Up until Monday evening, Jeff Bezos’ motivations for acquiring the Washington Post for $250 million were largely unknown. The newspaper even ran an epic profile of its soon-to-be owner three weeks ago, yet Bezos declined to be interviewed.
Much like Bezos stated in his first memo to the Post’s employees, he plans to apply some of the tactics that has made Amazon such a force to his newspaper. He noted Amazon’s three big ideas from the company’s inception — put the customer first, invent, and be patient — and said he thinks that strategy can work for the Post when you replace “customer,” with “reader.”
Bezos also said he spent two months contemplating over the decision to purchase the Post, which is his first newspaper and will remain independent of Amazon. He just didn’t know if he could provide strong enough leadership in a relatively new space for the 49-year-old.
“I had to convince myself that I could bring something to the table,” he told the Post. “I discussed this at great length with [current Washington Post chairman Donald Graham]. I thought I could, because I could offer runway and some skill in technology and the Internet and a point of view about long-term thinking, reader focus and the willingness to experiment.”
He also touched on the current state of journalism on the Internet, noting the flaws in the business model. It definitely sounds as if Bezos, much like he did with Amazon, is willing to take some time with this $250 million investment in the Post and wants to let the newspaper’s employees experiment in a broken industry. He knows it will take days, months, and even years before someone figures out how to start making money again in the newspaper business. But time to invent and a safety net of money might be what’s needed — it sure worked for Amazon, right?
Read the Post’s story here, and be sure to check out some of our related coverage on this topic: