One of the more interesting parts of Brad Stone’s new book about Amazon is a previously unpublished memo from Jeff Bezos to his senior staff, titled “Amazon.love.”
In the memo, the Amazon CEO tried to deconstruct why some companies are loved by their customers, and others aren’t, as a way of figuring out how Amazon can make sure it’s loved by its own customers.
“Some big companies develop ardent fan bases, are widely loved by their customers, and are even perceived as cool,” he wrote.
Examples of companies that category, in Bezos’ assessment, were Apple, Nike, Disney, Google, Whole Foods and UPS.
Examples of companies not well-liked by their customers, as Bezos viewed it, included Walmart, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil.
He went on to list a series of attributes that led to companies being loved, concluding that it was important to be polite, reliable, risk-taking and customer-obsessed, but also to be perceived as inventive — an “explorer not a conquerer,” as Stone summarized it.
Bezos wrote, “I actually believe the four ‘unloved’ companies are inventive as a matter of substance. But they are not perceived as inventors and pioneers. It is not enough to be inventive — that pioneering spirit must also come across and be perceivable by the customer base.”
The memo is part of a theme that emerges from the book in which Amazon and Bezos obsess about the customer, at times to the detriment of its employees, shareholders and business partners. I talked about that topic and more with Stone in this interview about the book.