Posted: 08 Nov 2014 12:58 PM PST
A post on Amazon crossed my desk today, and have to take issue with it. It was written by Dustin Curtis of Svbtle, and while it is a good read I think it also shows that Curtis doesn’t understand consumers.
Curtis takes issue with Amazon’s hardware strategy, and starts his argument with:
Even Amazon has said that the Fire Phone is a flop, so there’s no disagreement there, but Curtis believes that Amazon’s entire hardware strategy is a flop. Claiming that ” Amazon continues to make hardware because it doesn’t know that it sucks”, Curtis describes the life cycle of Amazon’s product thusly:
I don’t claim to fully understand why consumers choose the gadgets they buy, but based on my observations I don’t think Curtis can make the claim that Amazon gadgets are bought and soon abandoned – not without actual data to back it up.
Over the past few months, old hardware has come up as a topic of discussion on this blog that I have come to doubt my standards for what qualifies as a usable device.
And it’s not just Amazon hardware that is used more than pundits would expect. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve recommended one device over another and had owners of the lesser device show up in the comment section and defend it.
What’s more, in the past week I have fielded tech support questions for a 2010-era original black Pandigital Novel tablet and for a 2011-era Panimage tablet. In June I helped someone troubleshoot an original white Pandigital Novel tablet – which he was still using four years after it launched.
I can’t tell you what percentage of the cheaper tablets are discarded by dissatisfied consumers, but I wouldn’t be so cavalier and dismiss them all so quickly.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not listing these examples to show that these consumers don’t know that they’re using junk; if the consumers are happy then the hardware is by definition not junk. My point is that Curtis’s standards for defining this hardware as junk, as well as the standards which I have recently thrown out, are simply wrong.
So far as I can tell, he’s using a design aesthetic which does not match up with what consumers actually think about the products they use on a daily basis.
And since it’s clear that Curtis is fundamentally wrong on his understanding of consumers, I don’t trust his later arguments either:
If there’s no money to be made in selling media then how did Netflix make $71 million in profit in the second quarter?
I don’t have the data to prove Curtis wrong when it comes to Amazon, but for the sake of an argument I am going to apply Tyrion’s Razor*.
It’s safe to assume that Amazon has internal data on how the Fire tablets are used. They don’t share it, but they have that data to show how often a Fire tablet owner buys stuff at Amazon. I am betting that this data is what led Amazon to release 4 iterations of Android tablets.
No, I can’t prove it, but I think it is safer to assume that Amazon is basing their product decisions on that data than to assume that they made the same mistake 4 times in a row.
P.S. Tyrion’s Razor is a term I coined earlier this year which is basically a corollary to Hanlin's Razor. Rather than assuming the cause of an action to be stupidity,Tyrion’s Razor states that one should never attribute an action to stupidity which might be explained by asymmetrical information. (In other words people aren’t as stupid as we might assume; they're just working from different data.)
The post Amazon's Echo Chamber, Redux (Or What Happens When Pundits Don’t Understand Consumers) appeared first on The Digital Reader.
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