Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jeff Bezos Interview in Wired Magazine

As usual, the Kindle gets some air time in this recent Wired interview with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Here's his theory on why the Kindle will work where other e-readers have failed:

We decided we were going to improve upon the book. And the first thing we did was try to determine the essential features of a physical book that we needed to replicate. The No. 1 feature is that it disappears. When you're in the middle of reading, you don’t notice the ink or the glue or the stitching or the paper — all of that disappears, and you're in the author's world. Most electronic devices today do not disappear. Some of them are extraordinarily rude. Books get out of the way, and they leave you in that state of mental flow.

It's also good to see him comment on other initiatives that were less than successful. Does anyone remember the A9 search engine? I tried it once or twice and then went right back to Google. Apparently I wasn't alone. Here's what Bezos had to say about it:

If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you're going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table. Companies are rarely criticized for the things that they failed to try. But they are, many times, criticized for things they tried and failed at.

Bravo. I'm sure they learned a great deal from A9 and would probably try it again if given the chance. That's one of the reasons Amazon is such an outstanding organization, IMHO.