What Amazon Is Priming Us For
Speed, convenience, and other values of our culture's gods, announced at Advent

Leaders: what kind of culture are you fostering in your ministry? In a world ever more primed for speed and convenience, should the church lean into the trend or cling to more grounded values? Engage this piece from Craig Detweiler, and respond in the comments.

-Paul

Jeff Bezos is a brilliant man and a remarkable marketer. He realizes that in the wake of Steve Jobs' death, the role of technologist-in-chief is up for grabs. And while Google is offering us Glass and Facebook and Twitter are aggregating our friends and followers, Amazon is appealing to a different felt need—for speed. By turning 60 Minutes into a platform to announce "drone delivery," Bezos shifted the news cycle towards Amazon on the same day that Christians have traditionally initiated Advent. While people of faith were shifting into a season of waiting and anticipation, Amazon offered the promise of "Prime Air" that could go above and beyond UPS or Federal Express to deliver our choices in an even faster, more convenient manner—via octocopters.

It doesn't really matter when this innovation will arrive. By getting us talking and thinking about the virtues of Amazon's delivery methods, Bezos enjoyed a miraculous public relations coup. On the eve of Cyber Monday, social media was already abuzz about Amazon. Bezos turned Google, Facebook, Twitter, and traditional media into his personal delivery service, bringing us all the good news that Amazon was primed to deliver what we wanted, where we wanted, when we wanted. Consumer gratification is completed in the land of Amazonia, not the Fiefdom of Facebook or Appleton or the Twitterverse.

In researching Amazon for my new book, iGods (of course, now for sale via Amazon), I was surprised to discover that Amazon was never really about books. Bezos was always more of a numbers person looking for a way to leverage the power of the Internet. He left a lucrative position on Wall Street because he saw how the aggregating ability of online databases could revolutionize almost any industry. Bezos chose bookselling because of the inefficiencies built into the existing system. There were so many books in print that no store could possibly stock them all. So even as superstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders were knocking out small, independent booksellers by offering consumers more choices, Bezos understood that even the giants were only capable of carrying a tiny percentage of the titles available. What if Amazon could offer more choices than a superstore and more personalized recommendations than the local bookstore? Look at the promise embedded within Amazon's logo—choices from A to Z with a smile.

December 04, 2013

Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments

bil_

December 11, 2013  11:28pm

Nice article. Well said. May we bear the fruit of God's Spirit while we wait for our coming King Jesus...

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Mark Thomson

December 11, 2013  11:50am

Couple of comments - First, appreciating the ability of technology to simplify and streamline your life is slightly different from an "insatiable need for speed." On the contrary, these kinds of technologies sound to me more like "making the best use of the time, because the days are evil" Secondly: "the same day that Christians are called to enter a time of waiting and anticipation" Called? By your church tradition perhaps but not by scripture. However people want to celebrate Christ's coming is great, but let's not confuse that with something God expects of us. On the contrary - Gal 4:10-11 "You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain." Col 2:16 "Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath." On the other hand, there is a certain kind of waiting that should indeed characterize our entire lives - not just a few weeks a year: Gal 5:5-6 "For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love."

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Marshall

December 04, 2013  3:38pm

So now the heavenly hosts are drones, delivering happiness, with free shipping for members. Glory!

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