“The Everything Store” Summary/Review

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The Everything Store by Brad Stone

Bezos’s Determination

Brad Stone starts his novel The Everything Store with an introduction to Jeff Bezos’s life, providing insights about Bezos from his childhood.  Bezos is described as an analytical student, admired by his teachers and family members.  Bezos begins his career at the hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co, where he was a distinguished employee.  Throughout his transition to different companies and industries, Bezos looked for an opportunity to start his own company.

Before Bezos started Amazon, he researched previous leaders and entrepreneurs for inspiration.  He took every possibility to learn something new, so his knowledge ranges from relationships to different business techniques.  Bezos reflects his willingness to learn and strive for more in Amazon’s business model.

With Bezos’s focus on longevity, he focuses on future profits and long-term goals rather than temporary shortcomings.  Bezos shows his determination and confidence in his own vision even when Amazon began as a startup.  Even when Amazon has a few setbacks, he encourages his employees to remain positive and to keep the bigger picture in mind.

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Jeff Bezos!

Amazon’s Business Model

Amazon is especially famous for its emphasis on the customers and their satisfaction on the company’s products.  Bezos’s goal for Amazon was to make it the largest bookstore, which we now know expanded to a bigger goal of being the largest store.  Another aspect of Amazon’s business model is their vision for longevity.  Bezos strives for a company that is long-term oriented and extremely innovative.  Bezos’s dream of expansion and focus on the customer allows more products and services at their online storefront.

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It is about the customer’s experience – always!

When Bezos saw the potential for technology and e-commerce, he wanted to excel beyond the traditional stores and shopping centers.  Using the advantage of e-commerce, Bezos believed that sellers could understand their buyers in an individualized way.  In comparison to previous shopping experiences, Amazon gives the customer a myriad of options and a place to leave their opinions.  With different features including the customizable recommended section, customers may be convinced to purchase products or services they did not previously need.  By using data to track a customer’s needs and desires, Amazon is able to create a personalized shopping experience for each of its customers.  These features promote Amazon’s business, while giving the customer the freedom to explore the different products.

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Breakdown of Amazon’s business model

Amazon as a Workplace

Although Amazon is a huge firm known for its technological advances, the company treats its employees differently than other tech firms.  Bezos believes in frugality for his employees and focuses the company’s resources primarily on customer satisfaction.  In contrast to other tech companies including Google, Amazon does not reflect their fun work environment.  Instead of receiving free snacks and relaxing jungle gyms, Amazon’s employees have a more rigorous and hardworking company setting.

Bezos also has superior requirements for his employees in order to promote analytical thinking.  Rather than presenting PowerPoints at company meetings, Bezos needs employees to provide written documents of their business proposals.  This helps the employees envision how a customer may view a product for the first time.

Teams within corporate Amazon are generally smaller to allow for greater productivity.  Bezos encourages these teams to compete with one another to solve some of Amazon’s greatest issues.  He often tracks each team’s evolution and their “fitness” over time to push them to their fullest potential.  The competitive nature of this company gives employees the incentive to work harder and get better with each project in order to tackle the company’s difficult problems.

My Review

I would definitely recommend The Everything Store by Brad Stone to those who are interested in business or technology.  The novel is easy to understand, and Stone provides insightful details about Bezos and Amazon’s influence on the world today.  This book gave me a new perspective on Bezos’s role in promoting innovation and expansion within his company.

The details about Amazon’s workplace were the most surprising to me, since I imagined that Amazon would follow the typical innovative tech work-space.  Bezos’s emphasis on less communication and more team competition is completely different from other tech companies that foster a startup environment.  This shows that there are so many ways to run a tech company, and there are no set rules to success.

3 thoughts on ““The Everything Store” Summary/Review

  1. Thanks for the summary! I am especially interested in your comment about how Amazon’s work environment was less “fun” than other tech companies like Google. The book I chose to read this summer was about Google, and I would like to read about Amazon in The Everything Store to note the differences between the two.

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  2. Great summary! I read this last semester for my book summary and loved it. Like you, I found it very surprising that Bezos deviated from the stereotypical tech startup mold in stressing productivity and competition — but it seems to be working well! I remember one quote from the book saying that Amazon’s DNA, the reason it existed, was to get stuff done, and that was the top priority. Bezos certainly uses a different management style than most companies we’ll visit!

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