retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from MNB reader Joe Axford about yesterday's Innovation Conversation about the dangers of social media and the movie, The Social Dilemma:

Thank you both for a great year of "Innovation Conversation." IMO when Twitter, Google, and FB start to influence elections, and how we think, we have a big problem. Follow the money, find out who they are getting donations from. What news stories they cover or don't cover. I am not currently on any social media, except for Google which can't really be avoided. I tried Twitter this past summer and got off fairly quickly, after being verbally threatened for some of my views. When social media starts to shape how people think and act, we're all in big trouble. 

In a related email, one MNB reader wrote:

I found it interesting in today’s MorningNewsBeat, after watching your Innovation Conversation on The Social Dilemma, where you and Tom seemed to make the case that Amazon was different (paraphrasing) because of they are in the business of selling things and have more transparency.

The next article by Michael Sansolo had this: “… - the harsh reaction given Amazon’s new Halo system (including from the Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos), which was described by one tech writer as incredibly invasive and has already triggered talk of a limitations from Congress. Halo tracks a bevy of vital statistics and then goes a few miles further, such as grading the happiness of the user’s vocal tone.”

And  you followed with this comment in response to the Amazon /Plastic Waste Excess article: “I'd also suggest that the problem is only partly Amazon.  It also is all the people who have become addicted to Prime, to fast deliveries, to random online ordering without thinking about the environmental impact”

Those don’t seem to align to giving Amazon a ‘pass’ because they are ‘just trying to sell stuff’. Addicted to Prime = “Users”?

I think Amazon is an enormous complicated company.  It does some things right, and other things wrong.  I'm comfortable with saying that the Amazon business model is both different and more transparent than, say, Facebook about how it uses data … and then say that some of what it does is way too invasive and other things may not be the best for the environment.

Like every other person and company, Amazon is a work in progress.

Responding to the story about Amazon's waste, one MNB reader wrote:

Thanks for this. I’m not an Amazon fan because of the waste – both cardboard boxes and plastic. I prefer to support brick and mortar businesses, and... bring my own bags for the things I buy.

And, on another subject, from another reader:

Amazon and Walmart getting into the banking business, didn’t Tennessee Ernie Ford sign a popular song “Sixteen Tons” about this very thing. Amazon and Walmart have been both called out in the media for their treatment of their core groups of employees not being able to obtain  livable wages  and benefits. What next, should we have Facebook and Twitter running the United States State Department and Foreign Policy?

'Wouldn't be how I'd vote.