Magic is Willful Suspension of Curiosity

We saw magic happen last night on broadcast TV that is supposedly dead. CBS 60 minutes had the scoop of getting Amazon CEO Mr. Jeff Bezos reveal the future of package deliveries. Actually I should refine my statement, we did not see magic happen we saw an expert magician at work, Mr. Bezos that is, not Mr. Charlie Rose. And we all went along with the magician.

Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller pair defines magic as,

“Magic is unwilling suspension of disbelief. For example the audience cannot ask to walk up the stage to look inside boxes. They have to accept the magician’s word for it.”

Clearly Mr. Rose, the reporter whose job is to show disbelief, did not bother to even feign one. He was happy as a child in a magic show. Strike that, have you seen how children these days treat magicians you invite for birthdays? They don’t  sit in their allocated chairs and simply applaud in awe. They nag, they jump from their seats, they want to see what is in the other hand, what is the color of the back of the rabbit. Because children do not suspend their disbelief or curiosity.

But Mr. Rose was happy to be entertained, sit in his comfortable chair and not ask to walk up the stage to look inside boxes.  He could have asked many questions

  1. Why are you telling me this when you just refused to deny or confirm your set-top box roadmap?
  2. Why are you not using this already inside your million square feet warehouses so you do not need people walking miles to pick up products from shelves?
  3. Why is it relevant to a customer how you deliver the package as long as they get it on time?

But reporters these days are afraid of getting access cut. Happy they have the audience. Anxious to become what Mr. Walt Mossberg was to Mr. Steve Jobs to the next Jobs. So they suspend their disbelief and curiosity and let the magicians perform.

4 thoughts on “Magic is Willful Suspension of Curiosity

  1. I agree with Avinash that the Prime Air announcement was clever, but only because it kept the Amazon name front and center across popular news stations and the tech blogosphere throughout one of the busiest online shopping weekends of the year. Not only that, the story highlights faster package delivery and “forward” thinking, two themes Amazon would love to be tied to during the holiday shopping season. There are many, many holes in the drone delivery strategy, which this post makes clear. To me, Amazon pulled off a beautiful PR stunt with the timing of this announcement.

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  2. Coincidentally I watched the BBC Panorama program today, they covered the side of Amazon we don’t see normally: http://goo.gl/bgQYIx (For UK based people, or those with VPN!)

    It makes for uncomfortable watching, even if you discount the melodrama a bit. I wonder if the Prime Air was simply a massively clever way to distract attention from the documentary.

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