Maybe you’re the one with his head in the sand:
A few weeks ago, Wyze Labs, a one-year-old start-up in Seattle, sent me its first gadget to try. It’s a small, internet-connected video camera, the kind you might use for security or to keep tabs on your dog or your baby.
On the surface, the camera doesn’t sound special. Like home internet cameras made by Nest or Netgear . . . but the WyzeCam has one groundbreaking feature that no rival can match. It is being sold for such an unbelievably low price – $20 – that it sent me tunneling into the global gadget industry to figure out how Wyze had done it. That, in turn, led to a revelation about the future of all kinds of products, from cameras to clothes.
The future? We’re going to get better products for ludicrously low prices, and big brands across a range of categories – the Nests and Netgears of the world – are going to find it harder than ever to get us to shell out big money for their wares.
There’s a hidden hero in this story – or, if you’re a major brand, a shadowy villain. It’s Amazon.
To understand Amazon’s role, let’s take a closer look at how Wyze piggybacked off Amazon. Nest’s and Netgear’s comparable indoor cameras sell for around $200 each, while Wyze’s device goes for $20 plus shipping if you buy directly from the company’s website.
I don’t like the race to the bottom and the hollowing out of the middle class any more than any other pampered westerner. Maybe the real culprit though is the man or woman in the mirror. The one who goes on to Amazon and pays the cheapest price possible for everything – and then wonders why wages are falling.