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I appreciate you challenging me to clarify my thoughts, Valeria. Thank you.

Word of mouth has no equal. My own thoughts on Apple products and practices aside, the iProducts have made a difference. And products which make a difference - truly worth owning - sell themselves. I firmly believe that.

From a sales and marketing perspective, this is exactly what we want. But what about from a societal perspective. Is this what we need? Should we continue to focus on consumption? Should there be one standard for us and another for the "consumer?"

It all seems so parasitic to me; extracting wealth from the masses in ever decreasing buying cycles without considering how delivering a product which genuinely enables them to live more productive, rewarding lives stands to build lifetime relationships. I see it as taking what they've got, where helping them realize more to give would be the ideal.

As for Amazon, I wouldn't say all businesses should be like them. Cast in another light, they're not too different from Walmart, which is a whole other can of worms. Still, I prefer their seemingly more respectful approach. It feels more authentic.

Again, thanks for the opportunity to think out loud. :)

putting your own personal preferences aside for a moment, do you discount the power of customer evangelists for word of mouth? Do you think that loyal customers who upgrade willingly -- and tell all their friends about those products, at the tune of US$4 million in sales on the first day -- and who in turn give strength back to the business and make it enduring are not an indication of the kind of business we need in the mix? Should all businesses be like Amazon? Curious.

I've got an iPod Touch. I find it useless for anything beyond streaming Pandora in the garage (to keep my netbook from getting dirty). I also tend to do about 90% of my Christmas shopping on Amazon.

When I setup my iPod, it really bugged me how I had to provide credit card info before I could download and install a FREE app. When I do my shopping on Amazon, I tend to find pretty much anything I'm looking for, even if it doesn't ship from Amazon directly.

I think Amazon will win out long term. Yes, Apple is hot right now, but how many of their customers are new customers, versus repeat customers buying the latest version of what they've already got? How expensive are those products? I know people who have spent more than $1000 on iPhone upgrades in the time I've had my held-its-own for the last two years $200 Blackberry?

Amazon is positioning itself to put just about anything a consumer could imagine right in the palm of his hand at a super competitive price. And, unless I'm mistaken, Amazon treats my credit card information as opt-in, rather than Apple's opt-out. That's a great way to engender trust, encourage trial, and nurture adoption.

I see Apple's ecosystem - the way they, along with app developers and consumers all seem to benefit from a mutual relationship - but this is all pretty much proprietary. To me, it seems Amazon is better positioned to bring a more diverse and valuable digital ecosystem together for more people.

This is an interesting topic to consider!

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