Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Thing About Facebook And Amazon And …

I worked for IBM for almost 30 years.

There was a long period of time when we had to deposit all material we – the employees of IBM – produced  in our daily business lives into company provided bins.

The bins, when full, were disgorged into trucks that took the disgorged contents to Government Way Stations.

That was so the Government could have all the information it needed to fend off the imminent takeover of society by IBM.

I have no idea how that all ultimately worked out, but IBM didn’t takeover society.

Trust me on this.

When I tell people younger than me that I worked for IBM they say “What’s IBM?”

Walmart was going to take over the world not too long ago.

I remember when they reached a quarter trillion in sales.

That was a long time ago.

They have finally passed the half trillion mark.

That’s pretty impressive.

But it took them way longer than anybody, Walmart included (I suspect) expected it to take.

That probably had to do with a bookseller become a monster (some might say) – Amazon.

But every dog has its day (some might say).

As an IBM retiree I would say that.

America keeps producing disruptive stuff.

The danger is that Americans at some point will become so scared that they will want to freeze progress in time and say that “this is so disruptive that no one will ever be able to replace it or be able to compete with it”.

They will become  politically, electorally, socially and, at the gut level, afraid.

They will want to turn the clock back.

They will want to go back to the good old days when coal was king and Walmart was unstoppable.

(After all most of them shop at Walmart; they abandoned their local Piggly Wiggly long ago.)

“God damn them Chinks and their unfair trade practices” I have heard a surprisingly articulate Walmart shopper and proponent of making America great again say.

I briefly thought about mentioning that almost everything in the hulking warehouse he was about to enter – except food – (and it would include food if America didn’t have an overwhelming advantage in that segment) had come from China, but I decided that I didn’t want to have a cross burned on my lawn.

Sam Walton, I am pretty sure is laughing his ass off.

“Jeff, my boy, you trumped me, but the battle still goes on.

“And we may not win the next round, but I’m damn sure that you won’t either; America is too great to be frozen in time.”

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