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A Look at Bad vs Good
Is Amazon ultimately a worthy company, shoppers at risk. While online privacy concerns
deserving of our support? Or is it an evil are not an Amazon-specific issue, the company
corporation, serving its own interests at the makes matters worse with its current privacy
expense of the greater good? policy. (Not to mention varying Amazon smart
Amazon’s stranglehold on the U.S. economy products (Alexa, anyone?), which bring their
is growing ever tighter, with effects for concerns regarding safeguarding users’ security
industry insiders. In 2019, online retail reserves the right to share consumers’ personal
platform Amazon reported a net income of information with other companies, should it
11.59 billion U.S. dollars, up from a 10 billion decide one day to do so. In fact, the company
U.S. dollar net income in the previous year. stood trial in Del Vechio v. Amazon.com as part
During the same fiscal period, the company’s of a class-action lawsuit for deliberately going
revenue amounted to more than 280.5 against its customers’ privacy preferences and
billion U.S. dollars and has reshaped the sharing its customers’ personal information
way Americans shop and radically altered with third parties without their consent – and
the job market. After years of undercutting against their wishes.
other retailers by selling products at a loss,
funneling its customers into its super- Not to mention, there has been at least one
convenient Prime service and essentially instance where Amazon’s customer support
perfecting the art of online retail, Amazon is team was accused of being tricked into handing
now synonymous with online shopping itself. over sensitive information, thus falling prey
Taking into account goods sold through to the growing menace of social engineering
third-party retailers on its site, it is said hacking. Less worrying, but still of concern,
that nearly $1 of every $2 spent online is the fact that Amazon has long had and
currently flows through Amazon. That’s had proactively uses patented technology that
devastating consequences for retailers who tracks both customers’ purchasing habits and
simply can’t compete, both online and out in information about the people its customers buy
the real world. gifts for.
Most Amazon customers have already made
the tradeoff between in-person service Too many advertisements
and the slick convenience the shopping Amazon.com is riddled with ads, especially pop-
site provides. However its utter dominance up ads that each prompt the user to buy
has had wide-ranging consequences. The another product, based on the user’s unique
researchers point out some other downsides purchase history. Not only are these ads
to Amazon’s takeover of retailers, including annoying, but they also drive users to make
fewer new products getting created or new unwanted and perhaps unbudgeted impulse
businesses starting up. buys. And while 84% of all shoppers have
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently surpassed made impulse buys at one point or another,
Warren Buffet as the second-richest man in it may be easier to do on Amazon since it
the world. Overall, you don’t need as many invests heavily in exposing shoppers to
people to sell goods online as you do to sell new products at every step of their Amazon
stuff in the real world. experience – from first opening the homepage
all the way through checkout. The economic
Three reasons Amazon gives consequences on consumers living beyond
online shopping a bad name their means can be devastating; various studies,
for instance, show that materialism correlates to
Shopping on Amazon isn’t as safe unhappiness in relationships.
as shopping offline
Shopping on Amazon requires users to Becoming a monopoly hurts shoppers
input their personal information, which puts With Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods,
the company is becoming a monopoly on
successfully merchandizing convenience,
Continued on a following page >>
especially for busy Americans and screen- the market leader that it is means that the
reliant Millennials. Between Amazon standard Amazon adopts becomes the market
Prime and Whole Foods, as well as other standard, which, in turn, benefits all consumers.
grocery stores, the company may account This can also be seen with Amazon’s PillPack
for a large chunk of Millennials’ discretionary acquisition, which highlights how its embrace
spending. If Amazon becomes a monopoly, of disruptive competition is a good thing for
shoppers will ultimately lose out; monopolies consumers. Pushing itself into the health care
kill competition and, once king, they can – pharma – industry will make much-needed
willingly change customer perks that made pharmaceuticals more accessible to consumers
them so popular in the first place. and more affordable.
