The Rotary Club of 
Barre, Vermont
Chartered 1924
District 7850
PO Box 167
Barre, VT 05641
Granite Chips
The Giant Among Us
A Flurry of Marriage Anniversary Happy Dollars
With rituals completed, nine Rotarians sat down to a lunch of Greek salad, breads and cake. Tony was first up with up with a Happy Dollar in celebration of 33 years of marriage on Friday: Ted topped that with 49 next Friday; guest Fred Bashara went higher with 57 years and John chimed in with 26. Bruce’s phone rang and he took the call. When he finished, he announced an IOU for the automatic fine and the news that the results of a blood test showed that his kidneys are in good working order. Kristin announced that she was not going to be able to serve on the Joint Service Clubs Dinner Committee and Carol Dawes, in a recent email, indicated the same. She will ask Joe Preddy who has served for several years, but there is an opportunity to serve for another Rotarian. Email me at if you are interested.  Karl rose to add to the theme of the first part of the meeting; he gave a Happy Dollar in the anticipated celebration of his and Charlene’s 50th wedding anniversary on Friday.
The Growing Giant: What Businesses and Leaders Need to Know About Amazon

Acting President John introduced our guest speaker Jeremy Lesniak.
Jeremy is the founder and former CEO of Randolph-based Vermont Computing, now an employee-owned cooperative. Since 2013 he has operated Whistlekick, a company that manufactures martial arts equipment. Through that company's growth, he learned what it took to be successful selling on Amazon, even writing a book on the subject (Starting to Sell on Amazon) that is sold- you guessed it, on Amazon. In addition to his own venture, Jeremy consults with organizations of all sizes on marketing and general business concerns. When he's not working, he enjoys hiking, martial arts and travel.
He started his presentation with a summary of his remarks. In 2018, Amazon sales comprised over 50% of US e-commerce sales. But rather than campaign for a limit to their place in the market, as some have advocated for, we should see the opportunity and the shift this growth signifies. He went on to briefly chronicle the history of Amazon. Founded in 1994, an IPO in 1997. It started with books and then with CD’s. It showed a profit in Q4, 2001 of $5M on sales of $1 billion. In 2018, Amazon’s revenue was $238 billion, up 30% from 2017; up 30% from 2016. Its market cap is $878B, 3rd largest company behind Microsoft and Apple. Amazon ships to 100 countries, has official sites in over 12 countries, Russia being the most notable exception. It also has a third of market share of web services, more than double that of Microsoft with revenues of $30B per year. And, well known to all, home to Kindle. Competitors included Walmart, Google and EBay. Jeremy noted Amazon’s impact on the economy with the example of the USPS. It delivers on Sunday for Amazon; it delivers 40% of its US packages; and has a profitable arrangement with Amazon.
He cited the brilliance of Amazon with three examples: 1) Buying Whole Foods, sell the number one thing you can’t buy online—perishable foods; 2) Prime, faster delivery and by reducing the friction point of waiting for delivery, Amazon gets people to buy more “now;” and 3) Opening the platform for others to sell on—this is how Jeremy uses Amazon in his business.
He also listed several criticisms that have been leveled at Amazon including: having data on companies selling on their platform, thus allowing it to step into an industry; sheer size (650,000 employees world-wide and 250,000 in the U.S.); working conditions, such as no bathroom breaks for employees; touting a misleading-calculated average wage; suppressing competing products; and paying no taxes on $11B in profit in 2018.
What does the future hold for Amazon? They might develop their own delivery service or buy FedEx. Same day delivery is already available in large metropolitan areas and drones are a distinct possibility.
He concluded with how he uses Amazon. You take a new product, list it on the service, ship it to Amazon warehouses at a huge discount; they store, pack and ship when someone wants to buy it. They handle a lot of the customer service for
him; they do a full job for him and he said: “I literally couldn’t do what I do without them.” He noted that more than 50% of all Amazon sales are from other companies.
Jeremy answered questions throughout his talk and at the end and kept us keenly interested with illustrative stories and anecdotes. In appreciation, Rotarians gave him a warm round of applause. 
Since Last We Met
 “Since last we met” announced Bruce: Bob Pope celebrated a birthday; Ron and Mary Anne Parnignoni celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary; and Sarah White celebrated five years of club membership. A fine was proposed on Bob for not being present for his birthday and during the deliberations, he walked in late.  Don’t remember the defense, but I do remember that the fine passed.
Until next time, that’s all folks…
Club Information
We meet:
Wednesdays, 12:00 PM
The American Legion
320 North Main Street
Barre, VT  05641 USA
Aug 14, 2019
Annual Summer Bar-B-Q
Aug 28, 2019
Publicly Funded Primary Care in Vermont - Proposal
Sep 11, 2019
Rotary Year 2019-2020
Sep 25, 2019
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Robert Pope
August 6
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August 15
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August 7
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August 9
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August 14
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August 6, 2014
5 years
Ronald Parnigoni
August 26, 1970
49 years
John Steinman
August 29, 2018
1 year
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