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Working Backwards: A Look at Amazon's Client First Approach

"Working Backwards: Insights, Stories and Secrets from Inside Amazon" gives an insider look at Amazon's culture and processes

|Feb 9|magazine4 min read

Given the capacity issues and growth challenges companies are facing, Amazon’s book launch seems perfectly timed. “Working Backwards: Insights, Stories and Secrets from Inside Amazon,” (St. Martin’s Press) written by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr acts as a how-to-guide with Coline Bryar and Bill Carr, both long-term veterans at Amazon share their vantage point and enthusiasm for Amazon.

From the 600 employees Amazon employed in 1997, the year the company first went public, it soon looks to be reaching 1 million. Not bad growth. Amazon’s continued success was further reflected in their total operating income of $6.9 billion in Q4 2020, up from the $3.9 billion it hit in Q4 of 2019.

The book’s title, “Working Backwards” is in reference to the companies practice of taking and objectives first approach to designed business models, starting with the desired customer experience and working backwards to figure out how you get there.

Although some of Amazon’s philosophies are standard business practices, its company culture and bias for action are their differentiators. However, there are a few practices that stand Amazon apart from the rest. For example, as they believe long narratives force more focused, sharp thinking, instead of standard slide presentations with graphs and short snippets of information, Amazon requires six-page reporting.

Rather than focusing on yearly targets, Amazon rewards long-term success through pay and bonuses. There is no denying Amazon’s success, something Jeff Bezos attributes, at least in part, to their company culture focused on lean six sigma mindset of defect reduction and execution. If you’re looking to check out just what else the company is doing right, it may be worth a read.

To check out an excerpt from the book click here

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