The end of brick-and-mortar shopping and the rise of online shopping

I admit that I am one of those that do not want to be pushed and have to sweat in traditional retail stores. I much rather do my shopping at my laptop, have a cup of coffee by my side and enjoy the selection not just by looking at the product, but also looking at comparisons and reviews that are posted on the Internet.

According to Economist.com, last years online sales in America reached $188 Billion which is roughly 8% of total retail. Of this, Amazon.com did last year $48 Billion, so we are talking about a pretty sizable giant. Some even have concluded that it is Amazon.com that is killing the traditional retail. According to Economist article, retail sales is going to grow to $270 Billion by 2015. See chart below:

RetailSalesuntil2015

I do not have to even read any statistics to know that there is a tremendous change in consumer behavior. I just have to watch how my family behaves. My wife told me this Christmas that she tries to do everything online to avoid the traffic and crowds at malls. This was not the case in the past. Consumers where doubtful whether online was going to cut it and in many cases people avoided to even buy as they wanted to try out first. Today, you can ship everything back if you do not like it.

We used to spend lots of time in local Barnes&Nobles and also malls, but I can’t remember when I have done that. The only reason for me to go to a local Barnes&Noble is to meet a friend or business acquaintance for a meeting as they typically are adjunct or have a Starbucks cafeteria. I can get everything online when it comes to magazines and books and in fact what I have noticed is that bookstores do not even carry anymore their entire inventory as that is costly. The same thing is happening to BestBuy who has really struggled this year. CompUSA and Circuit City already want belly-up and these used to be places where I went on regular basis.

According to Jose Alvarez of Harvard Business School, traditional retailers with pricy products will probably lower their inventories and focus instead on big investments in showrooms while commoditized items should have large inventory and less flashy displays. This of course makes sense, but many retailers can’t afford maintaining inventory in ways that Amazon.com has.

Amazon has been pressured to charge sales tax in states where they have distribution centers (34 now and 15 in the workings). This year, every Texan has to pay same sales tax as any traditional retailer would charge and that has evened out the play for some local retailers. Other well-know electronics online retailers such as Newegg.com still do not charge anything in Texas, so if it is one-to-one, Amazon will loose as the sales tax adds to the bill.

It is going to be interesting to see how 2013 is going to play out in the online shopping space. I would expect smartphone shopping to increase and based on some research from Aegis Media Americans, by 2014, mobile internet will overtake desktop internet usage in shopping. Those are pretty radical numbers and we that work in the software space, need to keep in mind the behavioral change that is taking place also in respect to devices and how things are done.

The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World by Dominique Moisi

One of my favorite Sunday programs in CNN is Fareed Zakaria’s program GPS. He is not only a good reporter, he has a tremendous understanding of the current world situation and he brings very interesting people to his show. Each week he makes book recommendations and this week one book specifically caught my attention. A book from Dominique Moisi called The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World and I purchased it immediately to my Kindle DX and the book is amazing! It gives a good view of the world today and how things relate to each other. Fareed Zakaria’s book The Post-American World is also an excellent book and I highly recommend it!

Both of these books are an inspiration to my Rohkeasti maailmalle book!

The angst of an author and about writing process

This is my second book (if one does not count my doctoral dissertation of 330 pages as a monograph) and I have to say that I have found my own way of building the content. It is much easier that with the first one, and I now know what works best for me as a person. I like to write, I love to research but I have to learn to be better to control myself with one thing… Everything does not have to be done overnight. I tend to drill down to my work, spend up to 14 hours and that is obviously not good for me nor to my family. I have a few books written by authors and they explain their daily process and one that I like a lot is a book by the famous Stephen King and his book On Writing is a facinating story of his writing process and how he develops his stories.

What I need to learn is to “let go” after a few hours of writing and just trust the fact that I still have it the following day. I believe this model would be much better and more effective. The iterative process that I have in writing is effective and now combining my book research by using Amazon.com Kindle books using Windows desktop application is just a killer combination. I wish I could do this for a living… but it is like with ice-hockey… only a very small crowd make real money in writing books…

How does an author find interesting topics to write about?

