Archive for the ‘Amazon Financials’ Category

Amazon’s Q1 financials: investors like this one

April 28, 2017

Amazon’s Q1 financials: investors like this one

As an Amazon customer (and not an employee, just to be clear), I usually like Amazon’s financial statements. They have shown innovation and investment in making their customers happy. In fact, I often refer to Amazon’s happy customers as their most important “product”. ūüėČ Carefully curated access to customers (providing access to services they actually want, for example) is a big part of Amazon’s future…whether that’s through more traditional ads or simply through a “carrier” strategy, with Amazon being what I call the infrastructure of the internet. On that latter one, one way that would work would be Amazon charging a free music service to be available through Echo products. No ads there, but the access can reasonably be monetized (not with the customer paying, but with the producer paying).

Investors, though, haven’t always liked Amazon’s financial reports. They didn’t make a profit for a long time (that’s been changing recently). Rapidly improving sales are good for customers (they demonstrate engagement), investment in licensing/producing) content (movies/TV shows and more) is good for customers, but those aren’t directly short-term good for investors.

Amazon’s

Webcast (and associated materials)

yesterday has gotten quite a bit of positive buzz, and the stock is up 3% based on this

CNN/Money graph

In the

press release

gives you the highlights. Having an increase in sales (23%) compared to the same period last year and net income up (41%) while maintaining the #1 ranking in corporate reputation is a rare combination and makes everybody happy.

The press release calls out (from of Amazon CEO…Chief Executive Officer…Jeff Bezos) the strength of Amazon in India. That’s key: customers in the USA might wonder how much more growth Amazon can have here (actually, they can still have a lot), but I have readers around the world…and Amazon increasingly has customers around the world. They are finally going to be able to make a real move in much of the Middle East, and they’ve got a lot of growth potential in Latin America (just to name two areas).

My favorite part of these calls is the question and answer part. As you can read in the

Seeking Alpha transcript

this one didn’t disappoint.

I want to first commend Brian T. Olsavsky, Amazon’s CFO (Chief Financial Officer). Amazon has a reputation for being reticent to share details, but I thought Olsavsky came across as having a much more casual, less scripted conversation (although, of course, there were still things questions weren’t answered in detail).

You might also expect a CFO to be all about the money, but this quotation from the transcript (in accordance with Seeking Alpha’s quotation policy) is not that:

“There’s now over 12,000 Alexa skills. So we think that’s all foundational. The monetization, as you might call it, is a theme of your questions.

That’s not our primary issue right now. It’s about building great products and delighting customers. We think as engagement ‚Äď as we pick up engagement with the devices, it helps the engagement with Amazon as a whole. So whether someone is ordering off their Alexa device or whether they’re going to their phone, or going to their computer, it all has the same effect for us.”

When they did talk money, I thought that was good for customers, too. They broke things out differently, including a category for subscriptions services (subsers) like

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which I think is going to be a strategy people will choose (although there will still be a place for “piece buyers” who buy one book at a time to own).

They mentioned artificial intelligence, but they did not talk about development in virtual/augmented reality…which I could argue is an indicator that my prediction that they become significantly publicly involved in VAMM (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged) space is likely to come true. I think they want that to be a surprise, to be a big news story…otherwise, why not mention it even a little? If the two choices are that they are not working on it at all, despite all of the growth this year and the industry being in the launch phase, or that they are working on it and don’t want to talk about it yet, I go with the latter. ūüėČ

What do you think? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.


My current Amazon Giveaways:

LAST TWO DAYS TO ENTER

I recently concluded a giveaway for

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

and there were ten winners. I’m doing a new one for the same book:

1 winner

Requirements for participation:

  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (you‚Äôll be notified when future books are added to Amazon‚ĶI think that‚Äôs the only contact you get, although I‚Äôm not positive)

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/c2fb235f3cf97ced 

Start:Apr 24, 2017 6:06 AM PDT
End:Apr 29, 2017 11:59 PM PD

Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature by Loren Coleman (at AmazonSmile*)

Note: this is the paperback. For some reason, I couldn’t make the Kindle book for this one public (like I could with Kris’ book). I really wanted this one to be public, because the whole goal is to promote Loren Coleman’s medical expense fund GoFundMe campaign. I’ve never met Loren personally, and we have no shared business interests, although we have had some correspondence. I’ve read Loren’s books for decades, and admire how the cryptozoologist/Fortean helps others, including being the Director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine (although in so many smaller ways, too). It’s sad to me that someone who has done so much is having trouble dealing with medical expense (due to multiple operations). That doesn’t stop Loren from going to the Bigfoot festival in Willow Creek, California tomorrow, but for people who have enjoyed and benefited from Loren’s work, the medical expenses fund is an opportunity to do a thank you. Literally over 300 people have entered in about a day, and they’ve all tweeted (as a requirement to entry) a link to the fund’s page. I do not ask people to endorse the fund or to ask other people to contribute (or for them to contribute themselves)…I’m just hoping to raise the profile so people who might want to contribute and don’t know about it get the word.

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
    • Tweet a message

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/303e4f5c496116a2

Start:Apr 27, 2017 9:45 AM PDT
End:May 4, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Jeff Bezos: defining Day 2

April 18, 2017

Jeff Bezos: defining Day 2

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO (Chief Executive Officer) has released the 2016 (this year) letter to shareholders.

This is a tradition at Amazon, and honestly, I think this is one of the most valuable ones yet.

You can read it here:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9NjY2MjA1fENoaWxkSUQ9Mzc0MDUyfFR5cGU9MQ==&t=1

and you can read previous ones here:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=97664&p=irol-reportsannual

along with annual reports and proxy statements.

What makes it valuable?

It’s really about philosophy, and that’s what gives me confidence (reasonable confidence, I would say) in Amazon’s long-term success.

I have a lot invested in Amazon being here and going strong fifty years from now.

It’s possible I’ll still be around and using their services in 2067 (you never know). Even if I’m not, though, the odds are pretty good that people both in my family and in the general public will be affected by things I’ve done by and through Amazon (including writing).

Bufo Calvin Amazon Author Central page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Amazon is sometimes seen as a cult of personality around Jeff Bezos…will that driving and guiding force still be actively present in 2067? Again, that’s possible: Bezos would be turning 103.

What can certainly still be active is the philosophy of Amazon.

