Sunday, February 25, 2018

Origins: Gillette, Adidas, Amazon

What is it?
Gillette is a brand of men's and women's safety razors and other personal care products including shaving supplies, owned by the multi-national corporation Procter & Gamble
·       While working as a salesman for the Crown Cork and Seal Company in the 1890s, King Camp Gillette (1855-1932) saw bottle caps, with the cork seal he sold, thrown away after the bottle was opened. This made him recognise the value in basing a business on a product that was used a few times, then discarded.
·       At that time men either went to barber shops to be shaved or used  straight razors that needed sharpening every day using a leather strop.
·       Safety razors had been developed in the mid-19th century, but still used a forged blade. In the 1870s, the Kampfe Brothers introduced a type of razor along these lines. Gillette improved these earlier safety-razor designs, and introduced the high-profit-margin stamped razor blade steel blade. Gillette's razor retailed for a substantial $5 (about $140 in 2014 dollars) — half the average working man's weekly pay — yet sold by the millions.
·       To sell the product, Gillette founded the American Safety Razor Company on September 28, 1901 (changing the company's name to Gillette Safety Razor Company in July 1902). Gillette obtained a trademark registration for his portrait and signature on the packaging
·       Gillette was a Utopian Socialist and advocated that all industry should be taken over by a single corporation owned by the public, and that everyone in the US should live in a giant city called Metropolis powered by Niagara Falls.
·       He offered Theodore Roosevelt the presidency of the company, with a fee of one million dollars. Roosevelt declined the offer.


What is it?
Adidas AG is a multinational corporation, founded and headquartered in Germany, that designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories. It is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the second largest in the world, after Nike.  It is the holding company for the Adidas Group, which consists of the Reebok sportswear company, TaylorMade golf company (including Ashworth), Runtastic, an Austrian fitness technology company, and 8.33% of Bayern Munich, the football club.
·       The company was started by Adolf Dassler (1900-1978) in his mother's house; he was joined by his elder brother Rudolf in 1924 under the name Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory.
·       Dassler assisted in the development of spiked running shoes (spikes) for multiple athletic events. To enhance the quality of spiked athletic footwear, he transitioned from a previous model of heavy metal spikes to utilising canvas and rubber. Dassler persuaded U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens to use his hand made spikes at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
·       In 1949, following a breakdown in the relationship between the brothers, Adolf created Adidas, and Rudolf established Puma, which became Adidas' business rival.
·       In 1954 Germany defeated Hungary in the World Cup in what became known as the “Miracle of Bern”.  The German Team was equipped with Adidas boots, with a design never seen before, those boots had exchangeable, screw-in studs that could be adapted to any weather. The match was played under heavy rain, and the Adidas boots played an important role on this victory.  The unexpected win evoked a wave of euphoria throughout Germany, which was still suffering in the aftermath of World War II, and that victory is also considered a turning point of post-war Germany.
·       In 2012 Adidas posted on their Facebook page a picture of a pair of Jeremy Scott-designed shoes containing shackles. The picture was of a planned shoe line that Adidas intended to release in July. The photo quickly caused controversy.  Shortly after the outcry, the company cancelled the product.


A boot from the 1954 World Cup.

Adidas’s Roundhouse Mid Handcuffs. The $350 sneakers were labeled as racist and reminiscent of slavery.

What is it?, Inc., doing business as Amazon, is an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company based in Seattle, Washington. The tech giant is the largest Internet retailer in the world as measured by revenue and market capitalization, and second largest after Alibaba Group in terms of total sales. The website started as an online bookstore and later diversified to sell video downloads/streaming, MP3 downloads/streaming, audiobook downloads/streaming, software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry. The company also produces consumer electronics.
·       The company was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 in response to his regret at not participating sooner in the Internet business boom,
·       He initially incorporated the company with the name Cadabra, Inc. but changed it to, Inc. a few months later after a lawyer misheard its original name as "cadaver".
·       Bezos selected the name Amazon by looking through the dictionary; he settled on "Amazon" because it was a place that was "exotic and different", just as he had envisioned for his Internet enterprise. The Amazon River, he noted, was the biggest river in the world, and he planned to make his store the biggest bookstore in the world. Additionally, a name that began with "A" was preferential due to the probability it would occur at the top of any list that was alphabetized.
·       The company began as an online bookstore from the garage of Bezos’s home in Bellevue, Washington.  He chose books due to the large worldwide demand for literature, the low price points for books, along with the huge number of titles available in print.
·       Since its founding, the company has attracted criticism and controversy from multiple sources over its actions.
·       These include:
o   luring customers away from the site's brick and mortar competitors;
o   poor warehouse conditions for workers;
o   anti-unionization efforts;
o   Amazon Kindle remote content removal;
o   taking public subsidies;
o   its "1-Click patent" claims;
o   anti-competitive actions;
o   price discrimination;
o   various decisions over whether to censor or publish content such as the WikiLeaks website; LGBT book sales rank; and works containing libel, facilitating dogfight, cockfight, or pedophile activities.
o   In December 2011, Amazon faced a backlash from small businesses for running a one-day deal to promote its new Price Check app. Shoppers who used the app to check prices in a brick-and-mortar store were offered a 5% discount to purchase the same item from Amazon.
o   The company has also faced accusations of putting undue pressure on suppliers to maintain and extend its profitability. One effort to squeeze the most vulnerable book publishers was known within the company as the Gazelle Project, after Bezos suggested, according to Brad Stone, "that Amazon should approach these small publishers the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle."
·       On July 27, 2017, Bezos became the world's wealthiest person when he accumulated an estimated net worth of just over $90 billion according to Forbes Magazine. As of February 21, 2018, he is worth $122.9 billion, and is contended to be on track to become the wealthiest person in modern history


Jeff Bezos


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.