Cold emails are the worst. 9900+ words on Amazon. Stealth startups to watch.

We know the most words

Hi there,

Alright — this may sound a bit stalker'ish, but here it goes.

If Jeff Bezos wasn't married, I think I'd want to have his child.


I didn't think my man crush could get stronger on Bay (that's what I call him), but then he writes about Day 1 companies, and I'm just smitten.

More on this below including our first-ever Amazon teardown.

But first.

Too close to call

Lots of votes came in yesterday for our most innovative consumer product bracket and two matches remain too close to call.

  • Macbook Air vs Wii Fit
  • Amazon Echo vs Oculus Rift
Vote by this Sunday, April 23rd and change product history forever.

9900+ words on Amazon's strategy

Last year, we put together a 7000-word Google Strategy Teardown that analyzed the company's strategy based on where it was allocating its capital and time (patents, investments, M&A, partnerships, and more).
It was our most popular report of 2016.

Our other long-form piece on the History of Corporate VC also did really well so it's clear you like words, and in our not so humble opinion, CB Insights knows the best words.
And so today, we're happy to release the first-ever Amazon Strategy Teardown.

We've included some highlights and some of the more interesting tidbits below.

Where is Amazon hiring?

To see where Amazon is adding human capital, we looked at the company’s open job postings, visualizing the proportions of open jobs by vertical and team. AWS is the biggest area Amazon is scaling up with more than 5600 jobs, which translates to about 33% of all the open listings.


This cold email really got me in the mood
He had me at "synergies."
But then things really heated up when he went in for the "win-win."
And yes, this is another reminder that 93.9% of cold emails are garbage.

Amazon stays cautious

Amazon historically moves more cautiously in the M&A arena. Compared to its tech giant peers, Amazon is less acquisitive and did only 5 deals in 2016. Apple, for reference, has recently done between 8 and 14 M&A deals per year. 

Knowing vs doing

When we do Custom Advisory work for clients, one thing we look for in advance is a desire to act. Too many companies love getting Powerpoint presentations and convoluted workplans and projections on innovation efforts that are inherently unknowable so they can feel good they're doing something. 

They like to know. They don't like to do. 

It's a classic mistaking of activity for progress.

There are plenty of pundits willing to sell this kind of fluff, but it's not our thing.

That's why I particularly enjoy Jeff Bezos' decision-making process and his ideas on speed of decision-making. (see The Blurb for his full note)

For everyone who competes with Amazon, this is what you're fighting against. You have to act — not just talk about acting or doing other innovation theater nonsense.

Bezos writes:

Stealth mode

We took a look into what some of the hottest stealth mode startups are up to by analyzing their patent activity. Syntilla Medical, for example, appears to have a patent for an implantable device that is aimed at helping to ease migraine pain.

M&A by country

Historically, almost all of Amazon's M&A deals have been to companies based in the US, and its move to buy UAE-based was a new area of geographic interest.

The Industry Standard

CB Insights data is the most trusted by those in the industry and the media. A few recent hits.

Recode. Rani Molla (@ranimolla) dives into Chinese investment in US tech startups and cites CB Insights funding data.

Forbes. Nav Athwal (@navathwal) on predicting the 2017 winners in real estate tech with a mention of CB Insights data on real estate tech trends.

South China Morning Post. Bien Perez (@bienperez) reports eighteen major financial institutions are heating up in the race for fintech talent and refers to CB Insights investment data.

I love you.


P.S. Tomorrow we'll be diving into the trends that are enabling digital health today, focusing on how the delivery of care is being transformed. Sign up for the briefing.

P.P.S. If you want more on the healthcare space, we have a weekly newsletter covering all things digital health, from startups to investors to innovation, and more. Sign up here.

Amazon strategy teardown

Seattle-based Amazon is doubling down on AWS and its AI assistant, Alexa. It's seeking to become the central provider for AI-as-a-service. Read the teardown.
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A look inside 20 stealth startups

From Magic Leap to Zoox to Numecent, we used the CB Insights database to uncover more details about these covert startups. See the list.
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The Blurb

A curated mix of articles on private companies, venture capital, emerging industries, and innovation.

A letter to Amazon shareholders. Jeff Bezos shares his management philosophy and business views.

Pivot survival tactics. Kabam CEO Kevin Chou (@kevinchou) shares the experience behind his company's three major pivots in 10 years.
First Round Review

The science of extending life. A podcast on the field of "geroscience," or the study of aging and aging as a root risk of all aging-related diseases.

Just finish it. Brad Feld (@bfeld) says for hardware and software, the lack of focus on finishing a product is toxic.
Feld Thoughts
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