Amazon’s secrets of customer-centricity

It’s the inside story that holds some lessons… that insidious thing called culture.  We’ve blogged quite a bit about the myths and realities of culture.  It is one of the least understood aspects of companies… and also one of the most abused by management. As Bill put it many months ago,

Culture is not a product of what management says, it is the result of what management does.

Peter Abilla at the Shmula blog worked at Amazon for several years, and has a section where ex-Amazonians (?) can post stories about their experiences.  Almost all are favorable.  But what comes through loud and clear is the devotion and understanding by everyone to the core values:

  • Customer Obsession: We start with the customer and work backwards.

  • Innovation: If you don’t listen to your customers you will fail. But if you only listen to your customers you will also fail.

  • Bias for Action: We live in a time of unheralded revolution and insurmountable opportunity–provided we make every minute count.

  • Ownership: Ownership matters when you’re building a great company. Owners think long-term, plead passionately for their projects and ideas, and are empowered to respectfully challenge decisions.

  • High Hiring Bar: When making a hiring decision we ask ourselves: “Will I admire this person? Will I learn from this person? Is this person a superstar?"

  • Frugality: We spend money on things that really matter and believe that frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention!

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