Before dawn, a U.S. Postal Service van rumbled down the street. Waving to the carrier, I said "up early, huh?" and he replied cheerfully "Oh, yeah" and headed up our neighbor's driveway, bearing packages with the distinctive Amazon brand.
I recalled that Amazon had contracted with the postal service to deliver its packages, a clever pairing of old and new economic models. Even on Sunday mornings, the Postal Service is out delivering Christmas packages, while UPS and Fed/Ex typically arrive in late afternoon.
My encounter with the cheerful postman came after I'd read a Wall Street Journal article about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and how he's involved with managing the Washington Post, which he purchased more than two years ago, Bezos stays clear of editorial decisions, while pushing hard for technological improvements such as apps upon which the newspaper can be read.
Bezos, known for innovations that have changed a variety of retail markets, stays ahead of futuristic systems such as drones and space travel. He's also shown ingenuity in recognizing new commercial benefits of models others consider obsolete, such as newspapers and the Postal Service.
While Bezos has drawn criticism for poor working conditions at his warehouses and for delivering lower profits than expected from his dazzling reputation, he keeps competing in the marketplace and seeking to change our world.