Amazon bookstores: It’s the drones, stupid

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 10.52.27 PM Remember the motto of the Clinton Presidential campaign back in 1992: “It’s the economy, stupid!” That election was about the economy and Clinton won as a result. Well this week let slip its plan to open 300-400 bookstores in U.S. cities, sending Wall Street analysts into a tizzy because bookstores look to them like a lousy business even for the world’s biggest bookseller. But this isn’t about selling books. This Amazon plan — if it happens at all — is about creating bases from which to fly delivery drones.

Delivery drones are to me a stupid idea except in certain rare circumstances like flying prescriptions to people living […]

Think cloud computing saved you from Sandy? Think again.

Late at night last weekend, as Hurricane Sandy was beating the crap out of the eastern seaboard, I received an e-mail message from lower Manhattan. You may have received this message, too, or one just like it. It felt to me like getting a radiogram from the sinking Titanic. An Internet company was running out of diesel fuel for its generator and would shortly be dropping off the net. The identity of the company doesn’t matter. What matters is what we can learn from their experience.

The company had weathered power outages before and had four days of diesel fuel stored onsite. They had felt ready for Sandy. But most of their fuel wasn’t at the […]

Steve Jobs — The Lost Interview available for preorder on

This DVD won’t ship until October, but it is ready for preorder right now on and might make a good Christmas gift for someone.

Additional material on the DVD not available anywhere else include a commentary audio track and my 2005 NeRDTV video interview with original Mac system programmer Andy Hertzfeld in which he talks about his Apple experiences and recounts the hilarious story of what happened when Steve Jobs apologized to Bill Gates for telling me that Microsoft had no taste. This 65 minute interview with Andy has never before been available in full resolution and is well worth having in its own right.

But then what do I know?

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Best Buy is Doomed

I have only visited Best Buy Intergalactic HQ once, to meet Geek Squad Chief Inspector Robert Stephens, but it reminded me instantly of the time about 40 years ago when my girlfriend and I picked-up her father from work at Bethlehem Steel. Her dad was a salesman and paid sales commissions but — like every other Bethlehem Steel worker — he punched a time clock every day. I don’t think they punch time clocks at Best Buy, but it has that same 20th century industrial feel that told me in 1973 that Bethlehem Steel was doomed. And Best Buy may be doomed, too, announcing last week the token closure of 50 stores, hinting at a […]

Prediction #2: Amazon and Bezos supplant Apple and Jobs

If Apple gives up its position of industry leadership in 2012 the only company capable of assuming that role is What other company is there?  In the PC space giants like HP and Dell are good followers, not leaders. Intel doesn’t even see itself in such a leadership role. Microsoft is having trouble just holding onto what it has already while Google is a herd of cats. Oracle is too enterprise-centric and everyone else is too darned small. That leaves Amazon.

This doesn’t mean Amazon is a perfect or even an easy replacement for Apple as a design leader because in many ways Amazon is so much less than what Apple has become. But in […]