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daily 11/04/2013

    • Indeed, Amazon failed at many things it tried, from auctions to venture capital, and at the time of the Barron’s story its internal financial analysis showed that at its rate of spending, the company wouldn’t be profitable for decades.
    • Bezos, who had been on a relentless quest for growth, was able to do what most of us could never do: rewire Amazon and his own brain to begin a drive for efficiency that ultimately crushed the nonbelievers.
    • There’s a quote that made its way around the company: “If you’re not good, Jeff will chew you up and spit you out. And if you are good, he will jump on your back and ride you into the ground.”
    • In a smaller example, Bezos has also done what would be unthinkable in most companies: He has banished PowerPoint presentations because, an acolyte explains, “it is fantastically easy to hide between bullet points.”
    • It’s hard to accuse “The Everything Store” of being overly simplistic, perhaps because Bezos defies easy description. While he had an ordinary childhood with his mother and stepfather, his real father was a onetime circus performer whom his mother told to stay out of their lives when Bezos was just 4. (Stone tracked down the lost father and discovered that the man had no idea who his son had become.)
    • After graduating from Princeton in 1986, he found his way to the computer-driven hedge fund D.E. Shaw. He walked away before bonus time to found Amazon, helped by what he calls his “regret-minimization framework.” What will be unimportant when you’re 80? And what will you regret?
    • Stone quotes an observer as saying that Amazon executives “have an absolute willingness to torch the landscape around them to emerge the winner.”
    • Of course, most mercenaries think they are missionaries. (Just ask former Enron chief executive Jeff Skilling.)
    • Not incidentally, Bezos made an entirely separate fortune as one of the first investors in Google, which would eventually become one of Amazon’s frenemies.
    • The process of getting all of us everything we order, on time, is a fiendishly complex one, and Amazon’s internal systems were worse than anyone ever suspected.
    • The entire distribution system got jammed up by a missing pallet of Pokemon Jigglypuffs, which was finally found at 2 a.m.
    • When you’re off the team, you become a curious memory. Oh hey, it’s that Loaf guy. I remember him. I remember I saw Jimmy at the school bar one night and we genuinely got along for a bit. Whatever real enmity had been between us was lost. We didn’t HAVE to like each other anymore, which helped.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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