Random snippets of articles, books, magazines, and websites that were striking at the time I read them.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Inside the mind of Jeff Bezos

One of my friends sent me a link to the recent Fast Company article on Jeff Bezos. Extremely cool.

Here are a few of the excerpts that I found either funny or interesting:
''Amazon still hangs whiteboards in the elevators, as it did back in the skid-row days, when the barely postcollegiate employees were so overcaffeinated and hyperactive that they amused themselves by scribbling away between floors.''

Considering my own firm's obsession with white boards -- we've got a lot of them -- I found the idea of white boards in elevators a really cool idea! I've already reached the point that I find it difficult to explain concepts without a bit of chalk-talk, so I just love this idea.

''Bezos pursued his idea of a decentralized, disentangled company where small groups can innovate and test their visions independently of everyone else. He came up with the notion of the "two-pizza team": If you can't feed a team with two pizzas, it's too large. That limits a task force to five to seven people, depending on their appetites.''

I totally agree with the concept of small, agile teams.... although it's the first time I've heard it described as a "two-pizza team". Reminds me of Fred Brooks' classic essay, The Mythical Man-Month. That's always worth a re-read.

''Bezos loves making decisions based on hard data, but when that's not possible, he believes in the power of being "simpleminded," relying on common sense about what would be in the best interests of his customers.''

So true! Common sense really rules, and it's a lot less common that we think.

All in all, that was a meaty article that gave readers insight into the way Jeff Bezos thinks and works. Kudos to Alan Deutschman for a great read.


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