That, however, is not inevitable…and that’s the entire point of this year’s shareholders’ letter.

Jeff Bezos likes to say that Amazon is in “Day 1”: still in the beginning.

That’s always an uncertain, dynamic time. I work in a company where there are many smaller “units”, which we can think of as geographically defined. Let’s think of them as states in the United States.

When we are going to make a change that affects the entire company, we like to pilot it in one or two of these “states” first.

I like to tell the people there that there are big advantages and disadvantages.

The disadvantage is that whatever it is won’t work as well in the first state as it will in the fiftieth.

We will have identified problems and solved most of them.

We will have had a lot of input from the frontline people who depend on it.

The advantage?

Impact.

The earlier you are in an in situ development process, the more power you have.

When you get to the twentieth state to “go live”, you simply can’t change things that affect the first nineteen without a lot of effort.

Day 1 is chaos…and power.

The letter says:

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

The stasis part is key. You want to always be changing, because the world is always changing. Just because you are at the top of the heap right now doesn’t mean that there isn’t going to be a bigger heap growing next door.

As I recall (and this is just from memory), Yul Brynner responded to the question of what should be on the actor’s tombstone this way: “I would like it to say, ‘I Have Arrived’..because when¬†you believe you’ve arrived, you’re dead.”

I’ve always liked that. It goes along with the Doc Savage (one of my literary heroes, and soon to be played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a major movie) oath: “Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may¬†profit by it.”

Never stop getting better, never believe you are done.

I had a director, Ross Graham, who said years ago, “When you stop being a student, you stop being an artist.”

That’s a lot of what this year’s letter discusses. Keep evolving, and know you are never finished.

This last short excerpt I’ll give you (and encourage you strongly to read the letter, even if you have no involvement with Amazon), ties that ever evolving concept with being a “customer focused” company:

“There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here‚Äôs the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don‚Äôt yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.”

That’s a philosophy, and one that won’t be irrelevant¬†fifty years from now.

I observed myself quite some time ago that the way that customer-served companies lose their leadership position isn’t by underestimating their competitors, as is commonly assumed, but my overestimating their customers’ loyalty.

It happens when a company figures that customers won’t leave them for an upstart because, you know, “we are the company for this”.

In terms of what the letter might portend, Jeff Bezos talks about embracing external trends, and specifically mentions artificial intelligence and machine learning. No question, that’s important, and could change just about everything else.

It’s good because it’s conceptual. It’s not a specific product. You could get to artificial intelligence a lot of ways, and it may not be the way we are trying now.

I do think that augmented (more than virtual, but virtual, too) is a big part of Amazon’s future this year. However, that is a more specific, narrow thing than AI, so I think it’s good Bezos didn’t mention it in the letter.

Something that’s also nice: this year’s letter, as is traditional, also reproduces the 1997 letter, where JB talks about Day 1 (although it’s in reference to the internet and specifically to Amazon, not just Amazon).

This is why I have confidence in Amazon. It won’t be easy to stay in Day 1 for fifty more years…but they will try to do that.

Do you have thoughts about the letter, or in general, about Amazon’s future? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!


My current Amazon Giveaways:

===

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

Ten winners

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e39ec1bca3592757

Start:Apr 8, 2017 12:05 PM PDT
End:Apr 23, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Oh Myyy! ‚Äď There Goes The Internet (Life, the Internet and Everything Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*)

by George Takei (in honor of the actor’s 80th birthday on April 20, 2017)

1 winner

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0a55a7230ccfd4aa

Start:Apr 11, 2017 3:56 PM PDT
End:Apr 21, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Amazon’s Q4 financials: stock drops 3% on disappointment (but sales up 22%)

February 4, 2017

Amazon’s Q4 financials: stock drops 3% on disappointment (but sales up 22%)

Amazon just announced their fourth quarter financials. As usual, they did a public webcast:

They also did a

Press Release

which covers a lot of the numbers.

The reaction in the media, and by investors, was negative…the stock dropped about 3% in a day, as you can see in this

CNN Money graph

That’s not an atypical reaction to an Amazon financials announcement…negative stories, (temporary) stock drop.

I’m sometimes baffled by that. In this case, net sales went up 22%…something you might expect in a new and rising entry into a market, not the dominant force.

However, in this case, I can see the concern.

Let me say right off: that’s not a long term concern of mine. Amazon’s in no trouble, and I expect we’ll see continued sales growth this year.

It’s more that Amazon didn’t meet expectations…which weren’t, I would say, unreasonable.

I also thought this was a great point in this

recode post by Jason Del Rey

Del Rey confirmed with Amazon that there had been tens of millions of new

Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

members, which is a good thing.

However, Del Rey also sagely notes…Amazon didn’t talk about the rate of Prime member growth.

That is a big deal.

These sorts of calls and releases are carefully crafted, and it’s reasonable to say that leaving out a citation of the growth (which they have made in the past) is deliberate…and therefore, it wasn’t something to tout.

While Amazon is only partially a retail company now (things like AWS, Amazon Web Service, are really significant segments), Prime is key.

As a Prime member myself, this actually encourages me…it means Amazon may work harder to make Prime attractive (and they already do a lot: for one thing, they added¬†Prime Reading (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) which is a rotating group of something like a thousand books Prime members can read at no additional cost).

I do, though, find Amazon’s expenditures, while they hurt the bottom line this time, reasonable. A starring character in the information was Alexa (Amazon’s digital assistant), and Amazon is definitely spending on that.

That’s very forward looking, and may make a giant difference going forward.

I’ve said before that Amazon wants to be the “infrastructure of the internet”, and this is part of that. If Alexa is the way you get to, well, everything, Amazon can charge the providers of those goods and services (not the customer) for access to you. That’s why I say that Amazon’s most important product is happy customers…that’s what they can “sell” to other businesses. That’s not by selling your information, it’s by selling that access, which you may specifically want. If you download an app for a company, you’ve chosen to give that access.

Complaining about Amazon spending on Alexa would be like investors saying, “Mr. Ford, we don’t like the amount of money you are spending on this assembly line thing.” ūüėČ The development of that clearly had an expense, but it would have been shortsighted, to say the least.

I expect Amazon to reveal a big Virtual/Augmented Reality initiative this year, and that’s going to cost. Amazon is spending on video content, both licensing it and developing their own. Those are being critically recognized: Amazon is the first streaming service with a Best Picture nominee (Manchester by the Sea), and the TV side does well also (I’ll be surprised if Christina Ricci isn’t nominated for Z: The Beginning of Everything, playing Zelda Fitzgerald…where author F. Scott Fitzgerald is also a major character). They are hiring something like 100,000 people, and opening brick-and-mortar stores.

I don’t think we’ll ever get to a point where Amazon is just coasting on previous successes…and we don’t want that. ūüôā Being an Amazon investor is never going to be a feel good experience; being an Amazon customer is. ūüėČ

Have a reaction to the news, or predictions for Amazon in the future? Want to give Jeff Bezos advice? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Amazon owned online holiday shopping, and a great non-fiction KDD

January 4, 2017

Amazon owned online holiday shopping, and a great non-fiction KDD

We are still getting data on the 2016 holiday sales, but it looks like Amazon dominated…on a Bambi Meets Godzilla¬†level. ūüėČ

According to this

Seeking Alpha story by Gary Bourgeault

Amazon had 45.5% of online purchases for the week ending December 17, 2017. That’s almost half!

Now, if they had a close competitor, it would just make it a battle…but again, according to the article Amazon had a market share about ten times higher than Best Buy, their closest competitor!

That’s astonishing! It’s like winning a basket ball game 110…to 10. ūüėČ

I strongly recommend the article, which uses graphs and multiple sources to do an interesting analysis.

Probably more importantly than the percentage of the market, was the reported increase in¬†Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) memberships. Amazon has started making a profit, but many of the sales at Amazon during the holidays were due to, well, sales, where Amazon likely didn’t make much if any profit.

Prime members, though, reportedly spend more year round and buy those physical items (diapers and windshield wipers) where the profit is higher.

Why did Amazon dominate?

Yes, sales were part of it…you can think of buying a discounted Echo Dot as a marketing expense, and one that many competitors can’t¬†afford.

Prime is another. I always prefer to buy from Amazon, given a choice…things come quickly, the prices are good, and they already have my financial information. A big thing for me is being able to send items to a local grocery story, using Amazon Locker. That’s not specifically a Prime benefit, but Prime makes you consider Amazon first.

Yet a third was Alexa. Amazon’s digital assistant is now available on many devices, not just the Amazon Echo family. Shopping through Alexa is easy and they had special deals through that service. That’s part of what I mean when I talk about Amazon wanting to be the “infrastructure of the internet”. They want to be both the way that people interact with the internet, and how things get to them (through fulfillment and Amazon Web Services, to name two).

As shoppers still increasingly move to shopping online, Amazon’s growing dominance in holiday sales looks likely to be an ongoing trend (and ¬†speak as a former brick-and-mortar store manager). The one thing they’ll need to watch is people moving to Virtual Reality (which I have been doing since I got a Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) at the holidays). I have no doubt that I will be shopping through VR, as I spend more and more time there. I already can, because I can browse the internet. Not getting in on VR now is like not getting into mobile when SmartPhones started becoming popular. I’ve predicted Amazon will get into VR in a big way in my annual prediction post:¬†The Year Ahead:¬†2017.

Another thing this year? So far, there have been amazing discounts on popular e-books!

Today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is any of 26 highly-rated non-fiction titles, each under $4 and many for $1.99 each.

If you think you don’t like non-fiction, some of these titles might challenge that notion. ūüôā

Remember that you can buy these as gifts and delay the delivery until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or have the purchase sent to yourself, print them out, and give them whenever (even wrapped, if you want).

Check the price before you click or tap (or eye gaze, if you are in VR) that Buy Button…the prices may not apply in your country.

Title include:

  • A Night to Remember by Walter Lord | 4.5 stars out of 5 | 536 customer reviews…classic account of the Titanic, been adapted
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn | 4.4 stars | 2,349 reviews
  • Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors by Stephen Ambrose
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
  • The Fall of Japan by William Craig
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
  • We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young: Ia Drang‚ÄĒThe Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway
  • Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (also available as part of¬†Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*))
  • The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved AmericaOct 19, 2009¬†|¬†Kindle eBook
    by Timothy Egan (KU…these are the only two in the sale which are part of KU at time of writing)
  • Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope by Eleanor Herman

Enjoy!

I’ve only listed some of the titles…if you’d like to suggest others for me and my readers, or if you have thoughts about Amazon dominating holiday sales (who could disrupt them and how, for example) or my embracing of VR as a consumer reality (so to speak) feel free to comment on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

* When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get. :) Shop ‚Äôtil you help! :) By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

“How you spent during your winter vacation”: Amazon’s holiday results

December 28, 2016

“How you spent during your winter vacation”: Amazon’s holiday results

You can have fun when you are doing well…and you’ll do better when you are having fun. ūüôā

I genuinely believe that…fun is a positive correlate for success, although some people seem to think that success depends on being as serious as you possibly can.

Amazon reflects that when they do their annual report of their holiday sales, with goofy (but impressive) statistics.

This year, in addition to sending me the regular press release, they sent me some extra “Reading Data Points”…and nicely agreed to let me share them with you.

I’ll reproduce them verbatim below, but I’ll call out a few points myself first.

  • Fascinating to me that the bestselling book on Amazon in 2016 wasn’t a novel, or even short stories, but a script: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). As a former professional actor, I’ve always enjoyed reading scripts (both intended for stage and screen), but as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I can tell you that they usually aren’t big sellers. This again shows the Power of (Harry) Potter. I think it’s legitimate to say that the Harry Potter series got a lot of people, especially children, reading who might not have done it with such fervor without it (echoing the Oz books at the start of the 20th Century). Perhaps this book will encourage some people to read more scripts (although I’d say there is an economic advantage in having both a script and a novelization in the market). I do see that one of the bestsellers in books at Amazon.com for the holidays was also a script (and also by J.K. Rowling…and also in the Potterverse): Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (at AmazonSmile*)
  • The most highlighted passage is from a non-fiction book. That’s interesting to me…are you more likely to capture a quotation from non-fiction book¬†or a fiction book¬†(taking into account the amount you read of both)? Even though I’ve published a book of quotations (The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)), I’m not sure what the answer is for me. I would think I might loan more credence to non-fiction…but I think they generally aren’t likely to be written in as entertaining a way as fiction, meaning that a fiction book might have more available quotations
  • Also intriguing: they cite a statistic on which books were given five stars rating from people who had never given a five star rating before. They don’t say, though, whether those people had ever rated any book before. That would make a big difference to me. If the rater had always given three stars or fewer and this time gave five, that says something. If this is their first review, we don’t know if they won’t rate everything five stars…

=== (Amazon’s information below)

Reading Data Points

  • The bestselling book on Amazon in 2016 was¬†Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Special Rehearsal Edition Script¬†by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.
  • The secret’s out: The top foodie book Kindle customers are reading this holiday season is Anthony Bourdain’s genre-defining classic,¬†Kitchen Confidential, currently available in Kindle Unlimited.
  • The #1 passage Kindle readers are highlighting from bestselling 2016 memoir¬†When Breath Becomes Air¬†is:

‚󶬆¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†‚ÄúHuman knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.‚ÄĚ

  • Blame it on Brangelina: The #1 magazine downloaded in Prime Reading in 2016 by Kindle customers was¬†People.
  • If you add up all readers of every book in Prime Reading since it was launched, the Kindle book with the most total daily readers in the program was¬†The Atlantis Gene, the first title in the popular technothriller trilogy that‚Äôs earned more than 6,000 5-star reviews.
  • Love is in the air year-round for Prime customers: The top non-fiction book downloaded in Prime Reading in 2016 was¬†The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts¬†by Gary Chapman.
  • In 2016, more than 3 million readers took the Goodreads Challenge and have read a collective 38.1 million books this year.
  • High Fives:¬†The Nightingale,¬†The Butterfly Garden, and¬†A Man Called Ove¬†received the most 5-star reviews in 2016 from Amazon customers who had never before given a book 5 stars.
  • The highest rated audiobook of 2016 on Audible is¬†Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood¬†by Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, and narrated by the author.
  • The bestselling audiobook of the year on Audible was¬†The Girl on the Train¬†by Paula Hawkins, narrated by Claire Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher.
  • Authors answered more than 26,000 reader questions on Goodreads in 2016.

 

 

+++++++++

 

 

Alexa Devices Top Amazon Best-Seller List this Holiday ‚Äď Millions of Alexa Devices Sold Worldwide
Sales of Amazon Echo family of devices up more than 9x over last year’s holiday season

Echo Dot is the best-selling, most gifted item on Amazon.com with millions sold worldwide since launch

Alexa devices made up top-selling products across all categories on Amazon.com including Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablet and Amazon Echo

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 27, 2016– (NASDAQ: AMZN) ‚ÄĒ¬†This 2016 holiday was the best-ever season for¬†Amazon¬†with devices including Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablet and¬†Amazon¬†Echo topping the best-sellers list. Customers purchased and gifted a record-setting number of devices from the Amazon Echo family with sales up over 9x compared to last year‚Äôs holiday season and millions of Alexa devices sold worldwide this year.

“Echo and Echo Dot were the best-selling products across¬†Amazon¬†this year, and we‚Äôre thrilled that millions of new customers will be introduced to Alexa as a result. Despite our best efforts and ramped-up production, we still had trouble keeping them in stock. From turning on Christmas lights and playing holiday music to shopping for gifts and asking for help with cookie recipes, Alexa continues to get smarter every day,” said¬†Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer,¬†Amazon. ‚ÄúWe couldn‚Äôt have made this holiday season possible for customers without the dedication and hard work of our customer service, transportation, and fulfillment associates along with our carrier partners ‚Äď it‚Äôs amazing to see the teams come together to serve customers during the holidays. On behalf of Amazonians all around the world, we wish everyone happy holidays and the very best for the coming year.‚ÄĚ

Holidays with Alexa:

·       Alexa helped mix hundreds of thousands of cocktails this holiday season with Tom Collins and Manhattans being the most requested drinks from skills like The Bartender, Mixologist and DrinkBoy.

·       Chocolate chip and sugar cookies were the favorite recipes from Alexa skills like Food Network and Allrecipes.

·       Home Alone and Elf were the most requested holiday movies with Alexa.

·       Alexa helped play millions of holiday songs this year, and the top songs were Jingle Bells (1999 РRemaster) by Frank Sinatra, All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey and Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano.

·       What was Alexa asked to cook? The most popular cooking tips requested on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were turkey, prime rib and chocolate chip cookies.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Who played the most holiday music with Alexa? Customers in¬†Seattle,¬†New York¬†and¬†Chicago¬†asked ‚ÄúAlexa, play holiday music‚ÄĚ more than any other city in the U.S.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Who turned on Christmas Lights the most with Alexa? Customers in¬†Seattle,¬†San Diego¬†and¬†New York¬†asked, ‚ÄúAlexa, turn on Christmas lights‚ÄĚ more than any other city in the U.S.

·       What games were the most requested with Alexa this holiday? Alexa entertained families with popular games like Jeopardy!, Twenty Questions and The Magic Door.

Amazon Prime:

·       More than one billion items shipped worldwide with Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon this holiday season.

·       More people around the world tried Prime this holiday season than any previous year.

·       The fastest Prime Now delivery on Christmas Eve took 13 minutes and was delivered at 9:05 p.m. to a Prime member in Redondo Beach, California. The order included a Tile Slim Item Finder and a Tile Mate Key Finder.

·       December 23, 2016 was the biggest day ever for Prime Now deliveries worldwide and members ordered 3x more items compared to last year with one and two hour delivery worldwide. Echo Dot, Amazon Echo, Fire TV Stick and Oreo Cookies were some of the most popular items ordered that day in the U.S.

·       The last Prime Now order delivered in time for the holiday was delivered at 11:59 p.m. on December 24, 2016 to a Prime member in Irvine, California. The order included a Heated Mattress Pad, NyQuil and Afrin Nasal Spray.

·       Prime members in Dallas, Texas ordered more items with Prime Now than any other city in the U.S. this holiday season.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The last Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery order from¬†Amazon.com¬†that was delivered in time for Christmas was ordered at¬†10:23 a.m.¬†on¬†December 24, 2016. The order included Venum Contender Boxing Gloves, and was delivered to a Prime member in¬†Richmond, Virginia¬†at¬†2:42 p.m.¬†‚Äď the same day.

Mobile Shopping:

·       More than 72 percent of Amazon customers worldwide shopped using a mobile device this holiday.

·       Shopping on the free Amazon mobile app grew by 56 percent this holiday, worldwide.

·       On Cyber Monday, Amazon customers worldwide purchased about 46 electronics per second on a mobile device.

·       On Cyber Monday, Amazon customers worldwide purchased about 36 toys per second on a mobile device.

Amazon Operations:

·       December 19 was the peak worldwide shipping day this holiday season.

·       In the U.S., more than 200,000 full-time and seasonal associates made the record-breaking shipping season possible.

·       In the last two years, Amazon launched operations at over a dozen new facilities, many of which house robotic technology.

·       Amazon fulfillment centers in San Marcos, Texas and Kent, Washington, as well as two Polish fulfillment centers, in Poznan and Wroclaw, shipped more than one million items in a single day.

·       There are now 45,000 robotics units working alongside Amazon associates in more than 20 fulfillment centers.

Amazon Digital Media:

·       The most streamed Amazon Original Series over the holidays was Goliath.

·       The most streamed Amazon Original Movie over the holidays was Love & Friendship.

·       The most watched TV series (non-Amazon Original) streaming on Prime Video this holiday was The Night Manager.

·       The most watched movie (non-Amazon Original) streaming on Prime Video this holiday was Eye in the Sky.

·       Customers listening to holiday music on Amazon Music more than tripled this year, compared to 2015.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The most streamed holiday song on Amazon Music was¬†It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year¬†by¬†Andy Williams.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Michael Bubl√© ‚Äď Christmas¬†was the most played holiday album on Amazon Music this season.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Amazon Music is the exclusive streaming home for all 16 studio albums by the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history,¬†Garth Brooks¬†‚Äď since his debut to streaming exclusively on¬†Amazon, Brooks has become one of the top-streamed artists on Amazon Music.

·       The hours that kids spent interacting with educational content in Amazon FreeTime this holiday season was enough time to sail around the earth more than 6,000 times.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Popular FreeTime Unlimited holiday titles enjoyed by kids in the¬†U.S. 2016¬†were¬†Holiday Jokes (Hah-larious¬†Joke Books), Elsa‚Äôs Ice Puzzles ‚Äď FreeTime Unlimited Edition, and¬†Caillou‚Äôs¬†Winter Wonders.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The top foodie book Kindle customers are reading this holiday season is¬†Anthony Bourdain’s¬†Kitchen Confidential, currently available in Kindle Unlimited.

·       The #1 magazine downloaded in Prime Reading in 2016 by Kindle customers was People.

·       The top non-fiction book downloaded in Prime Reading in 2016 was The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman.

·       In 2016, more than 3 million readers took the Goodreads Challenge and read a collective 38.1 million books this year.

·       Authors answered more than 26,000 reader questions on Goodreads in 2016.

·       The highest rated audiobook of 2016 on Audible is Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, and narrated by the author.

·       The bestselling audiobook of the year on Audible was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, narrated by Claire Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher.

Holiday Fun Facts:

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Hamilton: the Revolution collectible books and Hamilton albums to give every patron at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City a copy for 96 consecutive shows.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough 4K TVs to reach the peak of Mount Everest more than 9 times.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough KitchenAid Mixers this holiday to make nearly 7.5 million cookies at once.

·       On Cyber Monday 2016, Handmade at Amazon saw a 200 percent increase in sales versus Cyber Monday 2015.

·       If each Amazon.com customer who purchased Pokémon Sun and Moon this holiday spent at least an hour a day playing the game since its release, our customers would have spent the equivalent of more than 24 thousand lunar cycles capturing Pokémon.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough copies of the Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection to play consecutively for more than 300 years.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Hasbro Connect 4 Games this holiday season to give each resident of Dallas, Texas a single disc from the game.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Sphero Star Wars BB-8 App-Controlled Robots to roll as a relay around the Earth more than two times before the batteries run out.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Razor Jett Heel Wheels this holiday to roll a fully loaded space shuttle to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Wilson footballs this holiday to give every fan at a sold-out Seahawks game a chance to throw a pass like Russell Wilson.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough golf balls this holiday that, if lined up, would equal the length of Pebble Beach golf course four times over.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased more Marvin the Moose dog toys this holiday than the number of actual moose in New England.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough copies of The Secret Life of Pets that if each one were a tennis ball, they would fill Central Parkover two and a half feet deep.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Amazon.com¬†delivered enough men’s jeans to fill one Olympic-size swimming pool.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough ugly Christmas sweaters for every seat at all three NCAA College Football Playoff games.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough running shoes to run 18,603 times around the globe.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Amazon.com¬†customers purchased 2.5 million watches ‚Äď that is a watch purchased every 1.5 seconds this holiday season.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Amazon.com¬†customers purchased 10,451 carats of diamonds, which is equal to 6.5 Russian Kokoshnik Tiaras, one of the Queen of¬†England’s¬†most famous tiaras.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased the weight of a grizzly bear in gold and the weight of a rhinoceros in silver.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Etekcity camp lanterns this holiday to replace the beacon lights on top of the Eiffel Tower nearly 11 times.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough luggage to fill 20 Boeing 747 airplanes.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough electric vehicle home charging kits to make 2,196 emissions-free trips around the globe in a year.

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Amazon.com¬†customers purchased enough Char-Broil’s The Big Easy Turkey Fryers to cook 225,000 pounds of turkey.

