Colin BryarBill Carr — Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon

Les bonnes pages publiées par Entrepreneur vendent fort mal cet ouvrage écrit par des managers pour des managers, moins intéressant pour ses rares anecdotes que ce qu’il révèle des névroses de l’Amérique entrepreneuriale. Le récit des heures supplémentaires, des salaires réduits, des vacances annulées, ou encore de l’« optimisation » des entrepôts, révèle l’autre signification du Working Backwards. Colin Bryar et Bill Carr, en bons cadres dirigeants, célèbrent les formes les plus aliénantes et les plus régressives du travail. « Figuring out how to “boost morale” », comme ils disent, « is not Amazonian ». Et comme ni le moral ni la morale ne sont indexés sur les profits…

Notes

Moins communiquer pour mieux communiquer :

We didn’t yet have the new solution, but we finally grasped the true identity of our problem: the ever-expanding cost of coordination among teams. This change in our thinking was of course nudged along by Jeff. In my tenure at Amazon I heard him say many times that if we wanted Amazon to be a place where builders can build, we needed to eliminate communication, not encourage it. When you view effective communication across groups as a “defect,” the solutions to your problems start to look quite different from traditional ones. He suggested that each software team should build and clearly document a set of application program interfaces (APIs) for all their systems/services. An API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications and defining how software components should interact. In other words, Jeff’s vision was that we needed to focus on loosely coupled interaction via machines through well-defined APIs rather than via humans through emails and meetings. This would free each team to act autonomously and move faster.

Les fameuses équipes à deux pizzas :

It took us a while to arrive at the approach of single-threaded leaders and separable, single-threaded teams, and we went through a number of solutions along the way that ultimately didn’t last—like NPIs and two-pizza teams. But it was worth it, because where we landed was an approach to innovation that is so fundamentally sound and adaptable that it survives at Amazon to this day. This journey is also a great example of another phrase you’ll hear at Amazon: be stubborn on the vision but flexible on the details.

Sauf preuve du contraire, tout est faux :

Jeff has an uncanny ability to read a narrative and consistently arrive at insights that no one else did, even though we were all reading the same narrative. After one meeting, I asked him how he was able to do that. He responded with a simple and useful tip that I have not forgotten: he assumes each sentence he reads is wrong until he can prove otherwise. He’s challenging the content of the sentence, not the motive of the writer. Jeff, by the way, was usually among the last to finish reading.

Le « Puck », lointain précurseur des boitiers Echo :

We distributed them and read them to ourselves and then discussed them, one after another. One proposed an e-book reader that would use new E Ink screen technology. Another described a new take on the MP3 player. Jeff wrote his own narrative about a device he called the Amazon Puck. It would sit on your countertop and could respond to voice commands like, “Puck. Please order a gallon of milk.” Puck would then place the order with Amazon.

La question de la différentiation :

Whereas with Kindle, as we will describe in chapter seven, others were selling e-books, so there was real value in owning and controlling the creation of an outstanding device for our customers to read them on. Differentiation with customers is often one of the key reasons to invent.

Lorsque je dis qu’Apple et Amazon sont les meilleures ennemies du monde :

To win in digital, because those physical retail value adds were not advantages, we needed to identify other parts of the value chain where we could differentiate and serve customers well. Jeff told Steve that this meant moving out of the middle and venturing to either end of the value chain. On one end was content, where the value creators were book authors, filmmakers, TV producers, publishers, musicians, record companies, and movie studios. On the other end was distribution and consumption of content.

Pourquoi Amazon a commencé par les livres :

The other reason for starting with books was that the e-book business as a whole was tiny; there was no good way to read e-books on a device other than a PC, and reading on a PC was definitely not a good experience. We believed that customers would want the e-book equivalent of the iTunes/iPod experience: an app paired with a mobile device that offered consumers any book ever written, the content available at a low price that they could buy, download, and start reading in seconds. But we would need to invent the device ourselves, and the potential development time might take years.

Le rôle de Mobipocket :

In April 2005, we also acquired Mobipocket, a small company based in France that had built a software application for viewing and reading books on PCs and mobile devices. We used the Mobipocket software as the basis for the software on the first Kindle. Had we not acquired the company, we would have needed to hire a team and build the same software ourselves. We were impressed by their founder, Thierry Brethes, and the team he had assembled, so we believed that they would be great additions to the Amazon digital media team. Since the Mobipocket team consisted of about ten people, they remained in place as an Amazon two-pizza team with a single-threaded focus on Kindle reader client-application development.

Toi aussi, maltraite tes salariés (pardon, tes « collaborateurs ») comme Amazon :

What’s most fascinating to us, and the reason we have written this book, is that the elements of being Amazonian are so applicable to other companies, businesses, industries, and endeavors—as well as endeavors outside business, such as not-for-profit or community organizations. Defining the basics of the culture, articulating leadership principles, regularizing essential practices—Bar Raiser hiring, teams with single-threaded leaders, written narratives, Working Backwards, focusing on input metrics—all these things have proved to be essential to us in other endeavors. Indeed, we can’t imagine doing business without them.