Amazon and Personalized Predictive Media (Part I)

I love Amazon.com.


I buy a lot of things from Amazon, but mostly music cd’s. There are three reasons for this:

1. Subscription shipping. With Amazon Prime “all you can eat” express shipping for $79/year, I never have to worry about shipping costs. I don’t hesitate when purchasing something, even if it is a small order, because I know shipping costs are already covered.

2. Long tail product offering. The music that I listen to and purchase isn’t always in the mainstream, so it’s difficult to find. I usually can’t find it in Best Buy or other physical retailer, nor even on iTunes. But it is nearly always on Amazon, which is great. It’s only rarely that I am looking for something that I can’t find.

3. Personalized recommendations. I have purchased so much music from Amazon that my preference profile is very rich. So when they recommend via e-mail or on their site that I purchase an artist’s album that I haven’t heard of, I’ll check it out. I often buy it – and like it. The service’s recommendations now are so spot on, that I truly trust it. That’s a powerful thing to say: that I, as a consumer, trust that when a company says I should buy something from them, I do.

I bring up the case of Amazon example as just one example of where the consumption of media is headed. It will become personalized: it’s delivered just for me and no other consumer. And it will be predictive. It’s not just about giving me what I want and only when I want it, but also telling me what I want before I know that I even want it. Media should know where to find me; I shouldn’t have to know where to find it.

So it’s more than just personalized content. I think the power of personalization resides in telling me what I should be looking for. Amazon is already headed in that direction and is doing a great job. There are other examples, too, in the RSS world that I’ll touch upon in subsequent posts.

David Beisel

David Beisel is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has been focused on early stage Internet startups his entire career, both as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. As an investor in the digital media space, David was most recently a Vice President at Venrock and previously a Principal at Masthead Venture Partners. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, David co-founded Sombasa Media, an e-mail marketing company best known for its flagship product BargainDog. Sombasa was successfully acquired by About.com where David served as Vice President of Marketing. David holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB in Economics, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University. He also founded and leads the Boston Innovators Group, an organization which holds quarterly entrepreneur events drawing a thousand attendees.

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