Book Review - "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon" by Brad Stone
September 9, 2014
“The definitive story of Amazon.com, one of the most successful companies in the world, and of its driven, brilliant founder, Jeff Bezos.
Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail. But its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn't content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that's never been cracked. Until now. Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, giving readers the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. Compared to tech's other elite innovators--Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg--Bezos is a private man. But he stands out for his restless pursuit of new markets, leading Amazon into risky new ventures like the Kindle and cloud computing, and transforming retail in the same way Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing.
THE EVERYTHING STORE will be the revealing, definitive biography of the company that placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we shop and read.” Amazon.com
The Everything Store, written by Brad Stone, outlines the history of Amazon.com and even more the way, Jeff Bezos established its company as one of the leading forces of the internet. Written in an easy to understand language with a lot of real world business examples out of Amazon.com’s history, the book is a lively read till the end. Furthermore the book also takes into account quite recent developments till the years of 2013/2014. The history of the company as well as Jeff Bezos’ management style show casts how a company can conquer a whole industry using force and focus.
3 Key Learning
Start with the customer in mind first!
“Look, you should wake up worried, terrified every morning, but don’t be worried about our competitors because they’re never going to send us money anyway. Let’s be worried about our customers and stay heads-down focused.” Jeff Bezos
A “fresh” view on challenges as solution!
“Defects that are invisible to the knowledgeable may be obvious to newcomers.” Jeff Bezos
“The simplest solutions are the best!” Jeff Bezos
Above key learnings were essential to Amazon.com’s success across different types of business models as e-commerce or hardware sales (Kindle). During the process of establishing Amazon.com as the market leader as it is today, the company, and hence Jeff Bezos, emphasized on the customer and easiness to use its products. Those characteristics were implemented in Amazon.com’s web shop, its Kindle devices or for instance its processes.
Besides this focus on the customer, Amazon.com also used its brutal market power to derail competitors or complete industries. Nevertheless those actions also had the customer as guiding principle as each initiative at the end resulted in lower prices for end consumers.
The future question will be in how far Amazon.com, as big as it is nowadays, can build upon those strengths and customer focus taking into account that its suppliers, authors, are getting more and more nervous on where Amazon.com is going with its pricing strategies. Another question will be which categories are up next for Amazon.com, considering that book & videos are already “streamlined” and customer optimized.
A very interesting read to not only understand e-commerce and Amazon.com but also to get insights into strategies and methods used to gain market leadership.