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Amazon Prime Service Crosses 100 Million Subscribers

Smruthi Kishore

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, revealed in his annual share holders letter Yesterday that Amazon Prime has now crossed 100 million Prime Members. Amazon revealed its Prime numbers for the first time in the 13 years since its inception!

The number of Prime subscribers for years has been a closely held secret and the focus of much speculation. The figure also confirms that Prime is one of the World’s largest Internet subscriptions and a strong force among online retailers. By revealing the number of subscribers, Amazon has given us a hint at the steep and steady increase of revenue over the years.

The letter from CEO Jeff Bezos is meant to celebrate the eighth year in a row that Amazon ranked number 1 on The American Customer Satisfaction Index. It might also be interesting to note that there has been recent criticism, claiming Amazon employees are being subjected to awful working conditions. According to Bezos, Amazon Prime also saw its best year ever in 2017, with the company shipping over five billion products with Prime and by signing up more new members than in any previous year.

Amazon Prime was launched at a price of Rs. 499, which was later increased to Rs. 999 a year later. The Prime membership in India includes features like access to free one day and two days deliveries, Amazon Prime Video access and Prime Music for free. Prime members also get discounted “Same Day and Morning Delivery” to pin codes in select cities around the Country, including places like Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.

Looking at the massive success of Amazon Prime in India, the company expanded its services to Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Furthermore, in an attempt to increase its customer base, Amazon has also introduced Business Prime Shipping in the US and Germany.

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Elon Musk Works 120 Hours a Week, Stays In Factory For 4 Days

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In an interview with The New York Times, Elon Musk said he has been working 120 hours a week. It is more than three times the national average work week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the CEO of two major companies, Tesla and SpaceX, Musk seems to be having a hard time delegating his work. This is making him overworked.

“The classic problem as an entrepreneur is that they have a hard time delegating,” Robert Pozen senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management. “But that’s really crazy. Recruiting other executives is critical, so is dealing with customers and dealing with regulators. Those are functions that only the top founders can do.”

Silicon Valley has been criticized for glorifying overworking. “A culture of overwork is damaging because it turns brief binges of hard work into a long-term strategy, and, worse still, an expectation. When managers start measuring the worth of their employees according to how quickly they return emails at 3 a.m., that particular work culture is broken,” said Adam Alter, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Musk realised that this behaviour is harmful and has been affecting his life drastically.

“There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days – days when I didn’t go outside,” Musk said. “This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.”

Elon Musk also revealed that he has not been on vacation since 2001, he has spent his most recent birthday at work. Musk added, he has trouble sleeping “it is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien.”

It has been reported that the Tesla executives are looking for a number two, to take on some of Musk’s daily responsibilities. Musk said that he is not aware of this search and has no plans to step away from his many roles at Tesla.

As the CEO of two major companies, Musk is known to keep an intense daily routine. Inc. previously reported that the CEO ignores most phone calls, abstains from getting stuck dealing with emails, and breaks his entire day into a series of five-minute slots. But apparently, he’s still there for 120 hours a week.

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Google Parent invests $ 375 Million In Oscar Health

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Google’s parent company, Alphabet has invested $ 375 million in an insurance startup company, Oscar Health.

Post the investment, Alphabet will own 10% of the stake in the startup. Alphabet through its venture firm CapitalG and the life sciences division Verily participated in a $ 165 million funding round for Oscar Health.

Founded in 2012, Oscar Health is a technology-focused health insurance company that is headquartered in New York City.

Oscar Health co-founder and CEO Mario Schlosser said, “it’s fantastic for us because it will really allow us to focus fully on the core model we’ve been building for the past 6 years, which is: use technology, use data, use design, use a human approach to build a very different health care experience,”

The startup offers health coverage through ObamaCare in six states. Oscar Health is planning to introduce new innovation like providing a “concierge” team, which includes a nurse. The nurse will help the people enrolled to find suitable doctors.

Schlosser announced the news in an interview,  “We can hire more engineers, we can hire more data scientists, more product designers, more smart clinicians who can think about health care a different way. It’s the acceleration of that product roadmap that fascinates us the most. The second, more tangible piece, is that we’re launching new product lines.”

The co founder of Oscar Health, is Josh Kushner, the brother of Jared Kushner. Jared Kushner is Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser. This relationship is quite intriguing looking at Oscar Health’s participation in ObamaCare.

Schlosser in an interview said Josh Kushner’s connection to Trump “does not affect what we do.” He added, “Whatever happened in the press, whatever happens on the regulatory side, I have personally always thought, and I think the company shares in this, that if we have something that leads to lower costs and happier members in some shape or form we’ll be able to turn this into a successful company.”

 

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How IKEA India Is Different

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IKEA, the largest furniture retailer, finally launched their showroom in India after a fair amount of struggle. The opening was initially intercepted in 2006 due to the Indian restrictions on foreign investment. The rules were later relaxed.

When it finally opened on 9 August, a staggering number of 40,000 customers visited the store on the first day.


The Swedish Ambassador, Klas Molin, attended the opening ceremony along with the Chief Minister of Telengana, K Taraka Rama Rao.

Situated on a 13 acre land on the outskirts of Hyderabad with over 7,500 products on sale, IKEA expects over six million consumers to visit the store every year. By employing over 950 people at its Hyderabad store, IKEA aims at creating over 1,500 additional jobs.

To suit the Indian market, the Swedish brand has made various alterations as the average annual salary in India is less than $2000. The changes include the sale of idli making appliances, as well as spice boxes for people who, according to John Achillea, Store Manager, have “big aspirations for their homes and small wallets.” For example, a cutlery set for kids costs only Rs. 131. There are over 1,000 items on sale for less than Rs. 200.

The store includes a 1,000-seat cafeteria that is among the largest in India. There have been changes made to the classic IKEA menu. For example,  the Swedish meatballs have been replaced by Samosas, Biryani, and Dal Makhani.

The lack of “Do It Yourself” (DIY) culture and the abundant amount of cheap labour available, the company has partnered with UrbanClap, an application that connects handymen with customers, to provide more services.

IKEA plans to expand in India over the next few years with stores in Bangalore, Mumbai and a suburb of New Delhi. It has invested over Rs. 10 billion and plans to hire over 15,000 employees in the country by 2025. IKEA said half of its Indian team of workers would be women.

IKEA is going to revolutionise the furniture industry as most of the Indian consumers buy non-brand furniture. Its major competitors currently range from Godrej Interio, Future Group’s HomeTown to Durian Furnitures.

 

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