Plus, the success of Amazon and its slew of
digital endeavors, including cash-free grocery Gives a platform and exposure
stores, cause salespeople and shop owners to small retailers
to lose their jobs. In fact, there are hundreds of Amazon allows small retailers to sell on its
thousands fewer retail industry jobs because platform, thus providing them incomparable
of the successes of Amazon and other online online exposure. In fact, almost half of internet
retailers. And millions of jobs continue to users in the US live in a household with an
be threatened as Amazon’s share of online Amazon Prime membership, and the site gets
purchases continues to climb. These findings more than 2.6 billion visitors every month.
will only keep rising, as Amazon expands In addition to new consumers, small business
to target other goods sectors, including can’t ignore the benefits that Amazon can bring
providing delivery services for restaurant- them, like sales, marketing and branding pushes.
prepared meals. It’s no wonder, then, that online sales platform
BigCommerce found that as many as 73% of
Three reasons Amazon is great! small business owners considered selling on
Amazon in 2017, and more than a million
Streamlines the shopping and small businesses in the US have already taken
delivery process the plunge. However, it's at a hefty cost that's
The online marketplace sells a wide range associated to the seller to sell their products on
of almost everything. Plus, during searches, Amazon.
users get the added bonus of being presented
with similar products or products frequently Pushes Innovation
purchased together. This makes Amazon’s What truly sets Amazon apart is its brand
comparison-shopping of brand vs. brand or promise to be “Earth’s biggest selection and the
product vs. related product fast and effortless. Earth’s most customer-centric company.” Take its
Another benefit of shopping on Amazon Prime video services, with original and award-
is the immediacy in which purchases are winning TV shows and movies, or its cloud
received. With services like Amazon Prime, computing service, which is so successful that
the customer journey of “search – select it is now expanding to handle classified CIA
– pay – possess” is near-instantaneous. Since data. If the promise of the internet is to provide
Amazon has been delivering 26% of its own users with what we need, when we need it
orders directly to consumers, it’s no wonder – whether product- or service-related – then
that the company is giving UPS and FedEx Amazon has proven that those who have the
a run for their money, competition that will data can deliver on this promise. Also, Amazon’s
only benefit consumers. It’s much faster influence pushes the whole consumer industry
than most other e-commerce stores. Being forward with innovation, even with the short-
lived Amazon Dash and using delivery drones.
SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS
Communities Are In Need Of Your Support!
by John Stephens • Local businesses are owned and
Smaller and local businesses count on your operated by your neighbors! They care
patronage in order to stay afloat, especially about and are invested in the well-being
now that every transaction is precious to of your community and its future.
them. So when deciding where to spend • Local businesses are more accountable
your hard-earned dollars on tonight’s to their local communities and donate
dinner or a gift for a friend, consider the more money to non-profits.
benefits of turning to local, independently • Supporting local businesses is good for
owned businesses within your community. the environment because they often have
There are far-reaching advantages to a smaller carbon footprint than larger
deciding to “shop local.” By supporting local companies.
businesses, you are in turn supporting your It isn’t always the easiest or most
local economy; significantly more money convenient option to visit a local
stays in a community when purchases independent business rather than a large
are made at locally owned – rather than national chain that might be down the
nationally owned – businesses. The U.S. street. However, there are plenty of ways
Small Business Association and the U.S. you can help support your local economy
Department of Labor report the positive in Massachusetts by thinking local first:
impacts of small, independent business on 1. Try the menu at a local restaurant for
local economies. lunch or dinner
• Local businesses are more likely to 2. Purchase a birthday present at a local
utilize other local businesses such as gift shop
banks, service providers, and farms. 3. Join a local gym
• For every $100 you spend at local 4. Visit a local nursery or hardware store
businesses, $68 will stay in the for your lawn and garden needs
community. 5. Get your car serviced at a local
• Independent retailers return more mechanic
than three times as much money per 6. Visit a farmer’s market to purchase the
dollar of sales to the community in which ingredients for your family dinner. There
they operate than chain competitors. are Buy Local groups advocating locally
Independent restaurants return more grown food products
than two times as much money per dollar So the next time you need to run out for
of sales than national restaurant chains. some groceries or do a little shopping, seek
• Small businesses employ 77 million out a local business and see what they have
Americans and accounted for 65% of all to offer! You could discover some great
new jobs over the past 17 years. products and services while helping to
In addition to helping build the local build a strong and successful community
economy, there are also notable around you.
intangible benefits that come from
supporting businesses in your local
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Striving for Feelings of Gratitude
By Dr. Charla Waxman my friends” is great, but who and why are the
extended questions that you should answer for
BS, MBA, EdD yourself.
Look around you
During this tumultuous
year, it may be difficult Are there things that you have not recognized
to think about feelings as gratitude-producing? Be thankful for
of thankfulness and those things: things in your home, your
gratitude. There is no neighborhood, your community and globally.
question; it has been a Stretch your gratitude muscles.
rough year. A year filled Schedule time for your new habit
with many anxiety-producing situations, Just like with any new habit or process, it can
many of them that directly affected us, yet fall apart quickly without consistency. Maybe
were seemingly out of our control. while your head is still on the pillow and before
There is a solution to feelings, but not you put your feet on the floor, you can connect
always to the things that cause them; but with a gratitude moment. Find other times in
feelings can be managed. There is real your day when you can add in gratitude.
science behind striving for feelings of
gratitude. Research at Harvard, Yale, and Tell someone else
even the US Army among countless other
medical and psychiatric settings, all point to Invite a friend, family member, or coworker
how being thankful and finding gratitude, to join in. The more the merrier! Listening to
especially during tough times, offers others will generate excitement about being
improved thinking, focus, and physical grateful and help identify new things that
health. define gratitude.
Gratitude on a daily basis, not just
occasionally or if something great happens, Many other ideas for gratitude
is the key. Look for the little things: be habits are out there!
thankful for a bird feeder full of birds to Googling gratitude will provide a host
watch, a great tasting treat, or even having of fun journals and many books to get
a short drive-thru line at your local coffee started making gratitude work for you.
shop. Taking the time to journal gratitude Consider writing letters of gratitude to
moments and to get in the gratitude those who have made a difference to you.
habit can significantly increase physical Start a gratitude box and put your written
and mental well-being and overall life thoughts there once a day. Review them
satisfaction. from time to time.
Tap into gratitude and make it work for Whatever you are willing to do, make it
you. Start the practice of gratitude now and happen. There really is science behind it.
keep it going! Encourage others to do the Being grateful; walking in gratitude can
same. It works! absolutely be life enhancing.
Go back in time We know you are grateful for the times in
Remember the things in the past that made your life when you have felt supported and
you smile. Think about old friends, holidays, cared for. At Chicago Behavioral Hospital, it
activities, jokes and conversations. is our mission to provide care and support
Be gratitude specific for those living with mental illness just
Look for things in the present that make you when it is needed most. If you or a loved
feel grateful. Bring as much detail into your one need help 24/7/365, we are available
thought or writing as you can. “I am grateful for to take your call. Contact us at 844-756-
8600 for a free and confidential, level of
How To Break Them
Habits are the small decisions you make and Blaming other people
actions you perform every day. According
Duke University researchers, habits account for Sometimes it really is someone else’s fault that
about 40% of our behaviors on any given day. something bad happened. But what can you
Your life as you know it is essentially the sum do? Blaming other people is a futile exercise that
of your habits--or at least a reflection of them. doesn’t solve anything. Instead, it creates anger
How in shape or out of shape you are is a result and resentment, and it does nothing to push
of your habits. How happy or unhappy you you forward. If someone wronged you, work on
are is a result of your habits. How successful or letting go of those bitter feelings. Forgive. Move
unsuccessful you are is a result of your habits. on. Focus on your actions instead. When you start
What you repeatedly do (your thoughts, taking action, you take more responsibility for
actions and behaviors) ultimately forms the what happens in your life.
person you are, the things you believe and
the identity you portray. Everything from Multitasking
procrastination to productivity to looking
better to eating better and beyond all Research has shown that only 2% of us can really
starts with better habits. When you learn to multitask efficiently. So, give up the lie already.
transform your habits, you can transform your Stop multitasking. Seriously. The cost of switching
life. from one thing to another is extraordinary. You’re
A big part of the habit-change game is paying wasting time and raising the risk of making
attention to the habits that could be hindering mistakes. Instead of trying to get multiple things
your progress when it comes to health, fitness, done in a frantic, distracted manner, focus on
career, relationships and life, in general. Here doing one thing savagely well.
