The Atlantic writes that as Amazon increasingly expands into bricks-and-mortar, its “do-it-all corporate strategy adheres to a familiar playbook—that of Sears, Roebuck & Company. Sears might seem like a zombie today, but it’s easy to forget how transformative the company was exactly 100 years ago, when it, too, was capitalizing on a mail-to-consumer business to establish a physical retail presence.

“To understand Amazon - its evolution, its strategy, and perhaps its future - look to Sears.”

You can read the entire analysis here.

KC's View: I think there are a lot of object lessons here, but the biggest may be that even though Amazon is more than 20 years old, it would appear that at no point two decades ago - or even one decade ago - did anyone from the company ever look around and notice that the competitive landscape was changing, and with it, the needs, desires and expectations of the US consumer. Sears’ head was so far deep in the sand - or maybe elsewhere - that it did not evolve when evolution was demanded, or create the kind of internal revolution that might’ve made it less irrelevant.

It would be easy to suggest that Amazon is genetically engineered not to be so oblivious. I would think that this is true, but I’ve also learned never to underestimate the ability of businesses leaders to delude themselves.