
They get regular use anyway.
> You're going to have to retrofit the roof to meet spec.
Any particular spec, or just a fuzzy concept that I'm to assume must exist somewhere to forbid this de minimis usage?
If you think about it for a few minutes, you'll realize it's a joke-- like an April Fools joke.
1. Safety: drones - multirotors, specifically - are very safe devices, inherently. They are incredibly simple (4-8 motors and no other moving parts). If they are dangerous, it's only because of lack of investment by the manufacturers to make mission critical hardware/software.
That's the next step in the drone ecosystem though, as commercial use is gaining traction (multirotors are barely 6 years old now, IIRC. Mission critical flight systems haven't had time to develop).
Furthermore, octocopters (8 motors, and there are variants with more) have built in redundancy (assuming a reasonably intelligent flight controller) against the loss of each motor.
2. Cost: An Amazon drone could be manufactured for few thousand dollars - $3k is the RETAIL COST of a DJI drone that can fly 10kg overall weight (drone, payload, batteries). That means at scale, and without retail margins, Amazon could make them for less than $10k, even if they are much larger and more sophisticated.
The only wearable is the battery, and these can do many cycles (500+) before needing replacement, when properly managed. Other than that, the cost of maintenance are simply nonexistent.
3. Flight time: Simply irrelevant on an urban delivery service. An off the shelf commercial drone today can fly 10kg AUW for 20 minutes easily, lets say 12 minutes if flying at 40km/h - that means it has a range of 8km (and that's basing on simple off the shelf stuff, not purpose built and optimized systems). Manhattan is 3.7km wide and 21km long, meaning that with a handful of automated battery replacement hubs you can cover the its entire span.
4. Fleets and carrying weight: These drones will fly non stop, carrying up to 10kg at each payload. That covers 95% of the typical Amazon order and probably 99.5% of the things that you need just this second. The drones will fly non stop - I can't imagine needing more than a few dozens to cover a large city.
Bottom line: the technology is definitely within reach; I'd argue it's there, just needing some rich commercial entity to tie all parts together, test and certify.
Nothing here awaits a scientific breakthrough to be made possible, and I'd say that technologically, it's easier (and probably safer) than self driving cars (which no one doubts).
In dense, built-up areas there is no space to land. You can't fly between buildings and land on a sidewalk in Manhattan, and where would you leave the package there?
In rural and suburban areas, where houses have backyards, the flight range starts to be a problem. Amazon isn't going to build a full warehouse every 5-10km, even "drone depots" seem doubtful with that density. With "drone depots" instead of proper warehouses, the packages would still have to be trucked in, so 1-2 day delivery instead of 1-2 hour delivery, and the only motivation would be cost saving over traditional mail carriers.
Perhaps if batteries become a lot more capable, then having drone depots every 20-50km in suburbia might end up profitable over paying for mail.
Here it depends on quite high population density in the regions they are putting depots, which still has the landing space issue, but e.g. their two London depots puts them within possible delivery distance of several million people with front or back gardens. A large proportion of the ones who don't have private gardens have communal spaces.
The bigger problem than where to land for me would be how to handle "handover" to their customer without ending up leaving packages in plain sight in areas where it's easy for someone to snatch it.
To top it off, they will simply not work on most days in Northern Europe, where rain and strong winds are common. I think the evolution of airplanes (which "we" believed would soon replace cars, back in the '20s) showed the problems we will always have with flying: it's a messy affair at the best of times.
I applaud Amazon for its faith in robotics, but I'd argue that we're more likely to get self-driving vans (which will either carry a very relaxed delivery guy, or will let people like supers open van doors with a code), or other incremental disruptions, before we see a wide deployment of delivery drones.
I hear this a lot, along with comments about self-driving cars being unusable because 'people will run in front of them to make them stop', and I just don't get it. In what country would it be deemed legal and normal for people to shoot down drones? Do people take pot-shots at light aircraft? Why would people suddenly want to shhot at drones? The same with self-driving cars - people don't run into traffic to make human drivers stop, although they would certainly try their best not to run you over, so why would they start doing it with self-driving cars. I've also heard the argument that people will vandalise the cars, destroy the LIDAR sensors and so on, but yet we don't have spates of people throwinf paint over the windscreen of normal cars. I think it says more about the mentality of the commentors that about the peeibilities for automated vehicles, flying or driving.
Shooting down a drone is like throwing a rock in a window or graffiti. In a lot of areas, those crimes are a huge problem.
I don't think it would be at all routine. But I can imagine trouble-making adolescents doing that (here in the US). Probably wouldn't be make-or-break for drones. But it would be an interesting challenge for Amazon -- how can we retrieve this equipment and how can we investigate its attack/distinguish from part failures?
The Amazon drone won't take off unless you confirm in advance (using the app) being able to accept the package, and you need to enter a code at arrival for it to release it to you. I am sure the drone can call for help, and keep lots of video and other evidence of what happened to it.
