From the Archive
Uber and the Invasion of the Taxi Snatchers
There’s a battle for the future of transportation being waged outside our offices and homes. Uber and a growing collection of well-funded startups, such as the ride-sharing service Lyft, are trying to make getting a taxi as easy as booking a reservation on OpenTable or checking a price on Amazon.com —just another thing you do with your smartphone. Flush with Silicon Valley venture capital, these companies have an even grander ambition: They want to make owning a car completely unnecessary. They’re battling each other, city regulators, entrenched taxi interests, and critics who claim they are succeeding only because they run roughshod over laws meant to protect public safety. My latest Bloomberg Businessweek cover story is posted here.
Facebook Turns 10: the Mark Zuckerberg Interview
Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t usually observe sentimental anniversaries. This year he’s confronted by three of them. On Feb. 4, Facebook, the company he co-founded in a Harvard University dorm, turns 10 years old. The prodigy himself turns 30 in May. It’s also been a decade since his first date with Priscilla Chan, now his wife, whom he first met in line for the bathroom at a Harvard fraternity party. Read my Bloomberg Businessweek cover story here.
The Bitcoin Mining Arms Race Heats Up
Devotees watch the fluctuations of Bitcoin’s price with a fanaticism typically reserved for college football scores. Alternative currency startups are being lavishly funded by venture capitalists while visionaries gush about the world-changing possibilities of money free from government control. My cover story with Ashlee Vance in a January issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.
Questions for Book Clubs About The Everything Store
I recently heard from a reader who was organizing a book club discussion of The Everything Store. "I couldn't find any great resources, so I thought I'd take a chance and email you and see if you, as the author, have any suggestions," she asked.
After thinking about it a bit, I offered these 10 questions for discussion. (A lot of these are questions I've been hearing as I talk about the book...)
1. (A fun exercise to start off:) Go to your account history on Amazon and share: what was the first product you bought on the site, and when did you buy it?
2. What is the central element that distinguished Amazon from other internet companies that started in the mid-90s, but that either failed or were overtaken?
3. What are the leadership qualities of Jeff Bezos, as presented in the book, that you most admire? What are the qualities you disdain in a boss?
4. A key moment in the history of Amazon was Bezos's decision to build the first Kindle e-reader. What were the risks - and why did it succeed?
5. Would your company be capable of making moves such as the decision to build the Kindle, and to start Amazon Web Services, its pioneering cloud business?
6. Amazon battled and ultimately acquired Zappos and Diapers.com - two threatening challengers that were also selling commodity products at low prices with excellent customer service. What did you make of Amazon's tactics, as presented in the book - and the wisdom of the Zappos and Diapers' entrepreneurs in challenging Amazon in this way?
7. Did you find the story of Ted Jorgensen, Jeff Bezos's biological father, relevant in a business book and a biography of Amazon?
8. Is Amazon a missionary or mercenary company?
9. Are you more or less likely to shop at Amazon after reading the book?
10. Considering Amazon is growing rapidly and launching new services almost every month - like AmazonFresh, its grocery delivery business - where do you think Amazon will be in 10 years?
Blogging The Everything Store: Amazon is Santa Claus
At mighty Amazon, the omniscient computer program that practically runs the company’s supply chain is known internally as the Mechanical Sensei. The program tracks all the items and orders coursing through Amazon’s systems. It makes millions of small decisions, such as how much of a particular product Amazon should buy, and—given the geographic dynamic of demand for that particular —where in its massive network of fulfillment centers to store it. Read the full post on Businessweek.com.
The Everything Store Wins ‘Business Book of the Year’
I'm delighted to report that The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon has won Business Book of the Year, awarded annually by the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs. Here's the FT's story about the evening, and some embarrassing photos of the ceremony which was hosted by Lionel Barner, FT editor, Lloyd Blankfein, the chief of Goldman Sachs .
The Everything Store, Italian Edition
The Everything Store is being translated into over a dozen languages. Today I received copies from the Italian publisher, Hoepli. According to Google, "Vendere tutto" translates into "Sell Out."
I hope that is not quite right...
Responding to MacKenzie Bezos’s One-Star Slapdown of The Everything Store
No author likes to read a negative book review. It's particularly discomfiting when the review comes from the spouse of your primary subject, who happens to have a way with words herself.
That was my predicament yesterday, as Jeff Bezos's wife, MacKenzie, awarded my book a measly one star in Amazon's own review system. Today, I penned a response on Businessweek.com. I also commented for CNN, the New York Times and TechCrunch, among other outlets.
More Great Coverage
The Financial Times reviews "The Everything Store." Sample: "Brad Stone, a technology journalist who first covered Amazon in 2000, has done a remarkable job in The Everything Store, in a way that (Jeff) Bezos would appreciate – by working very hard."
Here's a fun conversation with Len Edgerly of the Kindle Chronicles podcast. I always enjoy Len's insightful show.
And a week from Sunday, the Everything Store appears at #6 on the New York Times e-books bestseller list, and #16 on the combined ebook/hardcover list. I am very psyched!