Short Strikes No. 12

This week, Short Strikes explores the caverns of Bass Pro Shops, looks inside the numbers of a memo from Jeff Bezos, and reveals which major fishing brands are currently being promoted by Amazon. Let’s get to it.

Indiana Johnny and the Cathedral of Nature

Top of the Rock Lodge will overlook the ‘Cathedral of Nature’

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris announced this week that he will construct a new wilderness resort beside a giant sinkhole that opened at his Table Rock Lake golf course in 2015. Morris—an enthusiastic spelunker— excavated the sink hole to a depth of 200 feet and dubbed it, “The Cathedral of Nature.” The lodge will be perched on the precipice of the Cathedral of Nature. Bass Pro Shops says the view will, “invite guests to marvel at dramatic 200-foot canyons and limestone formations from a number of mesmerizing vantage points.”

The new lodge will be part of Morris’s Big Cedar Lodge complex on the shores of Missouri’s Table Rock Lake. Just this week, the complex hosted a golf and casting event featuring Bill Dance and Tiger Woods.

You can’t make this up.

Quote Dance, “I can’t even spell ‘golf.’ I played golf maybe one time in my life.” No word on Tiger’s accuracy with a baitcaster, but he’s apparently pretty good with a spear gun.

The strike:

Bass Pro Shops is newly embroiled in an intellectual property lawsuit with Huddleston Deluxe, Inc., a Las Vegas-based swimbait maker who alleges that Bass Pro Shops infringed on a patented bait tail.

Bass Pro Shops says they cannot comment on ongoing litigation, but that cathedral though…

100 million is the new prime number

Jeff Bezos unleashed his annual letter to Amazon shareholders this week. Included were some revealing figures surrounding Amazon Prime, which now boasts 100 million subscribers. That’s a lot of people. Combined with a top-ranked American Customer Satisfaction score, that makes Amazon a dangerous player in any market. Bezos says his empire currently employs 560,000 people that combined to ship more than 5 billion items to those Prime customers last year—and, he says, you can get in on the action.

“Millions of small and medium-sized businesses worldwide now sell their products through Amazon to reach new customers around the globe,” Bezos explained. “SMBs selling on Amazon come from every state in the U.S., and from more than 130 different countries around the world. More than 140,000 SMBs surpassed $100,000 in sales on Amazon in 2017.”

The strike:

Amazon does retail so well that it has become the Sears catalog of the modern era. Where Sears once dominated the retail landscape with stores and distribution centers in every region, Amazon has taken up the sword by putting stores in every pocket. But—and this is a big one, for now—Amazon does not appear to understand fishing tackle…at all.

The case could be made that fishing just doesn’t translate well to Amazon’s format, though Short Strikes would argue that fishing absolutely translates to online retail…if done well. Look no further than The Charleston Angler, Tackle Warehouse, or Tackle Direct to see it done well. Don’t look to Amazon, though. The scope is too broad, the organizational structure in shambles, and the knowledge of local or even regional waters is nonexistent.

For now, Bezos hasn’t quite solved the mystery of our market. But that doesn’t mean he won’t eventually. Already, Amazon is selling the brands that customers could be buying from you.

Here’s a list of prominent fishing tackle brands currently featured by Amazon:

  • Abu Garcia
  • Berkley
  • Buck Knives
  • Columbia
  • Fish Head
  • Frogg Toggs
  • Gary Yamamoto
  • KastKing
  • PENN
  • Plano
  • Rapala
  • Seaguar
  • Spiderwire
  • Stren

The closer

We leave you with another note from Jeff Bezos—one that’s worth taking to your next meeting.

“We don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations at Amazon. Instead, we write narratively structured six-page memos. We silently read one at the beginning of each meeting in a kind of ‘study hall.’ Not surprisingly, the quality of these memos varies widely. Some have the clarity of angels singing. They are brilliant and thoughtful and set up the meeting for high-quality discussion.”