I saw today that I am able to hire someone from Amazon to come vacuum my living room and wash my dishes.
It won't be long until a member of Amazon Prime can book a baby sitter or an electrician.
Barrons today talked about Amazon clustering warehouses around college towns and proactively shipping student-customers what they think they will need next. They will include an empty box for the student to return the things Amazon incorrectly anticipated.
The next logical step is to provide housing for this customer base.
Amazon has been spreading Distribution centers for a few years now, Good client ! I have done several of those MASSIVE buildings, there are at least two in SC and I saw one under construction in Charleston last week.
They name them secret names for the projects And we did not even know the first one was Amazon for at least halfway thru construction on the first one.
They have another second one here in Columbia SC which does nothing but Print and Bind New books and cds Movies dvds etc to order, think about it no pre storage of unsold material like a Bookstore was. Bad as some think i saw it as smart. We bought a small CAMaster stinger and outsourced all cabinetry doing Solid surface fabrication and assembly onsite it was a money maker for us, as a sole custom shop i feel little competition from them but i feel for the simple box cabinetry guys, when they get around to it, and they will
Remember when we thought Walmart was the death of Brick and morter !
I am a contrarian, but I do not see cheaper housing as a proper goal. I think better wages, with more parity/equality/respect is a goal. Housing should be a chunk of of one's income, but not all of it. Health costs should be rolled into a single payer, so that is out of the income drain.
Housing now is so cheap that in the vinyl villages around here, after 5 years many houses all have the same major and minor problems. One builder's houses all have loose and falling handrails because the installers thought a few air toenails were adequate. Another has plumbing supply leaks in the slabs of about 45 houses (jackhammers!!!). Another had mold growing in hundreds of their houses because of incorrect brick air gaps. All the faucets are failing in all the houses was are toilet valves. A large rain indicated that these houses have no back flow prevention on the sewage line. This was eliminated as a requirement by the builders petitioning the County 'to save costs'. Can you spell "basement full of raw sewage?"
And this is 5 years old. What happens when they are 10 or 20 years old? Where will they be bulldozed to make way for the new improved? The Amazon house?
Who pays for these problems? The owners do, of course. Better skilled, better design, better materials will avoid all these problems, but that COSTS MONEY, and therefore cannot be. These clowns are looking for ways to cut labor (illegals) and all other costs. They are near rabid with the pressure for more housing - eyes rolling around, drooling, hands shaking. Dollar signs instead of pupils.
Look to the European model where they have wrestled with this problem for...centuries. They build quality, they build skilled. Tradesmen in many towns are respected, paid well and the trade is desirable. The house are expected to last for hundreds off years, retain and gain value, yet be affordable for the average family. They are not 6,500 s/f, with a 5 car garage.
Yet we keep building a better path into the toilet.
I remember walking into a home under construction once and noticing the builder had screwed his first and scecong layer subfloor down at 16 oc Over kill yes but i bet it never creaks !, My Dad was a realtor in the 60s and showed me good construction.
So when it came down to Vinyl Villiages became predominate (I love that word Vynil Villiages !) I went all commercial and have not missed Residential one bit...
You wrote: "I think better wages, with more parity/equality/respect is a goal."
When I was in college I studied something called "basic statistics". The first lesson had to do with normal distribution curves. With a random sample size of 30 we could Gauss Curve Analysis to predict a probability of occurrence, establish a confidence interval for that prediction and arrive at an expected rate of return.
Data was hard to get to back then so you had to abstract from reality and build a subset in order to get something that was predictive. The talent derived from being able to ascertain which of the variables were salient when designing the model.
In the same way we no longer use a sextant to navigate we no longer rely on modeling to interpret the world. Instead of a subset of the data Google now has all of the data. They know where we shop, what websites we peruse, the current balance on our credit card and where we are right now. Facebook, Amazon & Apple also do this. They are the four horsemen.
Not sure how to crank parity/equality/respect into this algorithm.
I think we are going to be reduced to a diorama on youtube. Our glory will emanate from how many subscribers we have.
I too learned about statistics in college. But I was much more interested in bell curves, and the people at the extremes of those curves. I heard Stewart Brand say that the edge was where to be since the center is not only crowded, but boring.
Kurt Vonnegut said it very well:
I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge, you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Is you think about the two edges of a curve as customers where price point is the center of the curve, the left edge is probably the buyer who is totally price driven and probably very often not satisfied and willing to voice it.
The right edge is people who see value at a price where there may not be any and also voice their displeasure frequently as the more they spend the better their eyes get.
Amazon is very entrepreneurial. You mention them offering an electrician. Too late, they already do in limited markets. I am sure they will also everything that makes money including woodworking, millwork, and new stairs! Tongue in cheek you mention them selling homes. I can guarantee you they are looking at the real estate business too. Good or bad? Hard to tell I think.
It's the same thing as rooting for your favorite sports team you're not routing for the same players year after year, they're changing all the time, as Jerry Seinfeld once said what you're really rooting for is laundry and same deal with the income quintiles.
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