Category Archives: Amazon

2017 Letter to Shareholders

This is so good and so much to glean from it.

I think I love this the most:

Six-Page Narratives

We don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations at Amazon. Instead, we write narratively structured six-page memos. We silently read one at the beginning of each meeting in a kind of “study hall.” Not surprisingly, the quality of these memos varies widely. Some have the clarity of angels singing. They are brilliant and thoughtful and set up the meeting for high-quality discussion. Sometimes they come in at the other end of the spectrum.

In the handstand example, it’s pretty straightforward to recognize high standards. It wouldn’t be difficult to lay out in detail the requirements of a well-executed handstand, and then you’re either doing it or you’re not. The writing example is very different. The difference between a great memo and an average one is much squishier. It would be extremely hard to write down the detailed requirements that make up a great memo. Nevertheless, I find that much of the time, readers react to great memos very similarly. They know it when they see it. The standard is there, and it is real, even if it’s not easily describable.

Here’s what we’ve figured out. Often, when a memo isn’t great, it’s not the writer’s inability to recognize the high standard, but instead a wrong expectation on scope: they mistakenly believe a high-standards, six-page memo can be written in one or two days or even a few hours, when really it might take a week or more! They’re trying to perfect a handstand in just two weeks, and we’re not coaching them right. The great memos are written and re-written, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can’t be done in a day or two. The key point here is that you can improve results through the simple act of teaching scope – that a great memo probably should take a week or more.

Best to read it all though…

2017 Letter to Shareholders


Amazon Redshift Spectrum – Run SQL queries directly against exabytes of data in Amazonn S3.

This is pretty amazing.

If you look at old tech decks of mine I always tell startups to start their data collection journey on day 1 or as soon as possible. I tell them to collect and shove it in S3 and keep it for later. The idea was a data person could extract and get it into a queryable format at some point but if you don’t collect the data you are missing out on your own history.

Meaning you may not know how to derive insights but best to keep the data.

Now look what AWS has done – you can literally just query S3.


Amazon Redshift Spectrum – Run SQL queries directly against exabytes of data in Amazonn S3.

Breaking up Big Tech

Such a great video – check it out first:

I think a lot of what he says is terribly true and I wonder if most of the world’s governments have simply bowed down to Big Tech assuming that it will always do the right thing for everyone. Sure – these companies are doing amazing things but some of their success feels like it is coming at the cost of meaningful things.

I don’t have the answers but I think government and the people must remain vigilant and not always assume Big Tech has all the answers or always means well.

This is also why I feel conflicted about bitcoin or crypto – on the surface the ideas are amazing but at the same time it is for the moment creating another way to generate wealth that is concentrated mostly with the tech elite and creating a sense of moving away from central management of capital. This could be good or it could be bad, all depends on how you see it or benefit from it.

I think this post is slightly sensationalist but does make some meaningful points ::

All in all I am pro-tech and crypto is here to stay but the world still feels like it continues to bifurcate into the have’s and have not’s and I am sure that is a bad thing.


Daring Fireball: Amazon Prime Video Arrives on Apple TV

I hope the good story explains why the app is so crappy. Yes – it works and all, I can stream movies and shows on it but for sure this thing is NOT optimized for the Apple TV and looks like it was made for a smart TV platform and then ported over.

Given the amount of time we have waited for this thing – one would have hoped it would have looked or felt like it was made for the Apple TV.

No such chance.

Daring Fireball: Amazon Prime Video Arrives on Apple TV