Summary of Be Like Amazon

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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples

Recommendation

Two marketing consultants – brothers Jeffrey Eisenberg and Bryan Eisenberg – writing with Roy H. Williams, examine Amazon’s business principles through the eyes of two fictional men on a road trip. The text is an extended dialogue between the older man “Poobah” and his younger protégé “Sunshine.” The authors quote  interviews with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and discuss famous companies, including Kodak, Walmart, Sears, GM and Costco. The two voyagers visit Kesslers Diamonds of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, and the Morris-Jenkins heating and air conditioning firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. The authors unveil useful management advice as they explain the set of “unifying principles” these organizations follow. Business students and professors, executives, and business owners will find this low-key, well-informed conversation interesting and fruitful.

About the Authors

Marketing and customer service experts Jeffrey Eisenberg and Bryan Eisenberg wrote the bestsellers Always Be Testing, Waiting for Your Cat to Bark and Call to Action. Roy H. Williams wrote the best-selling The Wizards of Ads trilogy.

 

Summary

Road Trip

An older man “Poobah” and his younger protégé “Sunshine” stop at Starbucks on their road trip. Poobah gives the barista $20 for two coffees and tells her to keep the change. Sunshine doesn’t understand why he tips a stranger $10. Poobah replies that he likes to surprise people pleasantly to change their day for the better. The men launch into an extended conversation that considers how Amazon and other great companies wow their customers and why once-great companies have fallen.

Eastman Kodak

Sunshine recounts the history of pioneering photography firm Eastman Kodak, founded by George Eastman in 1881 under the name Eastman Dry Plate Company. Eastman followed four “unifying principles”:

  1. Keep your product’s prices low so customers will “find more uses” for them.
  2. “Always sell by demonstration.”
  3. “Be the first to embrace new technologies.”
  4. “Listen to your customers.

By 1976, Eastman Kodak sold 90% of the camera film and 85% of the cameras in the United States – and was still growing. It had 145,000 employees worldwide by 1988...


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