Holiday Best Sellers (Amazon.com only):

·       All Categories: Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablet, Amazon Echo

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Amazon Launchpad: Watch Ya’ Mouth Family Edition – The Authentic, Hilarious, Mouthguard Party Game, Tile Mate – Key Finder. Phone Finder. Anything Finder., Anki Overdrive Starter Kit

·       Audio & Accessories: Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones, AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip, Sonos PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Automotive: Hopkins Mallory 26″ Snow Brush with Foam Grip, Battery Tender Junior 12-Volt Battery Charger, Zwipes Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (36 pack)

·       Baby: Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy, Nuby Octopus Hoopla Bathtime Fun Toys (Purple), Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether (Yellow)

·       Beauty & Grooming: Philips Sonicare Essence Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush (White), Philips Norelco Multigroom Series 3100 with 5 attachments, Oral-B Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush Powered by Braun

·       Books: Diary of a Wimpy Kid # 11: Double Down, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, First 100 Words

·       Camera: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera, AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag, GoPro HERO5

·       Fashion: Levi’s Men’s 501 Original Fit Jean, Fossil Emma Large Zip RFID Wallet, kate spade new york Cedar Street Cami Convertible Cross-Body Bag

·       Grocery: The Original Donut Shop, Regular, Medium Extra Bold, Keurig K-Cups (72 Count), San Francisco Bay OneCup, Fog Chaser (80 Single Serve Coffees), KIND Nuts & Spices, Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt

·       Handmade: First Christmas in New Home Wood Ornament, Personalized Nameplate Gold Bar Necklace, World Travel Map Pin Board

·       Home: BLACK + DECKER 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vac, Lasko Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat, Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray 2-Ounce Bottle (Original Scent)

·       Home Improvement: WBM Himalayan Salt Lamp, 3M Indoor Window Insulator Kit, Woods Outdoor 24-Hour Photoelectric Timer

·       Home & Personal Care: AmazonBasics AA Performance Alkaline Batteries (48-pack), Bounty Select-a-Size Paper Towels, Huge Roll (12 Count), Cottonelle Ultra ComfortCare Big Roll Toilet Paper (12 Count)

·       Kitchen: RTIC 30 oz. Tumbler, Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker (6 quart), Keurig K55 Single Serve Coffer Maker

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Luxury Beauty: stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, BaBylissPRO Ceramix Xtreme Dryer

·       Movies: The Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory, Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection

·       Music (CDs & vinyl): A Pentatonix Christmas, Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording), Blue & Lonesome

·       Musical Instruments: Blue Yeti USB Microphone, Kala Learn To Play Ukulele Starter Kit (Amazon Exclusive), Singing Machine Top Loading CDG Karaoke System with Sound and Disco Light Show

·       Outdoors: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, Etekcity 2-pack Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern with 6 AA Batteries (Black, Collapsible), Yeti Coolers Rambler

·       Patio, Lawn & Garden: iDevices iGrill Mini, Bounty Hunter BHJS Junior Metal Detector, Snow Joe Telescoping Snow Broom with Ice Scraper

·       PC: SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC UHS-I Card with Adapter, Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0, AmazonBasics Mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt) to HDMI Adapter

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Pets: KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Dog Toy Medium Dog Toy (Brown), GREENIES PILL POCKETS Soft Dog Treats, Chicken (Capsule, 15.8 oz), Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food ‚Äď Gravy Lovers ‚Äď Poultry & Beef Variety Pack, 3-Ounce Can (Pack of 24)

·       Smart Home: TP-Link Smart Plug, Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit, Samsung SmartThings Hub

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Sports: Spalding NBA Street Basketball, Bushnell Falcon 7×35 Binoculars w/ Case, Simply Fit Board

·       Tools: TEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge, MagnoGrip 311-090 Magnetic Wristband, DEWALT DW2166 45-Piece Screwdriving Set with Tough Case

·       Toys & Games: Hasbro Pie Face Game & Pie Face Showdown Game, Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit, Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit

·       TV: Samsung 32-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV, Avera 32-Inch 720p LED TV, Samsung 40-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Video Games: Pok√©mon Sun –¬†Nintendo¬†3DS, Pok√©mon Moon –¬†Nintendo¬†3DS, Final Fantasy XV – PlayStation 4

·       Wearable Technology: Garmin vivofit Fitness Band, Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch, Samsung Gear VR РVirtual Reality Headset

·       Wireless: AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable (6 Feet), WeMo Light Switch, Samsung Wireless Charging Pad

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.

===

Another great holiday season for Amazon, and with much less controversy than last year (when there were concerns expressed about items selling out)!

Do you have any thoughts on this? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get. :) Shop ‚Äôtil you help! :) By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Amazon’s Q3 financials: overwhelmingly up…and the stock went down

October 28, 2016

Amazon’s Q3 financials: overwhelmingly up…and the stock went down

You gotta love investors: for them, every silver lining has a cloud. ūüėČ

I’m just kidding…I would never pretend to be qualified to judge investors. I’m definitely a layperson there. I would much rather have a reliable 3% than take a shot at 10% or nothing. I love playing games, and I can be a risktaker there. When my family goes to the racetrack for holidays (which we do), I actually follow a risky strategy. We all just bet essentially a minimum ($5 a race) and we split winnings. I bet some long shots…and might win one long shot¬†out of eight races (but win maybe $30).¬† I’m typically close to break even at the end of the day (but we definitely come out ahead socially, with all the time to talk to family we may not see that often). Our now adult kid had a system growing up that would win virtually every race…but small amounts. We usually come out pretty close between the two of us. Family finances, though? I want predictability and reliability, not great for at stock player.

It feels to me, though, like some investors are like some managers (and I’ve trained managers). They suspect that everyone is hiding negative things, and if they get the slightest hint that something is bad, they assume they’ve uncovered previously hidden mass failure/corruption.

Amazon announced their third quarter financials yesterday:

Generally, things were very good. Sales year over year (comparing this quarter in 2016 to the same quarter in 2015…y/y) were up 29%. Net income more than tripled.

Yes, in the international segment, net income was down, while sales were up…I believe that’s largely due to investment in India.

Amazon invests…a lot. During an investment phase, you spend more money, with the intent to make more money as a result (that’s basically what investment means). Amazon is always in an investment phase somewhere. After more than¬†a decade, that is now paying off in North America. They’ve made very few investments which didn’t pay off eventually (the Fire Phone being a notable exception, as well as an early auction site…but those are more than matched by successful investments).

According to this

CNN Money graph

the stock lost value yesterday…although it is up more than 20% for the year.

The stock loss may be more of a reaction to Amazon not doing as well as people expected…that’s what the blogosphere says.

As what¬†should probably be the Amazon Investors webpage motto would say: “Give it time.” ūüėČ

Now, the press release did something the conference call didn’t do this time (which was interesting)…it bragged about Amazon’s developments.

This short excerpt had one of the most intriguing parts for me:

‚ÄúAlexa may be Amazon‚Äôs most loved invention yet ‚ÄĒ literally ‚ÄĒ with over 250,000 marriage proposals from customers and counting,‚ÄĚ said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. ‚ÄúAnd she‚Äôs just getting better. Because Alexa‚Äôs brain is in the cloud, we can easily and continuously add to her capabilities and make her more useful ‚ÄĒ wait until you see some of the surprises the team is working on now.‚ÄĚ

A quarter of a million people have proposed marriage…to an artificial intelligence construct. ūüôā People have loved their cars…but I don’t think “marriage” best describes that relationship. ūüėČ Marriage implies a component of intellectual and emotional exchange, and demonstrates that people think of Alexa as a “social actor”.

Those surprises? There are two directions: more capabilities and more access to capabilities. I think we’ll see both…Alexa in more places, and more things it can do. They’ve just directly connected the

Logitech Harmony Home Control ‚Äď 8 Devices (White) (at AmazonSmile*))

I need to test that out yet, to see if it has more capabilities than what I do now going through IFTTT (If This Then That).

Alexa still needs to control my

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

directly through the Echo…although they gave it a lot more voice control through its own voice control.

One thing that won’t be a surprise is a social chatbot…that’s the goal of the current

Alexa Prize competition

although we won’t see the results of that for more than a year.

In the press release, Amazon did talk about e-books and reading devices…that’s a good thing. ūüôā

Of course, the retail segment is just a part of what Amazon does…there may have been more concern about competitors to AWS (Amazon Web Services); that came up in one of the questions.

I’m sure many of you are wiser about the stock market than I am: what do you think? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

*¬†I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

 

Amazon’s Q2 financials: even better than Q1!

July 29, 2016

Amazon’s Q2 financials: even better than Q1!

Last quarter, I was blown away by Amazon’s 28% sales growth.

This quarter, as reported in this

press release

and in this

recorded webcast

the second quarter was even better, with a 31% increase over the same quarter in 2015!

This is starting to remind me of the movie The Blob…it just keeps growing and growing. ūüėČ

That 31% number, though, is not the most astounding one in the information given.

How about this?

“Net income was $857 million in the second quarter, or $1.78 per diluted share, compared with $92 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, in second quarter 2015.¬†“

That’s more than nine times as high!

I’m going to give you one more small excerpt:

“The second annual Prime Day was the biggest day ever for Amazon, and was also a record day for Amazon devices globally. Compared to Prime Day 2015, worldwide orders grew by more than 60%, orders from third-party sellers with Prime Day deals nearly tripled, and Prime members saved over twice as much on deals.”

They list all sorts of accomplishments, including the introduction of the new

All-New Kindle E-reader ‚Äď Black, 6‚Ä≥ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi ‚Äď Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which has Bluetooth audio connection capability.

Even though that was mentioned, AWS (Amazon Web Services) was the star.

Clearly, another important piece was international expansion, especially in India.

That’s one reason why there is still a lot of room to grow.

It appears that what I call Phase 2 is working. ūüėČ

Looking good!

Seeking Alpha transcript of the call, including the Q&A section

By this time tomorrow, we’ll know what the “secret product” which I wrote about here:

Geekwire: Amazon secret product launch this Sunday (7/31) at midnight

is.

I think there is a chance that it is the hardback of

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ‚Äď Parts I & II (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production (at AmazonSmile*))

although I would have thought they would have really promoted that they could get that to people between midnight and¬† 2:00 AM…so that hardback purchasers could have it as soon as Kindle purchasers.

However, the actual release date is Sunday…I don’t think they are going to be able to break the presumed embargo. There would have to be a special deal, and I just don’t think that’s the case.

I’m pleased that it will be getting more people to read plays…I’ve enjoyed many plays in book form.

While I definitely want to read it, at $14.99, I’ll give a family member the opportunity to give it to me as a gift. ūüėČ

On the other hand, it may be something much more innovative. It appears that Len Edgerly is perhaps interviewing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for Friday’s

The Kindle Chronicles podcast

That will be the 8th anniversary show, and Len said that it was off to Seattle for hopefully the same guest as was on the 4h anniversary show…and the July 26th, 2012 episode had Jeff Bezos as a guest…

http://www.thekindlechronicles.com/2012/07/

Interesting times indeed!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

*¬†I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Amazon’s Q1 financials: Phase 2 crushes expectations!

April 29, 2016

Amazon’s Q1 financials: Phase 2 crushes expectations!

I used to always be able to correct people when they would say that Amazon did something just because they were all about profits…since the e-tailer never used to make any. ūüėČ

Well, that’s changed. ūüôā

Amazon’s latest financial report was a huge improvement.

Here’s the

press release

and here is where you can listen to the

webcast

after doing a free sign-in. By the way, I always put “independent” for my organization.

As has usually been the case, Amazon’s sales are up a nearly incomprehensible amount for a company which is already this big…in this case, 28% to $29.1 billion dollars (comparing 2016 Q1 to 2015 Q1).

Sure, that’s impressive…but investors have been waiting for years for profits.

That’s clearly established now (it had already started).

Let me quote this in a short excerpt:

“Net income was $513 million in the first quarter, or $1.07 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $57 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, in first quarter 2015.¬†“

That’s right…from a $57 million loss to a $513 million dollar gain!

I always say that I’m not good at predicting how investors will react, but I’d be surprised if we don’t see a rise in Amazon’s stock price over the next¬† couple of days at least.

A lot of things were improved…and I think this is particularly interesting when it’s not necessarily the trend. Apple didn’t have a good report, for example.

I was happy to have them mentioning things I care about as a customer: Prime; the Echo family; Fire tablets; and even a Kindle EBR** (E-Book Reader). That doesn’t always happen.

Some elements of note:

  • More than twice as many Fire tablets were sold¬† compared to Q1 2015. Certainly, the lowest priced one is part of that, so that doesn’t mean necessarily twice the revenue…but that’s still a lot of growth for one of Amazon’s hardware lines
  • They talked a lot about how effective Prime is, how much they are investing in it…and there was a question that they declined to answer about maybe a new category of benefit for Prime. One possibility to me is gaming…there’s a lot free now, but giving Prime members access (even short-lived) to the more console type games would be big
  • With all of what they’ve done, including the raise in Prime membership fees, Amazon was number 1 in customer satisfaction and in corporate reputation

Now,¬† I’m just focusing on what we as retail customers see…Amazon Web Services is another big driver of success, as well as third-party sales, and other elements that make Amazon what I call¬† the “Infrastructure of the Internet”.

