distribution

The Massive Scale Of Amazon’s Distribution Operations, Revealed Through Startling Images (AMZN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/massive-scale-of-amazons-distribution-operations-2012-11

amazon fulfillment center

As the world’s largest online retailer, it’s no surprise that its biggest fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona is the size of 28 football fields.

That’s because it’s their goal to have everything anyone wants at anytime. 

Amazon has 80 fulfillment centers in the world to handle all of its orders.

Even though Amazon already has massive operations, it’s still planning to open at least two new fulfillment centers in California over the next year or so.

And with the holiday shopping season in full force, Amazon hired an additional 50,000 employees to help with the expected demand.

Thanks to Imgur user SippingTea’s incredible photos, we have a sense of that this incredible scale actually looks like.

Stacks of shelves line the warehouse

Employees need carts to navigate through the massive amounts of inventory

Hundreds of boxes full of products cover the floor

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Friday, November 30th, 2012 news No Comments

Why The Debate Matters, And Who Will Win

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/XmoIr5uhrZk/html5-vs-apps-why-the-debate-matters-and-who-will-win-2012-10

html5 support

HTML5 is a new technology that allows developers to build rich web-based apps that run on any device via a standard web browser.

Many think it will save the web, rendering native platform-dependent apps obsolete. 

So, which will win? Native apps or HTML5? 

A recent report from BI Intelligence explains why we think HTML5 will win out, and what an HTML future will look like for consumers, developers, and brands.

Access The Full Report By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>

Here’s why the Apps-vs-HTML5 debate matters:

  • Distribution: Native apps are distributed through app stores and markets controlled by the owners of the platforms. HTML5 is distributed through the rules of the open web: the link economy.
  • Monetization: Native apps come with one-click purchase options built into mobile platforms. HTML5 apps will tend to be monetized more through advertising, because payments will be less user-friendly.
  • Platform power and network effects: Developers have to conform with Apple’s rules. Apple’s market share, meanwhile, creates network effects and lock-in. If and when developers can build excelle! nt iPhone and iPad functionality on the web using HTML5, developers can cut Apple out of the loop. This will reduce the network effects of Apple’s platform.
  • Functionality: Right now, native apps can do a lot more than HTML5 apps. HTML5 apps will get better, but not as fast as some HTML5 advocates think. 

In full, the special report analyzes:

  • What HTML5 is, giving an overview of how it is a technology done by committee.

iOS 6 Grabbed 15 Percent Of iOS Users In Its First Day

Source: https://intelligence.businessinsider.com/welcome

Apple released the latest iteration of its mobile platform, iOS 6, on Wednesday and it looks like it has already made a huge dent in the platform’s software distribution. According to ChartBoost, 15 percent of iOS users upgraded to iOS 6 in the first 24 hours it was available.

Compare this to Android, where more than half of its users are still on Gingerbread, released in late 2010. Jelly Bean, released two months ago, only accounts for 1.2 percent of Android devices. 

iOS 6 Migration

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Friday, September 21st, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Rice University And OpenStax Announce First Open-Source Textbooks

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/07/rice-university-and-openstax-announce-first-open-source-textbooks/

openstax

When we think about the distribution industry being disrupted, we tend to think about music and movies, whose physical media and vast shipment infrastructure have been rendered mostly obsolete over the last decade. To a lesser extent, we hear about print, and the effect of e-readers and web consumption on books and magazines. No one is making the change particularly gracefully, and the same can be said of the textbook business, which does millions of dollars of business every year selling incredibly expensive items to students — who likely consider them anachronisms.

Rice University, which has been pushing alternative distribution mechanisms for scholarly publications for years, has announced a new initiative, by which they hope to publish free, high-quality textbooks in core subjects like physics and biology via a non-profit publisher called OpenStax College. It’s the polar opposite of Apple’s iBooks textbooks, which, while they too help drag this dusty industry into the present, amount more to a new sales vector for the publishers than competition.

Rice and OpenStax aren’t the first people to propose open-source or free textbooks. There are collections here and there, like Flat World Knowledge and Apple’s iTunes U — but they’re decidedly short on the type of books a freshman might have to buy for their year of survey courses: Biology 1, Physics 1, Sociology 1, Psychology 1. And 11 Learning has a similar idea of collaboration producing a book, but their creation model may not be economically feasible.

And of course there are the many companies that want to remove textbooks from the equation entirely. Setting up textbook platforms on new devices like Kno and Inkling, making an environment for meta-curricular activities and non-traditional learning like Khan Academy, or virtualizing the whole education experience, something with which many universities are tinkering.

But textbooks are still big business, and their utility in the education system is difficult to argue with right now. So OpenStax splits the difference: fueled by grant money from a number of private foundations (i.e. not government grants), they’re putting together full-on textbooks, peer-reviewed, professionally laid out, and all that. These textbooks will be provided for free in file form. But supplementary materials — quizzes, videos, presentations, and the like, presumably — cost money.

It would be petty to call this a bait and switch, since the bulk of the material is being provided for free. And a savvy professor or TA can scrape quite a few supplementary materials from the web already, thanks to those post-textbook services already mentioned. Providing the meat for free and the potatoes for a price is perfectly reasonable.

