The NFL Draft is tonight. But, the more important draft is still coming in the next few days, pick #199.
Below are a list of 12 names that were drafted in the same position as the most famous NFL player in the past 18 years. (I didn’t list them all because I figured it is too early to tell what the most recent picks might do in the future).
These players were drafted #199 in the NFL draft over the past since 2000s. Making it to the NFL draft is quite the accomplishment, but I highly doubt you have heard of any of these players. However, if I add one more name to the list, you will certainly recognize him, Tom Brady.
Brady was also #199 in the NFL draft.
When I think of Amazon, I am reminded of Tom Brady. Tom Brady is easily the most successful #199 draft pick in the history of the NFL, maybe even the best NFL player ever. One might say the same about Amazon. However, I want to make a point about the other #199 draft picks. None of them have even come remotely close to Tom Brady. Similarly, the business model employed by Amazon, one of scale economics in a brutally competitive field is very hard to make a success.
I read a lot of write-ups on companies where the authors emphasize the similarities to Amazon. “Their reinvestment or lack of near term profits is a commitment to the long-term value proposition of their business model.” That could be true. Or, the more likely explanation is the business model just doesn’t work.
In medicine, there is a phrase about diagnostics: “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras.”
In that same vein, when you see the #199 draft pick tomorrow, it’s much more likely that you will never hear that name again 20 years from now, instead of that pick turning into the next Tom Brady.
The “next Amazon” or the “next Apple” is way more likely to be the next pets.com.