21 November: On this day in 2016 Fiat reached an agreement to sell the “500” on Amazon

The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein left us a dictum which should be distilled generously: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent” . If by “speaking” we mean “explaining”, point-by-point, would anyone be able to explain what Amazon is today? Yesterday it sold books, today it’s a shopping basket overflowing with everything under the sun, from items of all descriptions, to leisure activities. As for tomorrow, who knows: perhaps we’ll see Bezos conquer the world, like the Risk board game player who accumulates the highest number of tokens. Best remain silent, as Wittgenstein suggests.

Yet we can try to define what Amazon is not: it is not a platform for buying or selling cars. The experiment  was attempted by FIAT six years ago; as for the ‘battle horse’, it could only be the model which is a world brand: the new 500. In actual fact, the selling formula was a hybrid, because you pre-ordered the model online (lured by a juicy discount), and completed the purchase at the dealer’s.

But what would happen if we were to search for it on Amazon now? The only car we might be able to add to our basket is a toy model like the one depicted above: an item which allows us to take our first footsteps as toddlers, just as the 500 allowed an entire country to get moving.

Name Day:
Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd