business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I mentioned yesterday how much I like Amazon’s Super Bowl commercial for its Alexa-powered system, which featured Harrison Ford … I said I liked the idea that it showed a sense of humor about the company’s products, which I found appealing.

But in reading more about the commercial’s development, I found that numerous commentators made a similar - and salient - point, that the commercial (which you can see at left) also reflects a core cultural paradigm at Amazon.

Things fail. Deal with it, and move on.

We all know that voice recognition technology is a work in progress - last year, less than one half of one percent of all e-commerce sales came through so-called smart speaker systems. But I don’t think there is much doubt that this is only going to grow.

But growth brings with it all sorts of failures, which are anathema to most companies, which seem them as a cost. Amazon seems to see them as a necessary investment … that’s the subtext of the commercial.

So yeah, it is funny. But it also teaches us an Eye-Opening lesson … about which Jeff Bezos may end up having the last laugh.

KC's View: