on February 10, 2004
The most telling detail on Amazon in this book was on page 132: When publishers and authors asked Bezos why Amazon.com would publish negative reviews, he (said) Amazon.com "was taking a different approach, of trying to sell all books...the good, the bad, and the ugly...doing that, you actually have an obligation...to let truth loose.'"
Whichever publishers and authors those were, they epitomize the sort of thinking that a new business model sweeps away. When someone responds negatively to their product they seek to silence that person. Failing that, they repackage the same product. If that doesn't work, they rename the product. Then they present the product in a different size. Anything, abosolutely anything, but listen to the customer who gripes.
I don't think Spector grasps the depth of this change. When Amazon gives a forum to ordinary people to speak where previously only "professionals" could, that's as profound a shift as from monarchy to democracy. Giving equal space on the electronic bookshelf to an arcane book on geology and a convenience store bestseller is as revolutionary as Martin Luther's 95 theses getting equal billing with the pronouncements of the pope. In terms of sales, if I can buy what I want instead of just what the "professionals" want me to buy, I'm going to buy more.
Most of the other factors in Amazon's success have been done before: hiring smart people, working long hours, providing great customer service...but no other retailer ever had a selection larger than the Library of Congress. And no other retailer ever gave customers around the globe a public forum for feedback. I would have liked to have seen more on this unique aspect of Amazon in GET BIG FAST, and less of the sort of business school platitudes that make up the "Takeaways" sections at the end of each chapter.
on August 2, 2003
While many who are reading this review are probably interested in the website story, this book is probably not the one to read. The author did not have access to Jeff Bezos and many other key players when writing this book, and the lack of first hand information shows.
It reads like a detailed, outsiders view of the history of the company. This happened, then that happened, then the site did this other thing. There is very little discussion of *why* these events and actions were important. And most importantly, very little context as to how the site changed the face of internet commerce.
This book is certainly not the definitive work on [site], which is still to be written. A better (and funnier) look at the internals of Amazon can be found in "21 Dog years - Doing time at Amazon.com".
on August 14, 2003
I love the book. Though not bought at amazon. :< The story of how a not known internet company to a successful and real big one. How the company relied on open source and slowly as it get bigger used more commercial software. It describe how a man vision can come true by believing. Truly amazing book, I like one part of the book which says 'How do Amazon review this book for themselve?'. It's a good read
on August 21, 2002
I don't know how to put it, was this book a never ending praise for Amazon.com or a non-biased account of what Amazon.com is about. I think i am more inclined towards the 'praise' part, why? Let me give one example, in the earlier part of the book, the author mentions that companies like Barns & Noble presented a big threat to Amazon.com, and from that point onwards he continues to portray B&N as the baddies. As if B&N were always bent upon destroying Amazon, and Jeff Bezos never once made a bad move, he never ever made one mistake. Come one admit it, if B&N is this big today, they must have done something right somewhere.
I wish that the author had taken the time to express his own thoughts somewhere in the 200+ pages.
This book would be a good read if you have literally no idea about Amazon.com, otherwise I would say, go out and look for a book which not only praises,criticezes but also expresses author's own opinions on the subject matter.
P.S. If you find something, please let me know too.