I am sitting in a tram in Helsinki, the sun is shining and I have a bunch of Russian tourists around me on their way to downtown Helsinki (city-center). Observing the environment, wondering how I can transform this environment to my new upcoming book is what I am thinking about. Businesspeople such as me have numerous days in different places around the world and this is something that I have decided to use effectively.

I bought a book (The Art of Creative Nonfiction: Writing and Selling the Literature of Reality)  to my Kindle DX from an author (Lee Gutkind) that describes the process of writing a nonfiction book; what goes in ones mind and what kind of life one can expect when living an authors life. I highly recommend this book for people that want to learn and have an interest to become an author.

 

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Another one is from the worldfamous Stephen King whose book On writing explains how his life as an author feels and looks like. Both of these books can be found from Amazon.com.

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The decision has been made: My Amazon Kindle DX is on it way

I gave up. I have two Amazon Kindles already, the first generation as well as the new generation Amazon Kindle. I have bought more than 300 books on these, and when you add the books that I bougth on my Sony Reader device (which I no longer use), we are talking about considerable amount of literature. The reasoning of this purchase is simple: I use the device every day and some of the books I read are large text books and the larger screen is better for that. Also, I will discontinue getting my Wall Street Journal as paper and go with the Kindle version. These reasons are how I “sold” it to myself and later this afternoon the device will be in my hands. Sweet.

Randy Pausch and his battle of pancreatic cancer

I read about Randy Pausch, Computer Science Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who has been struck with terminal pancreatic cancer. Professor Pausch is a very well known and liked lecturer that you can see from the included video clips from Youtube.com
I immediately googled the lecture from youtube.com and ordered his book as physical copy and I also ordered a Kindle version so I could start reading it immediately. Professor Pausch decided to make his story remembered, not because he wanted us to feel sorry for him, but to make us remember that each and every day is a gift to us and we should make sure we take advantage of that.

I was reminded of our short stay on this planet by a friend and colleague of mine recently. A former colleague from the past has recently passed away in another form of cancer and it is hard to accept that a person that I have spent numerous hours with different clients and internal meetings is no longer with us. Each and every day that we live, we need to make sure that we celebrate our living and live our lives to the fullest.

Another person that survived cancer and decided to spend time to educate the public about cancer is Lance Armstrong who had a sever form of testicular cancer with poor prognosis of survival. He survived and has spend a tremendous amount of time educating people around this topic. He has a foundation to help to raise the awareness of cancer and this work is tremendously valuable. Each and everybody of us have friends and family around us that will sooner or later face cancer and the more we are aware of it, the sooner we can help these people to cope with the battle of cancer. The Lance Armstrong Foundation LiveStrong blog has discussions and entries about people from all walks of life and I have to say that this type of work is tremendously valuable and I appreciate the people doing this type of work.

I flew to witness Lance Armstrong to get his 7th Tour de France win in France (we spent a few days in Paris). Lance has been interviewed many times in different medias, one of the latest ones was in CNBC by CNBC’s maria Bartiromo (I like her reporting style). Wall Street Journal made a story of Professor Pausch final lecture as can be seen below:

The full lecture can be see below:

These will show to the listeners that fight for cancer has to continue and we all need to be reminded of. Let’s live our each day to its fullest!

Sony Portable Reader PRS-500 is gone, welcome the new Amazon Kindle

I did what I should not have done. I bought the Sony Reader PRS-500 a year and a half ago and spent probably 500 dollars in different types of books. Now, with the new Amazon Kindle, I am faced with a new question. Should I continue investing in the Sony line, or should I go with Amazon Kindle. The form factors of the Sony device is very, very nice and the Amazon Kindle looks like a toy. However, where I believe Sony has failed is in its book selection. They do not publish out books that would be the ones that I typically read and Amazon’s selection is already twice of the size of Sony’s. Now, if Amazon just could deliver me the device… I think it has been very popular and Amazon did not foresee the success.