What remains to be seen is the quality of the textbooks. So far OpenStax has signed up “in the low tens” of colleged and universities to use the books. Institutions probably are waiting to see how the next year or so plays out: everything is in flux and to commit to one platform over another when the true costs and benefits are still unclear would be a bad move.

OpenStax’s first textbooks, for physics and sociology, will be coming in March, with others following later in the year. A strange time to make a debut, in a way, as the school year is well underway and many intro courses won’t be offered. But it will give time for the creaking machinery of academia to notice, acknowledge, examine, and judge the OpenStax offering. It may be that they can demonstrate their agility in fixing, improving, and expanding the content on the fly, which could either impress or terrify nodding faculty members who use the same text for a decade at a time.


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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5882542/new-york-citys-energy-consumption-mapped-out-building+by+building

New York City's Energy Consumption Mapped Out, Building-by-BuildingConvinced you’re more environmentally aware than your neighbors? Now you can find out: scientists have mapped the entire energy use of New York City, building by building.

The interactive map, created by Bianca Howard, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at Columbia University, uses publicly available data to work out which buildings are using the most energy and how they are using it. Then, it displays the energy use on a color-map. Howard’s PhD supervisors, Professor Modi, explains:

“While discussions frequently focus on electricity use, homes in New York City, whether a townhouse or a large apartment building, use far more energy in form of heat rather than electricity. Nearly all of this heat is obtained from heating oil or natural gas. In addition, current electricity distribution infrastructure in many urban areas relies on large amounts of electricity brought in from outside the city, making it difficult to support increased future use without requiring significant investment of resources and funds. We are looking at ways we can address both these issues-reducing our heating bills and increasing local electricity generation capacity.”

The resulting interactive map is great fun to play around with, allowing you to see how energy use is split down between electricity, space heating and cooling, and water heating. The best bit is that, as mentioned, its detail lets you study energy use down to the scale of individual buildings. You can play around with the map here. Every city needs something like this. [Columbia Engineering via Boing Boing]

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Sell Your Book in the iBookstore and Apple Won’t Let You Sell It Anywhere Else [IBooks]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5877736/sell-youre-book-in-the-ibookstore-and-apple-wont-let-you-sell-it-anywhere-else

Sell Your Book in the iBookstore and Apple Won't Let You Sell It Anywhere ElseSelling a book with Apple’s iBook Author program is now a one-way ticket to Apple being the only place you can sell the book. Maybe selling your book on iBooks isn’t such a great deal after all.

Dan Wineman of Venomous Porridge went to publish his first book from within the iBooks Author application when he was met with a curious notice. Once a book is made available for sale in the iBookstore, it can only be sold through that venue.

A quick look at the iBooks Author EULA reconfirms the dialog box’s diabolical message:

(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.

Ugh, the worst part is that you never agree to anything when you install the application. The EULA never appears when you install. Apparently, you implicitly agree to the EULA simply by using the software. If you’ve worked for weeks on a book only to discover you can’t sell it anywhere else once you publish it to the iBookstore, you’re gonna be pissed.

Apple is jumping into the world of publishing here. If you had a deal with Random House to sell your book, you wouldn’t be able to have Penguin Publishing also sell it. These deals, however, are transparent. The restrictions don’t just appear as you prepare to submit your manuscript. Apple is assuming rights over your content in the worst possible way. [Venomous Porridge]


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Thursday, January 19th, 2012 news No Comments

OpenSky Hits 1 Million Users And More Than $1.5 Million In Monthly Sales

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/opensky-1-million-users-2012-1


John Caplan OpenSky

Fab and Turntable weren’t the only pivot success stories of 2011. Another e-commerce site, OpenSky, went from struggling to successful in about nine months.

OpenSky was founded in 2009 by John Caplan as an e-commerce arm for bloggers. Influential writers could create storefronts alongside their content, but it wasn’t a fruitful business model for OpenSky.

“Last year we were dead in the water,” says Caplan. “We weren’t selling very much. When people are reading they aren’t buying things; they don’t have their credit cards in hand.”

Caplan decided to pivot his startup. OpenSky relaunched in April as a personalized shopping site.  Now e-commerce isn’t secondary to content on OpenSky; it’s king.

The new OpenSky operates like Twitter. It works with 80 industry influencers and celebrities, like Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay and Alicia Silverstone, to create lists of their favorite items.  Users can follow the influencers and buy the endorsed products.  OpenSky holds all the inventory, ships items to users, and splits the profit 50/50 with influencers. Caplan says none of OpenSky’s influencers are investors. They just really like the product.

“It’s like Twitter but our merchandisers [the celebrities who pick the items OpenSky sells] are making tens of thousands of dollars every month from their followers,” says Caplan. Martha Stewart, for example, has 83,549 followers on OpenSky just waiting to buy a recommended rolling pin or mixing bowl.

So far, OpenSky’s pivot has worked wonders. In April, its first relaunch month, OpenSky generated about $66,000 in sales. Last month it generated well over $1.5 million. “Revenue has been increasing 50% month over month,” says Caplan.

