The FAGA War: Discovery, Design, Data, Delivery

Ben Parr wrote a few weeks ago about how Apple vs. Google “epitomize the ying-yang battle of design vs. data.” He left out the other two 7Cs “platform” contenders, Facebook and Amazon, so I commented on his Google+ post at the time, assigning “Discovery” to Facebook and “Delivery” to Amazon. 

The December Wired cover story and interview with Jeff Bezos confirms Amazon’s obsession for (speedy) delivery, whether it’s taking delivery from a supplier or delivering for the customer in every possible way. In the interview, Steven Levy still thinks along the lines of the traditional “industry” categories (and the entrenched belief that each industry has unique “competitive forces” and requires unique skills and experience) and asks:

Levy: Was it difficult to turn yourself from a retail company into a consumer electronics company?

Bezos: It’s not as different as you might think. A lot of our original approaches and techniques carried over very well. For example, we’ve always focused on reducing the time between order and delivery. In hardware, it’s the same principle. An example is the time between when we take delivery on a processor to when it’s being used in a device by a customer. That’s waste. Why would we own a processor that’s supposed to go into a Kindle Fire that’s not actually in a customer’s hands? That’s inventory management.

Amazon, driven by the big wave of digitization which has destroyed “industry” boundaries, indeed sees everything as 1s and 0s, as one giant wave of big data that helps apply the same management principles to selling goods, to offering services, to storing, discovering and consuming information, to coordinating work and leisure, to creating content. In short, the 7Cs is the battle map for what Fast Company calls The Great Tech War of 2012, or as Fortune puts it more broadly, the battle for the future of the Web. Or, in short, the FAGA War.