My Review: The Everything Store by Brad Stone

Talk a lot of shit and don’t answer any questions—my loose interpretation of the Jeff Bezos go-to market strategy that won Amazon so much market share. Has there ever been an extraordinary leader who fundamentally changed how people work, live and communicate who has not been a total sociopath?

This book (which I consumed paperback despite the fact that I own a Kindle—how annoyed Bezos must be that a hard copy of his biography exists at all) is the definitive explanation of why founding a startup sucks—and not because of the Amazon story, but because of the story of how Amazon gobbled up, coerced, intimidated and bullied smaller companies once it grew larger. 

Less poignant than Isaacson’s Steve Jobs for obvious reasons, nevertheless this a book about the Bezos personality cult (with consumable bits of business model and tech systems thrown in here and there). As one former Amazon executive is quoted by Stone as saying—“I really [have] to wonder if that (sometimes harsh) intensity isn’t an essential element when so much of what you want to do requires boldness, immediacy, ruthless prioritization, and risk.” It’s almost like a person with the average amount of empathy for others and respect for societal rules just doesn’t have what it takes to pull off what Bezos, Jobs, Gates, Musk, Brin, Page, Hastings etc. did and do. 

Bezos almost single-handedly moved the publishing industry into the future by being bully enough to publishers and authors to get them to do things differently, and by creating a frugal enough company that could provide cheap enough solutions to customers to get them to buy something different.

Many successful entrepreneurs build an ecosystem around their hobbies—I loved Stone’s analogy of Bezos’ passion for books turning into Amazon as Jobs’ passion for music turned into Apple. I feel like we’re waiting for the Bezos/Jobs of fitness, travel and outdoor sport—an industry I feel needs some disruption.

Amazon is about:
• “Being perceived as inventive, as an explorer rather than a conqueror”
• Having backbone—disagree and commit (I love this concept!)
• Big ideas
• Customer centricity
• Invention
• Frugality

You can firsthand see that Amazon is still as cheap as ever because its current site UI is so bad! As the premier eCommerce site that set the standard for what the eCommerce experience is like, they certainly haven’t upgraded or updated to compete with the UI of their copycats.

My favourite quote from the book:

“Complaining is not a strategy.”

Well, fuck.