Why I am Anti-Amazon
If you know me, then you know I love to shop and I also like a good deal. I think Amazon is great at what they do, in terms of changing the shopping culture and how they have been instrumental in shifting consumer behavior by growing the online sales channel. I think Jeff Bezos (Amazon Founder) has created a machine of efficiency. Consumers have been trained to look for a package on their doorstep. Adults are like little children on Christmas as they wait for their packages to arrive. Kudos to the Amazon folks! To their credit, they do a great job delivering packages in a timely manner and creating new products and services for customers and adding shareholder value as their stock hovers around $385 USD.
Here is where my praise for Amazon ends. I recently read an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, “Secret Amazon, An Explosive New Account Will Change Everything You Know About Jeff Bezos.” They were correct. It did change my perception of Jeff Bezos. I use to revere him as innovative and for his work ethic in growing Amazon into the behemoth that Amazon has become. After reading this article, I gleamed some information about Mr. Bezos that I do not think is appropriate for a CEO of his stature to embody. Don’t get me wrong, I think Bezos is incredibly intelligent and has a good business sense, but I do not agree with his management style.
Apparently Bezos berates his employees when something is not done according to his expectation. I expected someone like Bezos to have tact and to exemplify leadership by letting his employees know that he is upset, however working through the problem for a better a solution. As a matter of fact Bezos reportedly encourages challenging decisions among his employees that could become confrontational. In addition, he creates fear among competitors by threatening to use “thermonuclear” tactics, if they do not conform or sell to Amazon. I was very upset at the reports about how Bezos literally scared the owners of Quidsi (owners of diapers.com) into selling to Amazon. Bezos literally drove the price so low on Amazon that Quidsi had no choice but to sell to either Walmart or Amazon.
The employee retention is horrible. You won’t find Amazon on Fortune’s Best Places to Work. Their reported median employee tenure is just 1 year. Here are some of the comments that Bezos reportedly used on his employees:
- “Are you lazy or just incompetent?”
- “I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”
- “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?”
- “Are you trying to take credit for something you had nothing to do with?”
- “If I hear that idea again, I’m going to have to kill myself”
Does this sound like someone you would like to work for? They say that Bezos has the same traits like those before him, but I do not condone their behavior either.
I cannot support someone whose behavior is erratic and negative towards his employees. This will not bother people as Amazon’s talent base grows every year. It does beg the question as to whether Amazon is hiring the right people or is their culture so toxic that it does not matter.
Lastly, I mentioned that I like a good deal, but I have not been impressed by Amazon’s prices lately. I’ve noticed a $1-4 difference on the last several products that I had intended to buy. If your recent experience has been different, I’d like to hear your stories.