InsightaaS: Several years ago, I began working with (and later, investing in) trade publications. At a partner, I saw that profit had evaporated from the model; as an owner, I found that part of the reason for this was that it is cheaper for vendors to bribe journalists directly (with trips, dinner, and a generally stage-managed experience) than to curry favour indirectly through advertising – which enables owners to employ writers, but doesn’t directly increment their frequent-flyer status. Detached again from the media fray, I understand the ‘bribe the journalist’ approach: it’s likely that writers will issue favourable reports when they are being wined and dined, rather than (figuratively) biting the hand that is (literally) feeding them.
What happens when the absence of travel allows for the distance needed to judge an event and its pronouncements on their merit? Today’s feature indicates that the coverage is less fawning than the typical conference travelogue. Here, author/ analyst Jason Bloomberg (aka “TheEbizWizard”) dissects Amazon’s recent reInvent conference from the safe confines of his office. Given the distance, he constructs a perspective that finds that Amazon’s approach is fundamentally flawed. AWS, he believes, is positioning IaaS at the core of cloud, and ignoring the need to support digitization directly rather than through its partner community. Writing on Forbes.com, Bloomberg states that “Tactically, Amazon’s decision to focus its enterprise efforts on the IT shop and let partners build solutions for digital pros makes perfect sense, as it avoids channel conflict. Strategically, however, I believe Amazon is making a critical mistake…Digital transformation at numerous enterprises are shifting this center of gravity away from IT infrastructure and toward the customer.”
While the main motivation for underwriting attendance at conferences is to get a message out, an important part of the reason to stay connected market experts is to obtain external feedback in time to build it into strategy, rather than having to react when contrary opinions appear in the press. Perhaps AWS should reconsider the way in which it envisions its position in the market…
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Amazon.com cloud computing juggernaut, wrapped up its annual reInvent conference in Las Vegas last week. Host to many thousands of AWS devotees, hundreds of exhibiting partners, and dozens of press and analysts — but not myself. You see, I wasn’t invited.
Not for want of trying, mind you. It didn’t matter that I had attended last year as an analyst, or that I write about them regularly, or even that my opinion of them has generally been quite favorable. You’d think that with my new role as contributor to Forbes on the topic of digital transformation, I’d be a shoe-in for one of the coveted press/analyst passes. Didn’t happen.
Determined not to fall for a sour grapes trap, I spent the week following the goings-on at reInvent anyway, paying special attention to Amazon’s announcements at the show. After all, AWS saves its most significant product launches for reInvent, signaling their strategy for the coming year.
A handful of security and compliance tools. Three new application lifecycle management tools. Yet another cloud-based database. And a container service for all you Docker fans out there. The techies in the crowd went home happy to be sure.
Then it dawned on me. Amazon didn’t exclude me in spite of my focus on digital transformation. They chose not to invite me precisely because my focus is on digital. You see, for better or worse, AWS has no real digital story to tell. And therein lies the true AWS digital story…