2004-08-04

It's All About The Customer

Fast Company, Inside the Mind of Jeff Bezos:
"And 'sometimes we measure things and see that in the short term they actually hurt sales, and we do it anyway,' he says, because Amazon managers don't think the short term is a good predictor of the long term. For example, they found that their biggest customers had such large collections of stuff -- especially CDs -- that they accidentally ordered items they had already bought from Amazon years ago. So they decided to give people a warning whenever this was about to happen. Sure enough, the warnings slightly reduced Amazon's sales. But it's hard to study the feature's long-term effects. Would it reduce sales over a 10-year period? They didn't think so. They thought it would make customers happy and probably increase sales. 'You have to use your judgment,' Bezos says. 'In cases like that, we say, 'Let's be simpleminded. We know this is a feature that's good for customers. Let's do it.'' "