Would you join Amazon’s internal CIA? Must be adept at doubletalk and bullshit

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Amazon recently posted a job description for an “Intelligence Analyst.” It came under fire because the description explicitly calls for tracking “threats” of labor organizing, which is generally illegal. But it’s also a fascinating snapshot into how leaders at Amazon talk (or doubletalk). The listing, which was visible yesterday, is no longer live at Amazon, … Continued

Write more. Meet less. Reflections on the memo culture.

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Zoom is great. Meeting on Zoom for 5 hours a day, not so much. Writing can help — especially if your company adopts a writing-centric “memo culture.” The value of a memo culture Consider two companies that have a memo culture, Amazon and Netflix. At Amazon, if you’re having a meeting, you have to write … Continued

How to write like a badass: Jeff Bezos defies Pecker blackmail

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Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post, received emails threatening blackmail from the parent company of the National Enquirer. Rather than knuckle under, he defiantly published the blackmail emails in his own post. If you want to write with conviction while under pressure, there’s a lot to learn here. Bezos’s post … Continued

Analyzing Sen. Warner’s 20 ideas to regulate the internet giants

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Senator Mark R. Warner’s office wrote a paper with 20 legislative ideas on how to restrain the excesses, abuses, and ill effects of internet giants like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Apple; Axios got a copy and published it. With problems from fake news to data sharing and bullying, these platforms certainly deserve scrutiny. Of course, … Continued

Boycott frenzy, “discrimination,” and the tyranny of efficiency

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In the wake of the school shooting in Florida and NRA president Wayne LaPierre’s statement that the right to bear arms is “granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright,” a slew of companies from Delta Airlines and Hertz to MetLife have ended discount programs with the NRA. Now people are calling for … Continued

Analyst Gene Munster says Amazon will buy Target. Is he right?

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On New Year’s Day, Gene Munster, former Piper Jaffray analyst and currently a venture capitalist at Loup Ventures, predicted that Amazon will buy Target. This prediction got picked coverage in hundreds of publications yesterday. Let’s look at why analyst types make predictions like this, how accurate those predictions are, and what they do for the … Continued

Empty calories in the Whole Foods letter about becoming part of Amazon

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Whole Foods has loyal, upscale customers who might be nervous about its acquisition by Amazon, so the company sent people a reassuring letter by email. It’s one of the most vacuous communications I’ve ever read. Now that Amazon is buying Whole Foods, will the retailer focus on online buyers? Will it expand its selection, including … Continued