In October the 87-person startup raised $30 million. Today, Caplan told us OpenSky crossed the 1 million user mark. About 68% of users are repeat buyers, purchasing new OpenSky items within eight weeks.

We asked Caplan what his margins are like. Despite the 50/50 split, he says they’re pretty good.

“Brands are excited about OpenSky because they want to be endorsed by celebrities,” says Caplan. While brands can’t pay for distribution on OpenSky, they generate a lot of sales when celebrities decide to post their items. Caplan likens OpenSky to Pinterest.  The brands’ excitement makes it easy for OpenSky to purchase, store and sell celebrity-endorsed items at reasonable prices and margins.

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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

John Doerr And Reed Hastings Put $11 Million Into Education Startup

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/boonsri-dickinson-dreambox-raises-11m-from-john-doerr-and-reed-hastings-2011-12


john doerr tbi

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and super VC John Doerr just invested in DreamBox Learning, an adaptive math learning platform.

The startup just raised an $11 million round from Hastings (through his Charter School Growth Fund), Doerr (through his private investment fund), not Kleiner Perkins, and others.

The company plans to use the investment round to expand the product and curriculum as well as increase distribution. In the past year, half a million elementary school students used the platform, viewing more than 11 million lessons. An independent study found that students who used DreamBox for four months, improved their test scores by about 5%.

As a nation, the United States is lagging behind in math, but educational startups may soon change that. Another popular startup Khan Academy recently raised $5 million, which uses videos and practice problems to teach a range of courses including physics and computer programming. In October, Founders Fund invested $33 million in education startup Knewton, which has an adaptive learning algorithm that has been used to power a college online math readiness course.

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Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 news No Comments

You Won’t Believe How Big This Profitable 5-Person Startup Is

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/you-wont-believe-how-big-this-profitable-5-person-startup-is-2011-11


adrian constantin tv links

We recently met with Adrian Constantin, the founder of video startup TV Links

TV Links is a video aggregator and search engine, serving up videos from hundreds of sites, similar to US startup Clicker.

It’s not the most innovative business in the world, but here’s what you should know about it: it’s bootstrapped, profitable, it claims 37 million monthly unique visitors, and it has only 5 employees

TV Links is not just impressive, it’s interesting because it’s a combination of two important trends: globalization, and the extreme capital efficiency of online businesses. 

Globalization: the company has developers in Romania, servers in Spain and in the US through Amazon, and most of its users coming from the US, UK and Canada. 

Extreme capital efficiency: the company basically outsources everything: hosting, advertising and even some development. 

TV Links’ one weak spot is that it gets the vast majority of its traffic from Google and so will live and die by SEO. But the company has ambitious plans; it’s even starting to produce its own original video. 

We once wrote that Instagram is the future of startups in part because of its extreme capital efficiency: it has over 10 million users and half a dozen staff (the other reason is distribution via app stores and social media). TV Links is another example of this extreme capital efficiency; unlike Instagram, it gets distribution through the more “traditional” medium of search engines, but unlike Instagram it’s also profitable. 

This new reality has broad implications beyond startups. If you’re wondering about the sky-high valuations of companies like LinkedIn or Twitter, part of your calculus should also take into account the fact that it’s now possible to build these very efficient businesses with huge global markets, something which wasn’t possible 10 years ago when “clouds” were still things in the sky and the internet population was counted in millions, not billions.

We will see many more of these ultra capital-efficient, globally-distributed online businesses in the future. 

MORE: Why Instagram Is The Future Of Startups →

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Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 news No Comments

Mark Cuban foretells Netflix demise, sees a future filled with on-demand video

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/07/mark-cuban-foretells-netflix-demise-sees-a-future-filled-with-o/

To call Mark Cuban eccentric would be akin to describing the ocean as wet, but what’s not so often acknowledged about the Dallas Mavericks owner is the sharp mind and commercial nous that have gotten him to the position of hiring and firing millionaire ball players. One of Mark’s recent blog posts, entitled “The future of TV … is TV,” got the attention of NewTeeVee, who sought to debunk his contention that VOD (video on demand) services from cable operators would become the primary means by which we consume digital media in the future. They cite the growing success story of Netflix’s digital distribution model, as well as the 12 million hours of March Madness video consumed via CBS’ web portal, in arguing that web streaming is indeed the great new hotness.

Mark’s response tackles Netflix head on, and points out that the company’s rapid growth is about to start working against it, with movie studios and other content providers likely to jack up prices and demand further concessions from the streaming service as it turns into a real competitor to cable companies. According to him, Netflix is presently getting its content at prices that are unsustainable, and his prognostication is that content owners seeking bigger levies — together with the expansion of VOD choice, which he sees as foolproof compared to the overwhelming complexity that web streaming entails — will lead to Netflix passing costs on to the consumers and losing out to cable operators. Irrespective of whether you agree with him, the whole exchange is well worth a read. Use the links below to get filled in.

Mark Cuban foretells Netflix demise, sees a future filled with on-demand video originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 May 2010 10:09:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink CNET  |  sourceBlog Maverick, NewTeeVee (1), (2)  | Email this | Comments

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Friday, May 7th, 2010 news 1 Comment

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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