If anyone needs a prime example of a company that has ventured far beyond its original intended business model, I wholeheartedly believe that Amazon is the perfect example of that ambitious company.


A picture of the Salmon Fish Sushi Pillow on Amazon

Salmon Pillow (amazon)

What started on July 5, 1994 in Seattle, as a company meant to sell literature on the growing internet marketplace, has transformed into a valuable retailer in America and the fourth most valuable public company in the world. Amazon’s gargantuan e-commerce marketplace has grown from solely books into products that vary in type, from everyday items like laundry detergent to innovation-focused IT services and products, as well as a variety of items that might not appear to have much usage at first glance but, contain immense potential for practicality (like the salmon-shaped pillow which is exactly what you believe it to be).


Similar to other digital business conglomerates like Google and Facebook that have acquired a combined total of hundreds of smaller companies, Amazon has acquired a number of popular companies and websites — spoken audio entertainment pioneer “Audible,” and the Internet Movie Database, “IMDB,” just to name a couple. Amazon’s streaming service, is ripe with robust content that is on par with original shows from Netflix and Hulu, and has become a decent contender in the streaming content wars. Their game-changing Prime program, which offers its customers even more extended options and benefits in terms of free shipping and access to Amazon Music, recently celebrated an influx of four million new members this past holiday season.


A picture of the amazon go qr code that is scanned for entry into its brick and mortar location

Amazon Go (amazon)

At the end of August, Amazon made headlines in both the business and health foods grocery sectors when they purchased the biggest name in organic and healthy groceries, and largest provider of kale and fancy cheeses, Whole Foods. The acquisition has proven to be beneficial in Amazon’s strategy of expansion — into an evolving grocery industry– and market expansion, to diversify on the number of their product offerings.


To further success of their newly acquired company, Whole Foods, Amazon, a leader in the internet of things and machine learning arena, has debuted Amazon Go, an employee-less retail location offering quick groceries at lightning fast service. Amazon Go utilizes “Just Walk Out” technology, meaning that cashiers and baggers are nonexistent. Instead, products purchased by customers are charged directly to their accounts. Furthermore, according to Amazon, by using computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning, a customer walks in, scans their Amazon account from their phone to activate the turnstile, and the store logs which items a customer purchases, as well as how much they purchase (similar to a hotel minibar).


A picture of the amazon go app showing a breakdown of purchases made

Amazon Go App (amazon)

Far from a normal corner stop, Amazon Go offers a variety of culinary options for your average food and beverage consumer. From ready-to-eat meals to artisan cheeses and a delightful amount of Amazon Meal Kits at any customer’s disposal; the convenience of current and future locations can’t possibly be understated. Although, the only downside to the 1,800 sq ft Amazon Go location are the hours; the convenience store is open from 7 AM to 9 PM on weekdays.      


Another primary disadvantage is that there is currently only one location open, in the very city that Amazon was founded in, Seattle. But assuming Amazon Go is a success in the way that virtually all other Amazon business adventures have become, then Amazon has made another wise investment.


Did you go to Amazon Go? If so, tell me about it on Twitter at @CaptainKasoff.