My friend Tracy (interviewed on Tim Ferriss's podcast) recommended The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone, so I wanted to check it out. I've enjoyed learning the stories behind the founding and ups and downs of different big companies, and as a long-time fan of Amazon, it was very interesting to get a sneak peek into how the company started and what myths about it are true and false.
I was shocked to learn that Jeff came from a quantitative finance background and how far he bootstrapped the company on his own. That was really impressive.
I also found it interesting how ruthless and dedicated to low pricing the company has been and how it did not shy away from any mercenary tactics to get the terms it wanted. For example, it heavily squeezed vendors and frequently pulled their products from the store until they came back begging to negotiate. This can be seen as manipulative, but it can also be seen as dedicated to providing the lowest possible price to customers.
My biggest question is why treatment of employees doesn't get bigger focus there. I understand the core value of frugality of appreciating and being able to survive in harsh conditions, but I think retaining the best talent will be important for the company's success, and I wonder how they will keep managing to do that.