Published: October 2008

The birth of FedEx

While attending Yale in the 1960s, Fred Smith wrote an economics term paper on the need for reliable overnight delivery. His professor gave him a C and responded: “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but…the idea must be feasible.”

Convinced his idea was feasible, Smith decided to take the plunge with $4 million he’d inherited from his father. Federal Express (FedEx) began operation in 1971, with 14 Falcon jets servicing 25 cities.

The company was losing more than $1 million a month by mid-1974. With only $5,000 left in the bank to pay a $24,000…

Source: 1998 Letter to Shareholders
Published: April 1999

Hiring at Amazon

In 1998 Amazon’s sales grew from $148 million in 1997 to $610 million — a 313% increase. The number of employees grew 250% from 600 to over 2,100.

In his letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos highlighted a hiring practice at Amazon that helps maintain an exceptional workforce.

During each hiring meeting, managers are asked to consider three questions about every candidate:

  1. Will you admire this person?
  2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
  3. Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?

Source: Chartr
Published: September 2021

Spotify extends its lead in music streaming

Spotify has done an impressive job of maintaining its lead in music streaming, with the Swedish company topping 165 million paid subscribers in its most recent quarter.

Current estimates for the number of paid music subscribers

Spotify: 165 million

Apple Music: 78 million

Amazon Music: 63 million

YouTube Music: 50 million

Source: CNBC
Published: July 1999

“There’s no guarantee that can be a successful company.”

Jeff Bezos explained his ambitious vision for Amazon in a 1999 interview.

“I believe that it is very easy to predict that there will be lots of successful companies born of the internet that will have very large market caps. Where we sit today, it is very hard to predict who those companies will be. If is not one of the important lasting companies born of the internet, then we will have no one to blame but ourselves. There are no guarantees.

If you can focus on [the following] then I think you have a good chance:

  • Customer experience
  • Selection
  • Ease of use
  • Low prices
  • More information to make purchase decisions
  • Great customer service”

Green consciousness is the top-ranked reason cited for buying an EV across all age groups.

Source: EY
Published: July 2021

41% of consumers considering electric for their next car

An electric vehicle (EV) boom is beginning.

Based on Consumer Index records across 13 major international markets, more than 40% of consumers are considering going electric for their next car. This is an 11% increase from last year.

For the first time, green consciousness and environmental concerns are also the top-ranked reason cited for buying an EV across all age groups.

Global preference of consumers planning to buy a car, 2021

Gasoline, petrol, diesel: 50%

BEV (battery electric vehicle), hybrid, plug-in: 41%

Hydrogen, fuel cell: 2%

Not sure / I need to understand more about the choices: 8%

In January 2021, Bitcoin represented 71% of the value of all cryptocurrencies. Today it represents only 42%.

Source: Coinmarketcap
Published: September 2021

Bitcoin Dominance YTD

Bitcoin Dominance is a metric that determines how much share of the overall crypto market share is owned by Bitcoin. In 2021, we’ve seen Bitcoin decline from 71% to 42% and Ethereum climb from 11% to 20%.

How much longer will Bitcoin remain the most valuable cryptocurrency? Only time will tell.

January: Bitcoin 71%, Ethereum 11%

February: Bitcoin 62%, Ethereum 16%

March: Bitcoin 61%, Ethereum 12%

April: Bitcoin 58%, Ethereum 12%

May: Bitcoin 48%, Ethereum 15%

June: Bitcoin 42%, Ethereum 19%

July: Bitcoin 45%, Ethereum 18%

August: Bitcoin 47%, Ethereum 19%

September: Bitcoin 42%, Ethereum 20%

Have you used an effective mechanism in your professional or personal life? Share your experience.

Source: Fact of the Day 1
Published: September 2021

What is a Mechanism at Amazon?

A complete process that converts inputs into desired outputs on an ongoing, recurring basis.

  • Allow us to learn and improve from historical defects.
  • Enable scalable process-based solutions.
  • Prevent institutional knowledge through documentation.

Tool: transforms inputs to outputs.
Adoption: set incentives for your stakeholders.
Inspection: ensure continuous delivery of desired outputs.

“Good intentions never work, you need good mechanisms to make anything happen.” -Jeff Bezos

Source: Martin Harbech
Published: September 2021

Good mechanisms outperform good intentions

Ever heard sayings like this at work…

“We should try harder”

“We have to double down on this”

“We need more sense of urgency”

… and then nothing changes.

Oddly, vague statements like this make us feel better… even if we kinda know nothing meaningful is going to happen.

A famous Amazon saying by Jeff Bezos is:

Good intentions never work, you need good mechanisms to make anything happen.

This is why mechanisms are so important. Tomorrow’s fact will define what a mechanism is.

While Twitch is rising in popularity, getting people to watch your Twitch live stream is… hard. The vast majority of Twitch channels go unwatched.

Source: SullyGnome
Published: August 2021

Viewer disparity on Twitch

The vast majority of Twitch channels go unwatched. According to data from SullyGnome, a Twitch analytics company, of the 16.5M channels that streamed last year, 15.6M (94%) averaged fewer than five viewers.

Having just 26 viewers on your stream is nearly enough to put a streamer in the top 1% of Twitch.

Channels by average viewers who streamed on Twitch over the past year

Viewers | Number of Channels

0–5 viewers | 15,700,000 channels

6–10 viewers | 500,000 channels

11–25 viewers | 300,000 channels

26–50 viewers | 100,000 channels

51+ viewers | 75,000 channels

Global energy consumption dipped 4% in 2020 due to lockdowns and economic slowdowns.

Source: Enerdata, Worldometer

Published: July 2021, August 2021

Global energy consumption dipped 4% in 2020 due to lockdowns and economic slowdowns. This contrasted with historical average increases of 2%/year.

Using Mtoe (metric ton of oil equipment) as a measure, the largest consumer by far in 2020 was China, using 24% of total energy output.

Top 10 countries by energy consumption (Mtoe) in 2020, plus population

  1. China — 3,381 Mtoe (population: 1.4 billion)
  2. United States — 2,046 Mtoe (population: 331 million)
  3. India — 908 Mtoe (population: 1.3 billion)

Danny Sheridan

Entrepreneur & technology enthusiast. Opinions are my own.

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