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The last article I wrote, discussed how Uber, Amazon, and Apple were all at critical crossroads that had the potential the truly damage their company or to launch it into the future with a successful bang. Right after I finished writing that article, there was some crazy announcements that came out. I’m glad I got a chance to write the article around companies at a crossroads prior to all this happening, because I now get to see how they made their choices at these points of the business life.
First, let us step back. For those who have not stayed up to date on the news lately, here are the two announcements that shook the tech world last week.
Uber’s CEO stepped down
Travis Kalanick was forced out of his seat as the CEO of the $70 billion transportation company. After weathering multiple scandals and PR nightmares, the board of directors get Kalanick the nudge to step down from the position and let someone else take a swing at it.
Uber and Their Future CEO
With Kalanick being taken off the main stage, people are wondering who will replace him. People are making lists of potential replacements and have hopes of some high visibility people coming onto the stage (I saw one person say that Obama could turn the company around). While I am not going to make any guess as to which person they should or would choose, I will give a few points of advice from a customer’s perspective.
Uber has the opportunity to change the entire image of Uber and revamp the excitement in the driver’s (employee’s) hearts for the company. By bringing on someone that is open-minded, yet gets stuff done will revive their hope in the company. What they should not do is bring someone that does not have a vision for the company, but only executes well. This will bring the finances in check and make the investors happy, but will hand their competitive edge straight to Lyft.
Uber also has the opportunity to focus on its core business and get everything back on target. As I have previously mentioned, they have their hands in too many jars right now. By slowing down, focusing on their core product, and then, once that is back on track, pushing efforts towards projects like autonomous vehicles, they will be able to win back the market that they are losing to Lyft right now.
Uber is still in the crossroads of a massive business decision. They realized that they are there and made one move of firing the CEO, but that was not enough to get them out. They now have an equally difficult decision of replacing him. Stay tuned for how they handle part 2 of the crossroads.
Amazon bought Wholefoods for almost $14 billion (yes, you read that right)
Amazon announced that they would be paying $13.7B to buy the higher-end grocery store, Wholefoods. When this announcement hit, other grocers stock took a massive hit and Amazon and Wholefoods went north fairly quickly.
So, the next questions you are probably wondering are, “How did each company handle the crossroads that they were at? Will it work out?” These are great questions that only time will tell, but I’ll take a swing at giving some insight into each item.
Amazon’s Entrance into Grocery Stores
Just like any news, we have two sides to the coin. While most people are excited for a prime (pun intended) opportunity to make the grocery store industry better, others are scared that Amazon is amassing too much power. They are nervous that there is almost a monopoly on… well… everything that Amazon touches. The “everything store” has a little too much everything in their minds.
Amazon has already announced that they plan to lower the prices of the food at Whole Foods (can our wallets say an ‘Amen’?) and add some of their technology into the store (the assumption is that they will also decrease the workforce in each grocery store). Amazon has already tested out their own grocery store called “Amazon Go” where they leverage computer vision and machine learning to rid the store of waiting in lines and having to check out. They also have their own grocery store delivery process called “Amazon Fresh”. Both of these products (if they can be called that) will be integrated into Whole Food’s ecosystem to make the grocery store that much better.
Amazon was in the crossroads of having to constantly beat customer’s expectations and they did it once again. No one was considering them as a bidder for Whole Foods and this just proves why they are one of the most valuable companies in the world. They think outside the box and constantly rise to the challenge.
What does the future hold?
While Amazon has hit a homerun with coming to their crossroads, Uber still stands in the middle of them, while we continue to wait for Apple’s next move. These next few months will determine the future trajectory of each of these three companies, but specially Uber. Each business has a challenge on their hands and, with the tech scene moving so fast, it is crucial that they make the right decision in a short amount of time.