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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

An interesting milestone for Amazon and Jeff Bezos

Consumed => “Inside Amazon’s Idea Machine: How Bezos Decodes The Customer” by George Anders on Forbes.

=> My value add (i.e., left a comment)…

Great piece – both the bright side and the not so bright side. Some additional thoughts come to mind:

1) The empty chair idea is brilliant. I going to steal that and perhaps claim it to be my own.

2) Perhaps it’s just me but 500 KPIs seems excessive, if not counter-productive. Granted, I know I’m arguing with success. That being said, there is a difference between best practices (that work for many/most) and the occasional exception to the rules. 500 KPIs strikes me as being an exceptional exception. Certainly at such volume they can’t all have significance.

3) What I find fascinating (and frustrating) is the reality that is a case study in TMI. It consistently violates a number of design and useability “standards”. I also don’t enjoy that the music dept will too often suggestion of things I have already purchased.

4) In that context, I believe that Amazon actually has two customer personas – those who love it and those who don’t. As time goes on the site and the brand become more and more optimized for the lovers while the don’ts become more and more marginalized. This can’t go on forever. It’s also one of the truths the metrics hide. I’m not faulting Bezos’ growth by diversity strategy but the truth is, that’s what it is. That is, the marginalized need not be addressed.

5) Interesting that the employee culture is also based on two distinct buckets. Perhaps a pattern here, yes?

6) I would also propose that there is an alt-view of the the two pizza teams. It’s no one of thrift per se but of culture. There are many who believe that innovation is the fruit of scarcity. Small teams fed by two or less pizzas creates a sense of scarcity. Smallness not only allows them to move faster but it also inspires them to do so. Innovation is a process. It’s not something that can be pushed down via some decree from the top. Bezos’ two pizza rule is a means, not an ends.

7) This bit is brilliant: For Bezos a data-driven customer focus lets him take risks to innovate, secure in the belief that he’s doing the right thing. “We are comfortable planting seeds and waiting for them to grow into trees,” says Bezos. “We don’t focus on the optics of the next quarter; we focus on what is going to be good for customers. I think this aspect of our culture is rare.”

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