I recently read the (amazing) book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (go get it right now). It was fascinating and, honestly, inspiring. It made me rethink nearly everything about the (also amazing) company I work for … I can remember feeling the same way one of the early Amazon (it looks weird to capitalize that) employees felt: “I don’t know if this is going to work or I’ll be out of a job tomorrow, but I want to be here when it happens.” Amen, brother.
I was very excited and hopeful when it was announced that Bezos was buying The Washington Post. Fantastic newspaper with a long tradition of investigative journalism and of protecting reporters and sources (see Watergate, the Pentagon Papers and more recently, the Snowden leaks) that if anyone can bring back to a “golden age,” Bezos can — and has maintained that it is his intention to do so. (And after you read the book, you’ll know that if he intends to do something, he’ll do it or pretty much die — or kill everyone else, metaphorically speaking — trying.)
So the Atlantic Wire (another venerable journalistic institution that’s thriving in the so-called digital age) reported yesterday that Bob Woodward (speaking of venerable journalistic institutions) has been more of a presence in the Post newsroom lately, and that he and Bezos share a similar vision for the future of the paper. Now that’s exciting.
And smart. Bezos has no illusion that he knows how to run a newspaper. He just knows how to enable a newspaper to be run well. He has the resources (read: cash), the ideas, the technology and the desire to make the Post a leader in news. I love the Post, so that makes me very, very happy.
(While you’re at it, Jeff, can you get rid of that paywall? I can only read 20 stories a month for free!)