are some bad habits that can be holding you
back… Worrying about things
you can’t control
Hitting the Snooze Button
Stress, worry and anxiousness are especially
You know what hitting the snooze button tells prevalent today, with all the event happening
the world (and your subconscious)? According in our lives and beyond (and the constant
to Bedros Keullian, “It tells everyone that you reminders in the news, social media feeds,
value 10 minutes of extra sleep--poor-quality etc.). When persistent, these can manifest as
sleep, at that--over pursuing your passion and physical symptoms, many of which can be quite
accomplishing your deepest desires.” But when dangerous. While there’s an infinite number of
you wake up and don’t snooze, you start your things you can worry about, there are only a
day with a big win, ready to dominate your handful of things you can control, starting with
day. your attitude, actions and behaviors. You can’t
Making Excuses. If you’re being honest, do change what others say or think, and you can’t
you ever make excuses when things don’t decide the actions other people take. What you
turn out as expected? Have you ever tried can do is decide what your next step is.
to explain away why you didn’t, couldn’t,
shouldn’t or simply wouldn’t do something? It’s Giving empty promises
easy to come up with excuses and justify not
getting started (or finished). The longer you There are few things more disappointing than
fill your head with rationalizations and empty when someone makes a promise and never
excuses, the less time you have to take action. delivers. Eventually, the person’s words lose
According to Jordan Belfort, “The only thing their meaning, and the person himself becomes
standing between you and your goal is the BS devoid of trust. If you want to help someone,
story you keep telling yourself as to why you think carefully about what that entails before
can’t achieve it.” offering to do so. Interestingly, the people that
speak the loudest often end up doing the least.
The next time you want to do something, take
initiative and help out. Let the results speak for
#Change That Up
by Jack Santo
IoT (Internet of Things) Trends Greater Consumer Adoption
These are some of the trends that will In the next 10 years, a drastic change will
dominate the IoT app development happen in the internet of things. The new
ecosystem in the coming year 2020. trend will witness the growth of industrial IoT
According to industry experts, both the platforms and infrastructure. These trends of
consumers and the industries will witness the Internet of Things will gradually evolve
great advances in devices thus bringing and will witness a greater adoption by
a great difference in the lives of people. consumers more than ever before.
With the latest technologies available in Companies like BetterView, Veniam, and
the market, IoT devices will become more Swift Navigation are based on Industrial-
intuitive and convenient to use. IoT will foster developments in the field
More availability of options brings more of architecture, insurance, agriculture,
data at risk. So, the business owners will transportation, or telecommunications.
have to design strategies for protecting Industry experts will come up with great
their connected devices against malicious solutions using IoT in the future that will
attacks and activities. In the midst of all serve consumer’s interest and help in making
these IoT trends and predictions, the future things convenient for the consumers.
is definitely promising and certainly worth Moreover, the internet of things will make
the wait. If you wish to create an app for things simpler for us.
your business needs, then you can hire iOS
developer for building feature-packed IoT Healthcare will see Increased
based mobile app as per your choice. IoT (Internet of Things) Adoption
Better Data Analytics One of the most important applications of
Energy and Resource Management IoT that will clearly dominate the IoT app
development ecosystem in the next year is
There is a huge demand in the market for in the field of healthcare. As per a report by
products that can fit well in the electrical Frost and Sullivan, the internet of medical
panels. Energy can be managed in a proper things could be expected to grow at a
manner if its consumption by the resources compound annual growth rate of 26.2% and
is monitored well. The IoT app tends can reach $ 72,000 million by 2021.
easily be integrated into resources. This helps Healthcare devices well configured with IoT
in making the lives of people easier and makes it easier to monitor the health status
more comfortable. of the patients. It assists doctors too. Mobile
Embedded features in smartphones send health applications and virtual assistants to
automatic notifications when the power monitor the patient’s health at home and a
threshold is exceeded. Other alluring series of other intelligent connected devices
features that can be added using IoT include will help in reshaping the medical world.
sprinkler control, indoor temperature
management, etc. can also be added.