As you can see in this

CNN Money graph

at time of writing, Amazon was up nearly 70 points, more than 10% in after hours trading. It will be interesting to see what happens for the rest of the week and beyond.

I’m not concerned that Amazon is going to get complacent soon, incidentally. I think they are reveling in the impact of their innovation and risk-taking.

What do you think? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :)

** People who have tried the new Oasis seem to be impressed with the experience. I’m quite disappointed that Amazon as not given people an option to buy it without¬†animal leather being part of the deal. While that’s the case (and I have confirmed with Amazon that it is the case), I, and other people who don’t use leather for philosophical reasons, won’t be purchasing it (I also don’t link to it). I’m sure Amazon will eventually offer us the offer of non-animal leather (or less satisfactorily, without a battery-embedded cover, which would give us less battery life than the Voyage)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Jeff Bezos’ 2016 letter to shareowners

April 7, 2016

Jeff Bezos’ 2016 letter to shareowners

Every year, Amazon CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Jeff Bezos writes a letter to shareowners of the company. It’s available through the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)…here is this year’s:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1018724/000119312516530910/d168744dex991.htm

These letters tend to be well-written, high levels thoughts, more on the philosophy and culture of Amazon, rather than specific numbers on production.

This year is no exception. ūüôā

A lot of it is about how Amazon will inevitably face risks.

I find that refreshing, and I think it’s a wise thing to do.

I’m a former actor, and there is a theatrical tradition that can surprise outsiders if they observe it.

You’ve all heard of people saying, “Break a leg,” which is a way to wish someone a good performance.

It’s really partially about not “jinxing” it. ūüôā

Similarly, there is usually a night during preparations for a play, the night when the set is first¬†up, where the actors walk around the stage…and talk about bad things that might happen.

“Somebody could fall stepping from that set piece to that one.”

“That tower could tip over and fall on someone.”

“The curtain’s probably going to catch that wheel when that wall gets pushed out.”

Now, that might just sound negative, but it has a practical purpose.

When the actors are doing that, the stage crew is also there.¬† The crew doesn’t talk…they just listen.

This is done soon enough so that changes can be made.

That doesn’t mean that everything every actor says results in a change. The stage crew may know that what the actor says is not going to happen…that it’s already been anticipated and remedied.

By the way, that reminds me of something many people seem to…misunderstand.

That’s “Murphy’s Law”.

Many people can quote that: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

They use that as an excuse…to say there was nothing that could have been done.

As I recall, though, there actually was a Murphy. My recollection is that Murphy worked at the White Sands missile testing base, but I’m not going to look it up first. ūüôā I’ll probably look it up afterwards, but I like my recollection.

As¬† I remember it, the actual “law” is, “If anything can go wrong, it will…so fix it now.”

It’s the second part people don’t seem to know. ūüôā

The point is, if there is a one percent chance something will go wrong, you can’t just ignore it because there is such a small chance…you need to get as¬† close as you can to a zero percent chance, since if that one percent event can happen, you have to act as though it will happen.

So, I like that Jeff Bezos recognizes that there are risks to success.

I would say this was my favorite line this year:

“I believe we are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!), and failure and invention are inseparable twins.”

There aren’t any real clear indicators of Amazon’s plans, and Bezos doesn’t even mention the Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)¬†or new models of Kindles/or Fires…even though we expect new Kindles to be announced next week.

I recommend you read the letter…and compare it to the 1997 letter, which, as usual, is included.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

 

Amazon’s 4th quarter financials: wow, these are good!

January 29, 2016

Amazon’s 4th quarter financials: wow, these are good!

Blue Origin isn’t Jeff Bezos’ only company blasting through the stratosphere! ūüėČ

Amazon has their fourth quarter 2015 (covering the holiday season)

press release

out, and you can download slides and listen to today’s conference call about it here:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=97664&eventID=5215069

To listen to the Webex, you’ll need to do a free registration, including a company. You can just put “independent” for the company, if you want.

There are so many positives overall, as well as on the consumer side!

I’ll quote this one for the overall:

“Net income was $596 million, or $1.25 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $241 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, in 2014.”

As to other stats…well, if you want to read some good news, check the press release. ūüėČ

Just some of the consumer side points:

  • Fire TV remains the #1 best-selling streaming media player in the U.S [that means more than Apple TV, more than Chromecast]
  • The $50 Fire tablet has been the #1 best-selling, most gifted, and most wished-for product across all items available on Amazon.comsince its introduction 19 weeks ago
  • In 2015, worldwide paid Prime memberships increased 51% ‚ÄĒ 47% in the U.S. and even faster outside the U.S.
  • In the fourth quarter, Prime Music streaming hours more than tripled in the U.S. compared with fourth quarter 2014

Not mentioned? Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers) and e-books.

I’m not worried about that, though. We have to admit it’s a small part of Amazon’s business (even if it did launch their now mighty devices portion).

During the Q&A portion, people asked about AWS (Amazon Web Service) growth slowing (they explained that pretty well, I thought), and how shipping has gotten a bit more expensive for Amazon…but generally, I think the investors who asked questions on the call sounded reasonably pleased.

Greatly increased profits, greatly increased sales, market dominance…so, naturally, the stock dropped after the news. ūüôā

No, seriously…it is down:

Financial Times article by Leslie Hook

However, that was after it went up today:

chart at Money.CNN

Investors were disappointed because, while it was great, it wasn’t as great as they expected.

It feels a little bit like a C student coming home with straight As and the parents saying, “You couldn’t have gotten A+s? Go to your room!” ūüėČ

As a consumer, I’m happy with what I see. Low cost devices worked for Amazon…that’s where I think they should be.

What do you think? I have some financial savvy readers…fill me in on insights I’m missing. ūüôā Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Bonus recommendation:

Autumn Angels (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by Arthur Byron Cover

This isn’t for everyone, but if you are a geek, you may really like this Nebula nominated novel. There are so many allusions to characters (in addition to fascinating original ones). Regular readers know I’m a big Doc Savage fan, and “The Lawyer” here is based on Ham Brooks. This is one of those unspoilable books…it’s not about the plot. ūüôā I’m mentioning now because it is available through

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Amazon’ subser (subscription service). If the concept of wildly disparate geeky characters being together in the same novel sounds intriguing to you, give it a shot. ūüôā

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


%d bloggers like this: