Weekend Roundup: Amazon Fights, Twitter’s POTUS Account

Happy holidays! However you’re celebrating, we hope you’re taking a quick moment to relax before the end of the year. And speaking of which: 2020 is almost over! Next year has to be better, right? Right? In the meantime, here are some quick stories from the week that caught our attention, including Amazon’s competitive abilities and the fate of the Presidential Twitter account. 

Amazon’s E-Commerce Strategy

Whether you want to work for Amazon, or if you’re running an e-commerce portal that competes in some way with Amazon, you’ll want to read this huge story in the Wall Street Journal on how Amazon has competed against its rivals and, occasionally, its partners.

Long story short (but seriously, go read it; the research is incredible), Amazon uses its massive amount of search and retail data to analyze how other companies’ products are performing, then tailors its own branded products to directly compete. Some companies have managed to push back, either by offering low fees (in Shopify’s case) or simply by sticking with a great production and marketing strategy.

For any technologist interested in working in e-commerce, the article provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Amazon’s executives think through challenges. If there’s a takeaway, it’s that no retailer or e-commerce portal should rely too heavily on one company’s services—although that scenario is occasionally unavoidable.

Joe Biden’s POTUS Twitter Account Starts at Zero

When you’re President of the United States, you inherit a lot of cool things from your predecessor, like the big house and the awesome jet and control over big swaths of the federal government. But apparently there’s one thing you don’t get: The current followers of Twitter’s @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts.

That’s right: Come January, U.S. President Joe Biden is starting from 0 when it comes to those official accounts. According to The Verge, the Biden transition team is unhappy about this, but hey—how hard can it be for the President to rack up a follower or two?

Facebook Offered Up Its Code

The last thing that any tech company wants is an expensive, messy antitrust battle. Facebook was so desperate to avoid such a scenario, in fact, that it was reportedly willing to offer up its source code and network to whoever wanted to build off of it, which is sort of… well, insane.

This is according to The Washington Post, which has a nice breakdown of the steps the company was willing to take. Federal regulators, however, shot the idea down, and the FTC eventually smacked the network with an antitrust complaint. The offer itself is interesting, though—whereas many companies would dissolve rather than give up their proprietary code, Facebook evidently feels that its value (and competitive advantage) lies in other areas. 

Have a great weekend! Stay safe, especially if you’re traveling!