retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bill Murphy Jr. has an excellent column in Inc. in which he writes that Amazon’s recent decision to shut down is Amazon Restaurants food delivery service - which apparently failed to gain traction when competing against the likes of GrubHub and DoorDash - actually illustrates a key belief held by the company’s founder-CEO, Jeff Bezos:

“People who are right a lot listen a lot,” he says, “and they change their mind a lot … They wake up and reanalyze things and change their mind. If you don't change your mind frequently, you're going to be wrong a lot … The smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they'd already solved. They're open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.”

Murphy writes that “of course, it's one thing to say that in the abstract. It's another entirely to act on it -- especially when changing your mind could cost you money (sunk costs) or cause other people to think less of you.” Bezos actually does it - he is willing to re-examine the situation, especially in the light of new facts - without apparent concern for appearances.

Murphy also criticizes a Wall Street Journal piece about the Amazon decision that said it was a “rare logistical misstep by a company that is a dominant force in e-commerce and prides its delivery prowess. It also adds to a list of failed projects for the online behemoth that includes its Amazon Fire smartphone blunder, a travel site named Destinations and Amazon Local, an extinct online hub to find local deals.”

“I don’t think that’s right,” Murphy says.
KC's View:
I agree with Murphy 100 percent on this.

Tom Furphy makes this point often. Amazon always has had failures, all of which it has learned from … it is just that now, being bigger and far more visible, the failures end up being bigger and more visible.

Two relevant quotes from Jeff Bezos:

• “If you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.”

• “As the company grows, the size of the mistakes has to grow as well.”