Unknown Unknowns #9 - Is Amazon More Expensive Than You Think?
2 min read

Unknown Unknowns #9 - Is Amazon More Expensive Than You Think?

A day late again!  Sorry.  At this rate I may have to turn this into a Friday newsletter.  Let's get into it.

This Week:

Idea of the Week: Plus, Minus, Equal

I heard about the idea of "Plus, Minus, Equal" from James Altucher.  When you're learning something, always think about the Plus (someone better than you that you can emulate and learn from), Minus (someone behind you that you can teach), and Equal (someone at the same level that you can collaborate, compete with, or use as motivation).  The minus is important because the best way to learn is to teach.  I was reminded of it yesterday when seeing Jack Butcher's idea about Selling to Sellers.  You can sell a product to help people do what you used to do.  This presupposes that you are all-in with a growth mindset, because you're increasing the competition of what you used to do.  If you don't have a growth mindset, this is going to create cognitive dissonance.  But you have to realize you're in the metagame now.

Experiment of the Week: Weekly Review

Preliminary results from last week's experiment are in!  Last week, I did a weekly review where I listed the projects that I wanted to work on, listed what I needed to do for each one, estimated a priority and length of time I thought it would take to complete it.  I then found a spot in my calendar to do each task.

This was very successful!  I did all the tasks that I wanted to do.  I didn't feel rushed or stressed.  Most importantly, I didn't feel like I needed to be working on something when I wasn't working on it.  I didn't procrastinate (as much).

Something Interesting: Amazon's Pricing Shenanigans

Amazon Prime = free shipping.  Nothing in life is free, so where does the money come from?  In essence, Amazon charges fees to the merchants who then raise the price of the product to cover the shipping fees.  This means that the price of the same product on other sites without free shipping should be lower, but they're not.  It turns out that Amazon will lower the product in their algorithmic search rankings.  So Amazon is forcing the merchants to make the Amazon price be the lowest price they sell the product for.  

What is the solution?  Amazon is a dominant marketplace and merchants need to be on it to survive.  That being said, many merchants are on Amazon and are not favored by their algorithm.  It's logically impossible for everyone to be a favored seller.  So you can survive without being high in the search rankings.  

Going back to my idea of the week from last week, this shows why Amazon search is terrible and why they don't open up their API.  They want to control what products you see so that they can control the pricing.  I'm genuinely interested if anyone has any perspective on this situation.

Questions, suggestions, complaints?  Email me me at [email protected].  Feedback welcome.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share it with a friend or two.  And feel free to send anything you find interesting to me!

Have a great week,


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