B5L Issue #026

Number Five stops hustling; Jeff Bezos should have never started?


Number Five is alive..

I love a shitty robot. I think it stems from my childhood. No, not playing with robotics and learning to code; developing skills that would have set me up in today’s age of automation. But rather splayed on a corduroy couch watching Number 5 get up to hijinx. Hmm. There’s probably something to delve deeper on with a therapist.

Anyways - I laughed when stumbling upon this motion-activated sprinkler defence system. Then I gots to wondering how it might work, and found this video of another dude’s efforts to create a similar setup with some relatively cheap gear.

I Made a People-Detecting Lawn Sprinkler | YouTube

(via r/nextfuckinglevel)


Taleb says we should all be dentists..

I’ve been enjoying Joan Westenberg’s writing lately on why ‘hustle culture’ is crap. And this piece by Holly Case resonated with me for the same reasons.

I’ve noticed something lately in the freelance writing groups and self-employment groups I follow: this belief that the only thing that separates us from earning a million dollars or more is how hard we’re willing to hustle for it.

I say that’s bullshit.

It’s the same as it’s ever been. A lucky few find ways to turn a business into a multi-million-dollar enterprise. The surer way to amass a million-dollar fortune is to choose a stable, in-demand career (though what’s in demand is always shifting), manage your money very well, and be lucky enough to avoid major misfortune.

Stop Telling Us We Can All Be Millionaires | Medium


Decisions, decisions..

I am not a product designer. But I am fascinated by how different leaders and organisations make decisions. And so I got a lot out of this article on how product designers should make decisions relating to the future of their products. I think the framework Will Lawrence sets out could be applied far beyond simply the colour of a subscribe button to achieve maximum clicks.

⚖️ What makes a good decision-making framework?

  • Transparent criteria: a framework like the one above communicates how the decision will be made ahead of time. This allows people to align on what is important.

  • Involves all relevant stakeholders: people want to feel included in the process. This framework lets people include their perspective and is involved in the final outcome

  • Create objectivity: Because everyone's opinion is captured in a central place, people can objectively compare and contrast the perspectives. It will be clear that there was no favouritism or politics involved.

A Template to Make Product Decisions


Kind regards, Jeff..

This week Jeff Bezos resigned from his role as CEO of Amazon. Did pretty well over the years, did ‘ol mate Bezos. If you ignore all the labour, environmental, and other social responsibility issues, that is. I enjoyed this compilation of his letters to Amazon shareholders over the years.

Our owned-inventory retail business was the foundation of Prime. In addition to creating retail teams to build each of our category-specific online “stores,” we have created large-scale systems to automate much of inventory replenishment, inventory placement, and product pricing. The precise delivery-date promise of Prime required operating our fulfillment centers in a new way, and pulling all of this together is one of the great accomplishments of our global operations team. Our worldwide network of fulfillment centers has expanded from 13 in 2005, when we launched Prime, to 109 this year. We are now on our eighth generation of fulfillment center design, employing proprietary software to manage receipt, stowing, picking, and shipment. Amazon Robotics, which began with our acquisition of Kiva in 2012, has now deployed more than 15,000 robots to support the stowing and retrieval of products at a higher density and lower cost than ever before. Our owned-inventory retail business remains our best customer-acquisition vehicle for Prime and a critical part of building out categories that attract traffic and third-party sellers.

All Amazon Shareholder Letters

(via someone - sorry, I’ve lost who linked this to me!)


.. but also, Jeff, get stuffed..

In totally unrelated linking, here’s a compelling argument as to why we should all cancel our Amazon Prime accounts.

This popularity is both extremely logical and a little perplexing. When you subscribe to Prime, you’re paying to pledge your fealty to a single company’s ecosystem — something that consumers once wanted to avoid. You’re paying to have your every purchase cataloged — also something consumers aren’t wild about, at least in theory — so that Amazon can use that information to sell you, and people like you, more goods. You’re paying to become part of a system that is purpose-built to keep you paying, forever, and to keep Amazon growing, forever, like a katamari ball or an avalanche or, in Amazon’s corporate argot, a “flywheel.”


Speed and convenience aren’t actually free; they never are. Free shipping isn’t free either. It just obscures the real price. Getting hand sanitizer and toilet paper and jigsaw puzzles and sex toys delivered to your door, contact-free, as a contagious disease ravaged the globe didn’t mean that no one was venturing into the life-threatening outside; it just meant you weren’t. Next-day shipping comes with tremendous costs: for labor and logistics and transportation and storage; for the people who pack your stuff into those smiling boxes and for the people who deliver them; for the planes and trucks and vans that carry them; for the warehouses that store them; for the software ensuring that everything really does get to your door on time, for air-conditioning and gas and cardboard and steel. Amazon — Prime in particular — has done a superlative job of making all those costs, all those moving parts, all those externalities invisible to the consumer.

Amazon warehouse workers spend their days picking and packing in million-square-foot warehouses where they face punishing productivity expectationsconstant surveillancehigh turnover, and serious injuries, for a starting wage of $15 an hour. The pandemic drove up demand for Amazon, and for labor: Last year, company profits shot up 70 percent, Bezos’s personal wealth grew by $70 billion, and 1,400 people a day joined the company’s workforce.

Cancel Amazon Prime | Medium


If you enjoyed any of these links, the best way you can help me is by forwarding this email on to a friend. They can browse past issues and subscribe at this link

- Bennett


Cover Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash