A bit of intensity doesn’t go amiss, does it?

A bit of intensity doesn’t go amiss, does it?

Amazon LogoIf you follow the publishing industry then you can’t take a look at twitter or other online news source most days without picking up some level of Amazon bashing. After all, they’re an industry ruining, tax evading, nasty business that no-one wants or cares about. Except, that is, the gazillions of consumers that make the choice to shop there each day in every worldwide market they operate.

I make sure our business focuses on how we can best use Amazon as a vehicle to find more customers and generate more revenue. As others have said, and I agree, hating Amazon is not a strategy.

With that off my chest, I caught this Guardian article in relation to Jeff Bezos purchasing the Washington Post. In particular, I was interested in a quote about the Amazon culture. I think the quote pre-dates the article by some time, but nonetheless it is:

“Our culture is ‘friendly and intense’, but if push comes to shove we’ll settle for ‘intense’.”

The guardian article follows this with what seems to be a positive reflection…

“His business philosophy borrows from the Japanese kaizen concept of seeking continual improvement, credited with helping build great success at Toyota for many years.”

…before continuing to reference articles, commentators and former staff that have suggested that Amazon is not the nicest place to work.

I can’t comment about Amazon as a place of work, but this quote about intensity has stuck with me. I suspect that many (not just in publishing) will have read this and been thankful that they don’t work for a company that describes itself as intense.

The thing is, I think this is quite important and I like this idea of intensity. In many ways I hope that our business might be described as friendly and intense. I want us to be fast, focused, commercial, strong and confident – all of which sits quite well under intense.

Given all of the change in the industry I suspect that it is the publishers that don’t mind, indeed that demand, a level of intensity that stand the best chance of survival. It’s this, and not in fact a list of unfair business practices, that is the kind of thing that makes Amazon the force that it is. We should consider this and learn from it, rather than hating them for it.