Tuesday, August 21, 2012
One Click : The Rise Of Amazon
I finished off this book yesterday (the ebook version), it was quite short but I enjoyed it. Jeff Bezos seems like an interesting guy. He went to a Montessori primary school which I've always thought sounded like a ideal way to teach. Will Wright, creator of Sim City, also attended a Montessori school. (Here's a Wikipedia page on Montessori)
Jeff Bezos' type of lifestyle, at least as it's presented in the book, doesn't appeal to me. It seems too much living to work rather than working to live but I enjoyed the insight. I think to do something world changing like make a company like Amazon - by definition - you can't be 'normal'. Normal people don't start companies, generally, they get a job, a house, married, have kids, watch a lot of TV and retire. One of Jeff Bezos' eccentricities in the book was to apply business methods, not just to his business but to his life - for example a decision flow chart for deciding who date!
Another part that stood out had a quote about hiring, which reminded me of Valve; each person you hire should be better than previous hires and raise the bar. After a few years people who've been working there will think "I'm glad I don't have to apply now - I wouldn't be able to get it!"
I also discovered that he, too, is interested in space exploration which is cool (along with the likes of Richard Gariott, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and probably others). Being a billionaire he set up a company called Blue Origin with the ultimate goal of extra terrestrial colonies. Neal Stephenson author of the System of the World Trilogy, Cryptonomicon (I think a must read if you're from Computer Science background, or a programmer) and fun cyperpunk novel Snow Crash (which was released in 1992 and really did a pretty good job of predicting the next 20 years, and beyond, I think) also worked a Blue Origin for a time. It's not mentioned in the One Click but I thought it was an interesting little fact. Maybe this was partly the inspiration for his recent talk about writing sci-fiction to inspire big engineering project like space colonies. Worth a watch if you've got the time:
If you want to find out more about the Amazon book here, appropriately enough, is the amazon link.