Ultimately, Amazon just calculates the loss of 1/10000 drone packages into their profit calculations.
Aside from that whole thing where they have a dozen or so whirling knife blades that could take off a body appendage, or the fact that one small power failure or an inflight impact with a bird or a wire turns them into 30 pound falling lethal skull crushing objects.
The first or second time the blades on one of those drones hits a kid, drone delivery will be as dead as the Segway.
But yeah, things might possibly go wrong from time to time so best not to try. Giving up is always they best thing.
When I say it's a joke I'm not being pejorative.
Amazon regularly releases press releases and propaganda designed to make the company look good but that have nothing to do with its products or that aren't real initiatives. This is one of them. IT's purely propaganda.
you're making a lot of assumptions about the economics and quality advancements of control software in your response-- - you're assuming pie in the sky comes true.
Crucially we're not even talking about R&D efforts, insurance, regulatory clearing costs, and probably the biggest cost, legal mishaps - and I mean very serious lawsuits - even toy-like DJI Phantom drones can fall/ crash and kill people.
I could see drone delivery to rural areas... but urban areas I don't think it's feasible at all, at least not for a long while.
Drones could be useful for a lot of things but if the problem is delivering heavy packages cheaply to places with road access, they are not a rational choice.
By "happening" you mean "not used for any real purpose besides research or demonstration anywhere in the world" presumably.
From a regulatory perspective, I think driver-less cars are making better progress than drones, because auto regulations are more relaxed than air.
... Oh god I just linked the daily mail. Sorry I'm at work and picked the first link when I googled.
In general, people take much longer to adopt new technology than we would like to see.
"Two people will be in the specially rigged Audi in case of emergencies"
The relentless march of consumerism will completely disrupt how things are consumed, but I am not sure making "getting stuff" so painlessly easy is great for humanity.
I guess it's no different than following the UPS truck and taking the package after they've left, but intercepting a drone farther away (say, over a field somewhere) is probably less conspicuous.
To me, who served 15 years of corporate coding dronery for a Fortune 100 company, that sounds totally awesome.
In all that time I served on three teams.
Citation for this lie please. Because parts of your statement here do not really make sense. For instance that S3 was at one point they only service they had.
(Fwiw, I’ve heard the same thing the OP says elsewhere.)
I can't even find sources of such a claim at the time the first offering of AWS occurred. The claim has made that as of 2010, 100% of amazon.com traffic goes via EC2 which I believe is likely as it has been mentioned by Amazon engineers.
That AWS was not built for amazon first and foremost has been said from the start. Jeff Bezos himself said early on that why only build it for themselves when they can sell it.
> I thought AWS started with EC2 & S3? Anyone got a link to a reliable history?
AWS's first service was SQS which launched two years before S3. EC2 launched half a year after S3.
There is a bit of history here: http://jeff-barr.com/2014/08/19/my-first-12-years-at-amazon-...
Doesn't mean it's true but the perception is out there.
> (remember google glass? Yeah, it really is gone, it made no sense to begin with, but they won't admit it)
This is an example. Glass was clearly an experimental product to gather information. It was advertised, priced, and distributed like one. If you think it was a failure or is dead, you paid little to no attention to the life cycle.
Throw something at the wall, see what happens, refine, try again. Refining the experiment or using the information to go pursue something else isn't failure. I would assume that Amazon has a similar philosophy, at least to some extent.
"Amazon makes dozens of "products" every year, to do press releases, to sell more Amazon stock/keep the stock price high."
That's quite a leap of logic. Really thought it would have been that $90B of annual revenue that was keeping the stock high.
Don't forget they started in books and now sell pretty much everything. Also, the kindle seemed to work out pretty well.
Amazon's been making a lot of press lately leaning hard on the FAA to shorten up their paperwork lifecycle for outdoor testing in the US, as well as eliminating the regulatory requirement for line-of-sight flight.
If drone delivery is a dead project, Amazon doesn't know it yet.
If it eats your lunch, my condolences.
TV Wall Mounting (my won mounting bracket): Amazon: $229, Geek Squad: $149.99
Tire installation Services (2 tires): Amazon: $69, Walmart: $12 each
Car Stereo Installation: Amazon: $120, Best Buy: $64.99
I think there is a large market for local listings (e.g. Angies List, Groupon Local etc) but their prices are way too high.
I can't say it's worth double the price until I actually need to use one of their services but I would definitely accept a premium for the hassle free service.
Consider we're talking about $150 installation for something in my house, like a TV. That could mean knocking holes in the wall. Searching Yelp reviews and interviewing contractors can be time consuming. Then, if something goes wrong, my wall could be ruined. Taking the contractor to court to recover damages is a massive investment.
