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April 27, 2012

Guy Kawasaki Wonders Why Amazon Doesn’t Buy Pinterest, I Just Wonder Why They Won’t Let Me Stream Videos from the Plane

I’m Just getting back from this year’s SugarCon event in San Francisco.  While last year was good, they really upped the ante this year – especially for the industry analysts/blogger/influencer types (BIG shout out to Chris Bucholtz for an awesome job putting this together!).  Let’s just say the treatment included, barcaloungers, baseball cards and beer…just for starters.  But I’ll be covering more of what happened in another post.

In addition to doing a session on CRM and the 2012 Presidential Election and being a judge (along with Paul Greenberg, Esteban Kolsky and Denis Pombriant) in the App Throwdown contest, I had the pleasure of teaming up with other SCRM Crew members Natalie Petouhoff and Jesus Hoyos, as we joined Guy Kawasaki in a laidback conversation on stage after Guy’s keynote.  The session was moderated by SugarCRM’s very cool CEO Larry Augustin. 

Guy Natalie Me Jesus at SugarCon - 2
Guy, Natalie, me and Jesus - picture courtesy of Miguel Angel Narvaez (Thanks!)

Before the session began Larry asked me if I had a question I wanted him to tee up for the group to discuss.  And since I’ve been kind of fixated on Amazon.com lately, I thought it would be interesting to talk about which business is more of a model for other businesses to focus on in the era of Social Commerce – Amazon or Facebook.  So when Larry posed the question to us I gave my patented answer about how I didn’t join Facebook to buy stuff (and still have no intention to do so even now), but to stay connected with friends and family.  But when I go to Amazon it was to buy something…ok some things.  And it has been like that from the very beginning. 

So for me Facebook is the most powerful social network built for helping us stay connected, with people looking to retrofit ecommerce on top of it, where Amazon is the most powerful online commerce destination, which has been integrating social capabilities (along with everything else it seems) into that commerce engine for years.  One was built with commerce at its core and is now synonymous with buying, the other with non-commerce relationship building – which to me is a hurdle Amazon doesn’t have to jump over.

When Larry asked Guy what he thought, Guy shot one out there I hadn’t thought about – he wondered why Amazon hadn’t offered to buy Pinterest by now.  He said with millions of people pinning great images of things they like, others may want to buy these things if they could do so right on the spot.  To me this makes a lot of sense, and once again would be a way for Amazon to continue integrating social on top of their ecommerce platform in a potentially enormous way.

Now that would be a big deal – or as my old senator from Delaware Joe Biden would say a big, well, you know… For me, I just wanted Amazon to let me access the web, stream videos and share ebooks while I’m flying somewhere.  Hey, if you fly Delta you can access Amazon.com for free now.  So if you want to buy something while you’re in the air, you don’t have to pay for Internet access to do it.  Now I don’t know what impact that is having on revenue, but on its surface removing the obstacle of paying for Wifi is a good move.  I know I ended up buying something (ok, some things) on a recent flight.  Now would I have eventually bought it at some point while on the ground – probably.  But on a two hour flight I spent more time on that site than I normally do, which may have led to that purchase.  So Amazon got my money right then and there – taking no chances.

So I don’t begrudge Amazon that celestial purchase.  In my opinion it’s a shrewd move on their part.  But all I ask – being a loyal Amazon Prime customer – is to cut a deal to let us AP members do more than just go to Amazon.com.  Let us also stream videos and borrow books.  And if we also have Kindles maybe you can let us access everything.  I’ve been an AP member since the beginning.  And I’d be willing to pay  little extra to get Wifi on the plane.  You’ve already made a deal with Delta and/or Gogo, so make a better one for us willing to be a Premium Amazon Prime member – PAPs!

Now that’s social, and a nice upsell opportunity. And I bet you’d add a ton of new Prime members while extending the lifetime of current members.  A win-win-win if you ask me. 

Ok so I went off on a tangent, but the Facebook-Amazon question is an interesting one.  And to be honest Facebook Commerce looks to be growing leaps and bounds.  And with the one billion member mark seemingly just around the corner there are many reasons for companies to try to leverage the growing amount of time people spend on Facebook to sell them stuff.  In fact my most recent 1-on-1 conversation over at SmallBizTrends.com is with Christian Taylor – founder of Facebook Commerce platform provider Payvment.com.  With over 100,000 online storefronts using their platform, he makes a very convincing argument for putting Facebook at the heart of a company’s social commerce initiative. 

So Mr. Bezos, if you’re listening… why?  Well you’d definitely listen to Guy more than me, but buying Pinterest would be pretty I’d think – that is assuming that they want to be bought at this point.  I think the safer bet would be to make a deal so I can sign up to be a PAP – and start streaming videos 36,000 feet in the air.




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