Jeff Bezos: Innovation, Experiments and Long Term Thinking

Posted on September 4, 2013  Comments (2)

Jeff Bezos, bought the Washington Post. He has long showed a willingness to take a long term view at Amazon. He is taking that same thinking to the Washington Post:

In my experience, the way invention, innovation and change happen is [through] team effort. There’s no lone genius who figures it all out and sends down the magic formula. You study, you debate, you brainstorm and the answers start to emerge. It takes time. Nothing happens quickly in this mode. You develop theories and hypotheses, but you don’t know if readers will respond. You do as many experiments as rapidly as possible. ‘Quickly’ in my mind would be years.”

The newspaper business is certainly a tough one today – one that doesn’t seem to have a business model that is working well (for large, national papers). I figured the answer might be that a few (of the caliber of Washington Post, New York Times…) would be owed by foundations and supported largely by a few wealthy people that believed in the value of a strong free press and journalism. Maybe Bezos will find a business model that works. Or maybe he will just run it essentially as a foundation without needing a market return on his investment.

The Guardian (where the article with the quote was published) is an example of good journalism by a foundation. ProPublica is another (though I guess it is really a non-profit but most of the funding seems to be via foundations).

Related: Jeff Bezos and Root Cause Analysis (2009)Amazon Innovation (2006)Jeff Bezos on Lean Thinking (2005)Jeff Bezos Spends a Week Working in Amazon’s Kentucky Distribution Center (2009)

2 Responses to “Jeff Bezos: Innovation, Experiments and Long Term Thinking”

  1. MindEdge Monthly: Top Quality Blogs… September 2013 « Quality At Work
    September 9th, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

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  2. Steven
    October 1st, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    Some very good observations here. Newspapers are a tough sell these days. I have always wanted to read the paper and not on the internet. However, I now have the Philadelphia Inquirer on my phone too. When I was on vacation I could read it every day. Not sure it will last for another generation. Interesting post and thanks.

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