That might not be worth the trouble if I could have Amazon send someone and cover all headaches. It becomes dead-simple. "I'll just use Amazon's guy"
There's no question, it's a premium service, but you're getting real peace of mind with it. It's not like you're only paying for a brand name, you're also getting a guarantee from a trusted company.
Even if you're a high-paid professional it's likely cheaper to do it yourself (assuming opportunity cost for this time was work, and not, you know, enjoying your weekend).
(IMO the TV wall mounting prices are completely out of line with the difficulty of the task. Compared to tire installation that takes more time, tooling, and personal risk, I'm really surprised that it costs so much.)
Don't forget liability, most failure modes involving tires cascade into personal injury auto accident. I would guess the most likely epic fail of similar likelihood for a TV installation would be dropping the TV while installing it. Or maybe drilling into a water pipe while installing it, either way death is quite possible with cars and highly unlikely with a TV.
Two things always "get" me about hiring a pro even though I can afford it. The first is I do it exactly the way I want it. Not possible to install my TV 3 inches too far to the right or some idiot company policy to minimize liability or whatever. The second is the opportunity cost of hiring a pro is astounding. A pro is going to have a 4 hour window 9-1 next Tuesday so I need to take time off work and cancel my life for four continuous weekday hours, but I have a SSD awaiting installation on my desk at home and if I get a half hour wednesday night around 8:14pm I'm fine, my window for me to do it is dynamic and hyperflexible and much narrower than a pro and if I'm interrupted its simply not an issue. Its just more convenient to do it myself than to deal with someone else. I could afford to hire someone to take the trash bag from my kitchen to the trash can by the garage, but the hassle of contracting with another person exceeds the minimal hassle of walking it out there myself.
Frankly, I mostly know how to get hold of somewhat expensive professionals to do tasks that I can't easily do myself. What I want is cheap labor to do things I don't want to spend the weekend doing.
A lot of people aren't looking for the cheapest option, they just want it done right, without hassle.
For me, the potentially interesting aspect is "handyman" type tasks that fall outside the range of services you can have done through Home Depot, Sears, my local plumber or electrician, etc. Though I would guess it's significantly more expensive than you can get from giving someone local some cash (assuming you can find the right person).
In my personal experience, they're one of the highest rated companies I've dealt with, in terms of customer service. They've earned that credit with me over the years that I've purchased items from them.
Sports physio treatments?
Which is genius.
I've gotten a leaking toilet fixed, leaking roof inspected and patched, garage door springs replaced, and a noisy heater tuned up at fixed prices by buying "deals" for them through Amazon Local when I needed something done.
The experience is a million times better than finding a new contractor in the yellow pages for all these kinds of jobs. So many of them now charge a "service call fee" just to come out and do a quote, and won't quote even simple jobs over the phone. If their quote is too high, you've just thrown away money (and wasted half a day) without getting the problem fixed.
I am super enthusiastic about what Amazon's doing here and hope they stay in this market. Looks like I'll finally be putting in that exhaust vent in the bathroom that doesn't have a vent hole cut.
I think anyone's first thought when Amazon gets into a business is that it's dominance is inevitable. Not so sure in this case, I've made tons of marketing pages just like this, hardly a guarantee of success. They'll have to do the hard work of convincing people they can provide quality service. You can't just return a home renovation if it goes wrong.
Aren't ZIP (it's an initialism, Zone Improvement Plan) codes by definition a US-only thing? Even in countries that don't call them post/postal codes, they're not known as ZIP codes.
Basically everybody in the US uses the phrase "zip-code" informally to mean postal code even when talking about international addresses.
Say what? Where in the U.S. do you live? I've been all over, and I've never once heard them called 'postal codes'; always and every time 'zip codes.'
https://www.google.com/search?q=site:usps.com+"zip+code" returns 120k results
https://www.google.com/search?q=site:usps.com+"postal+code" returns 372 results
What's wrong with calling them Zip codes? That's how they're written everywhere.
That's exactly the problem. .com <> US
Initially this kind of behavior was "quaint" and amusingly "typically American". But in 2015 it's just f-ing annoying.
So's complaining about something that's been the de-facto standard for 2+ decades.
Sure it might make us on HN feel good that .com does not equal USA and we are the center of the world, but it would make little sense otherwise.
I've seen a couple other startups like Magic too. It's basically paying people to google for you. That might disrupt the personal assistant space but probably not the market for home services.
Of course, I'm in India and I personally might opt for a service like this. There are some startups here but noone of the size and 'integrity' as Amazon.
I'm not sure about the old-school family type people who'd rather go to a local plumber, or carpenter to get their work done.
The problem in this area is finding someone you trust and is competent. I don't see how this solves that.
For lower skilled work I guess there might be something here.
Amazon is extending the trust you have for their brand to local workers that they've screened. They'll even guarantee your satisfaction. That's how they're solving trust and competence.
This usually is a torturous process.
Maybe I should re-visit it.