Amazon's vision? What vision?

Amazon.com chief executive Jeff Bezos is an impressive entrepreneur, given the success he achieved at Amazon. Skeptics had assumed Amazon would go belly up after the Internet bubble burst.

But Amazon’s stock price has drifted slowly downward since late 2003, while Amazon has invested in other technologies, which some say has neglected its core consumer business. Now Amazon is pushing to serve businesses with Mechanical Turk, and some are asking why. There’s an eye-opening interview with BusinessWeek’s Rob Hof, who asks chief executive Jeff Bezos to explain the unifying vision. Snippet:

Still, these are very different kinds of customers. Is there a uniting vision for all of this?

The uniting vision is that the philosophy is the same: customer-centricity, starting from the customer and working backwards, doing innovative things—the sort of cultural biases inside Amazon.

Hof doesn’t get an answer, because every decent company is focused on the consumer, and we all know that this is a business tenet, not a vision. So Hof tries again:

But is there a little more specific vision of where you want to go?

We’re trying to leverage an existing asset, skill, or competency—something we think we’re really good at. So while these businesses are different, they aid each other…

The interview goes on, and we never really find out. Bezos does mention a feature, but its not clear how it fits — and its one that could be sold off, or licensed to someone else.

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