Did Amazon grow to be the dominant player in e-commerce because Bezos had the foresight to begin with the right product category (books) or was Amazon one of many e-commerce startups that just happened upon the right category (compared to the logistical catastrophe of WebVan) and found a windfall of lead time? Grace vs grit.
In hindsight, books were the right decision because of their inherent simplicity. They’re near-pure commodities, that fit neatly into boxes and shipping containers (unlike lettuce, icecream or bicycles).
The now is a fine moment because the logistical infrastructure is in place to bring increasingly complex product categories into the fold of next-day-shipping and fulfillment, and Amazon has the network-effect power to knock down all the barriers.
With Amazon’s projected ambitions to own global shipping, once inassimilable industries will be fundamentally restructured. Exciting times!