I’ve been doing the Unsupervised Learning show since 2015. That’s five years of a weekly show where I highlight innovation, among other things.
One thing that’s struck me during all that time is the staggering volume of new ideas put out by Amazon.
I don’t remember which book it was, but there’s a book that talks about making “Many Small Bets”, as a strategy for longterm innovative success.
Amazon hasn’t just embraced this; they’ve adopted it as their core DNA. In an average month I cover multiple announcements, like this one from this week:
Amazon launches HealthLake, a platform for storing and analyzing petabytes of health care data. “For example, HealthLake leverages natural language understanding and ontology mapping to identify whether a patient has been properly prescribed a drug, pulling out information from blood glucose monitoring systems, physicians notes, insurance forms and lab reports, and more to inform its conclusions.”
That’s what they call a Tuesday. And they have hundreds or thousands of teams working on doing the exact same thing.
Instead of having an R&D department, Amazon IS an R&D department.
That’s what they do. They spend billions of dollars on R&D. Constantly. With massive courage to both try new things and kill things that don’t work.
I don’t see anyone doing this with the same volume or courage, anywhere in the world. And for that reason I don’t see anyone winning the long game.
I think they will be the first one or two companies to 3 trillion, and they’ll probably be the first to 5 and 10 trillion—even if that’s in the form of their multiple broken-up companies after the anti-trust folks come knocking.
If the engine of innovation is trial and error, there’s nobody with an engine like Amazon today. It’s a thing of awe and beauty.