Bloomberg Businessweek has published extensive excerpts from writer Brad Stone's upcoming book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. The 10-page article covers a smorgasbord of topics, ranging from the beginnings of Amazon to Bezos' biological father, who was apparently unaware his son founded the multibillion-dollar company. It also details some of the inner workings of Amazon, including Bezos' leadership group, which is reportedly known as "the S Team."
"Bezos abhors what he calls "social cohesion."
Stone quotes retail head Jeffrey Wilke describing Amazon as a "company built around [Bezos'] brain ... it's scaffolding to magnify the thinking embodied by Jeff." The author doesn't paint the company as a cohesive place, however, noting that "the people who do well at Amazon are often those who thrive in an adversarial atmosphere with almost constant friction." He adds that "Bezos abhors what he calls 'social cohesion,' the natural impulse to seek consensus," pointing to Amazon's published leadership principles as breeding conflict, and highlighting one of those rules:
Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
Stone paints Bezos as a tempestuous figure
Stone paints Bezos as a tempestuous figure, highlighting a number of conflict-ridden replies to everyday working situations. "Do I need to go down and get the certificate that says I’m CEO of the company to get you to stop challenging me on this?" reads one quote attributed to Bezos, while another another claims that Bezos commented on an engineer's presentation by asking, "Why are you wasting my life?"
The full Bloomberg Businessweek article is a fascinating read, and the book looks set to have an explosive impact. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon will be published October 15th, and, of course, is available for pre-order on Amazon.