Tag Archives: Amazon.com

THE EVERYTHING STORE – JEFF BEZOS AND THE AGE OF AMAZON – Brad Stone


jeff_bezos_iconic_laugh

 the pic is titled “Jeff Bezos iconic laugh

 

A fascinating account  of visionary entrepreneur /business tycoon/tyrant Jeff Bezos  and the birth and rapid growth of Amazon over the last 17 years..

JB emerges as the manic visionary who practically invented on-line shopping.  His business mantras (known as Jeffisms by his acolytes) are: Frugality and Customer Satisfaction. Incidentally, he’s clearly  the Boss from Hell, I would hate to work for Amazon. Apparently the company is renowned for burnouts and rapid departures. Hardly surprising, given Amazon’s meteoric growth since 1995. Squads of talented, bright people have worked for JB and contributed to Amazon’s success.

I thought Amazon.com was just a book retailer but they’ve morphed from their original concept literally into an Everything Store : clothing/ tools /jewellery/baby supplies/ DVDs – you name it, riding roughshod over competitors en route.  Because of their mega sized operation they can play the long game, waging a war of attrition with ever decreasing prices until their smaller competitors roll over and die or sell out to the giant. JBs vision led his company into development of the Kindle, space travel , the smartphone, and cloud storage for computer data. It’s worth following the Wikipedia link here to read more detail about amazon.com .  http://Jeff Bezos. http://amazon.com  

Bezos seemingly does not understand the meaning of words like boundaries and limits. Having taken Amazon so far, one wonders what he can possibly dream up next? Is there anything left to visualize?  Personally, I wish he’d turn his laser-gaze on to a cure for the common cold.  He’d certainly make another gazillion dollars if he did.  Apparently JB is not motivated by money or a flashy lifestyle – Brad Stone shows a man who values his family’s privacy and lives a relatively modest life.  Stone’s engrossing  book is  crammed with facts, figures, history, fascinating anecdotes. That’s why I chose the photo above, because apparently Bezos has an iconic laugh.

You don’t have to be an MBA student to read and appreciate the book – I certainly am not, but I  read every page with great interest and enjoyment. Highly recommended.

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ALPHABET SOUP


 

 A is for: Atlas, Almanacs, Amazon.com, Amanuensis, Automatic Writing, Aubergine ….

Atlases – those intriguing collections of maps. I have a fantasy about closing my eyes, opening a world atlas at random, waving a pencil over the page and blindly selecting a town, city, province, mountain range, river or sea and having the time, the strength and the means to travel there. Imagine that! The atlas is a relatively modern invention ( Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum orbis terrarum ;1570; Epitome of the Theatre of the World) is generally thought to be the first modern atlas). Prior to this date it was a case of hand-drawn charts, decorated with sportive mermaids and round-cheeked zephyrs blowing winds from the four compass points. And dire warnings in ominous Gothic lettering: here be dragons. Not to overlook the exciting X’s indicating the buried treasure. Harrison Ford, where are you?

 Almanacs – This word conjures up mental pictures of lanky farmers dressed in blue bib dungarees studying the book by the dim light of an oil-lamp, making notes with a pencil stub, deciding when to plant their crops. Alternatively I get another mental snapshot of a brown, tattered, exhausted almanac hanging from a piece of string on a nail, spending its last sad days in an outhouse. Do almanacs still exist, I wonder?

Amazon.com – oh electronic trove of wonders; global purveyor of books; warehouses crammed with millions of volumes; saboteur of good intentions & New Year’s resolves; assassin of credit cards. Bookish field of dreams.

 Amanuensis – clerk or secretary who writes from dictation. One of the earliest and most hard working must have been Robert Shiel (d 27 Dec 1753), amanuensis to Samuel Johnson, compiler of the Dictionary of the English Language. Do clerks still exist ? Ditto secretaries, taking dictation. “Take a letter, Miss Jones” and we’re back in the 1950’s. Voice recognition software has probably sounded the death knell of the amanuensis. However, I have seen National Geographic pics of pavement scribes in Asia, writing letters for customers, paper pad perched on their knees, or pounding old manual typewriters. That’s Asia for you: its either changing supersonically fast or petrified in the amber of bygone centuries.

 Automatic Writing – strictly speaking this belongs in the heady realm of psychic fairs, with obscure messages filtering down from the opaque beyond. However, in a more modern context, I’m tempted to say that some very well-known writers would appear to switch into automatic mode when they churn out novel after novel, especially in the Young Adult category. Work it out for yourself. I don’t want to get sued for libel!

 Aubergine – How come this has so many aliases? Eggplant and brinjal, being two of them, the Guinea Squash being another. Perhaps it needs to disguise the fact that it belongs to the sinister nightshade family. On the other hand, it is also related to the potato, a reassuringly comforting vegetable. The aubergine is commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking, and features in a Turkish dish known as Imam Bayeldi which translates wonderfully as ‘ the Imam who fainted’; whether because of the exquisite flavour of the dish is unclear. It seems unlikely, since the ingredients (other than the eggplant) are hardly startling: onion, green pepper, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and water. Insofaras fainting diners are concerned, one would be tempted to blame the deadly nightshade itself rather than the pretty purple aubergine.

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