What’s Amazon’s Secret?
The myth aside from reality has been taken as a new urgency both inside and outside the company in assessing Amazon’s methods, as it envisions a future without Mr. Bezos. They announced this month He will step down as chief executive this summer. So it is timely that two former Amazon executives, Colin Bryar and Bill Carr, have promised to pull back the curtain from their new book “Working Backward: Insights, Stories and Secrets Inside Amazon”.
The authors state that they interviewed “many Amazonian people both past and present” and, based on the shining cover, present management had at least a silent consensus. This “working backward” is much closer to an authorized corporate profile than an all-around one, though not necessarily detached from his interest. Mr. Briar and Mr. Carr each played key roles in the company during key periods: one for Mr. Bezos as head of a kind when Kindle and Amazon Web Services were off the ground, and the other started and ran Prime Video. Their portrait of Amazon’s culture and processes is fascinating and revealing, though not always in the way that they intended.
First, the authors aim to reveal the operating philosophy responsible for Amazon’s monumental achievements. Rather than offering a sluggish list of the company’s 14 leadership principles and three implementation mechanisms, Mr. Bryar and Mr. Carr have given concrete and accessible examples across a range of functions, from work and communication to organizational and product. Design. Mr. Bezos was clearly not joking when, in his first shareholder letter, he said that at Amazon, employees are not free to choose “to work long, hard, or smart.” (It has to be all three.)
“Working backwards” The company’s tedious focus on customer satisfaction. However, many of the individual business practices described are not fundamentally original. While these have often acquired attractive Amazon-specific labels, many differ only on the well-known six Sigma Processes and management principles, or practices developed by other companies such as Toyota or Microsoft. For example, as the authors put it:
When Amazon’s teams come across a surprising or surprising problem with the data, they are relentless until they discover the root cause. Perhaps the most widely used technology at Amazon is the process of improvement (COE) process, which is based on the ‘Five Whis’ method developed at Toyota and used by many companies worldwide. When you see a discrepancy, ask why it happened and another ‘why?’ Until you get to the underlying factor that was the actual culprit.
There is nothing wrong with adopting a portfolio of existing best practices, supplementing them with something of your own, and then stepping on gas. But the author repeatedly claims that these meet both individually and collectively as a “huge competitive advantage”. The definition of competitive advantage is something that your competitors cannot easily copy. If, the authors claim, Amazon’s secret sauce is merely a collection of “pulsating operating practices”, they may not constitute a competitive advantage.