“You have to send Jeff Bezos nudes?” my wife asked, ever more concerned by Halo. Not exactly, I replied, even though it works best with form-fitting clothing rather than my typically baggy ensemble.
She was not assuaged, even though she, too, had fallen into the Amazon vortex during the pandemic, after the birth of our baby last year. Being a new mom pushed her from being a Never Amazoner to being a regular user of its home delivery services. “I hate myself for this,” she said many times, like when the giant box of diapers arrived on our doorstep.
Amazon has made bank during the Covid-19 crisis because of this kind of widespread yet reluctant embrace of convenience. Amazon’s profits and stock have surged in 2020, along with the enormous wealth of its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, whose net worth has gone from mind-blowing to decidedly obscene in only a few months.
Doubling down on owning the consumption grid, Amazon last week announced a major push into the prescription drug arena, since it needs to move into ever bigger markets like health and wellness in order to keep up its explosive growth. The announcement of Amazon Pharmacy to deliver prescription drugs to the home sent the stock prices of drugstore chains crashing. Innovation-free and customer-service-resistant for far too long, the big drugstores have left themselves vulnerable to a company like Amazon, which can offer discounts, great service and who-knows-what-else-but-it-will-be-nifty to its members.
In the last few weeks of using Halo, it finally clicked with me as to why Amazon needs a device that tracks sleep and movement and body fat and even body tone: An Echo is too far away from our bodies, and the consumer goods we order give the company much information about us but not enough.
Amazon needs even more, and to be even closer — skintight — to understand the state of me at all times. Then the company can begin to really determine what I might need or want at any moment.
This enormous idea has been at the heart of Mr. Bezos’s dream for a long time: to suck up the data from willing participants and give them back exactly what they want, for a price. This may be perhaps the most perfect signal-to-noise ratio ever collected. Health info, entertainment likes and dislikes, and purchase data offer a panoply of insights.