How an Amazon Vice President thinks and works

April 2016. We attentively listened to several speeches by Diego Piacentini, Vice President at Amazon, now serving as Commissioner of the Italian government for digital and innovation, and took some notes.

Luigi Rubinelli –Director Retailwatch. Source RetailWatch www. retailwatch.it 

Manager. Vice President of Amazon.com (a company with sales of around 61 billion dollars). A graduate of Milan’s Bocconi University, he worked at Fiatimpresit and later at Apple (1987-2000; he was managing director for Italy, sales director and then vice president and general manager for Europe). When he received a job offer from Amazon, Steve Jobs called him in: «Since he couldn’t convince me to stay, he started to speak negatively about Amazon asking me for what insane reason I wanted to leave Apple – a company that was re-inventing computing – for a boring online retailer.»

THIS IS HOW AN AMAZON EXECUTIVE THINKS. Endless selection: Sell everything to everyone, worldwide. Coherence: In books and not only: Everyday low price. Speed and agility: Always behave like a start-up company, even with large businesses and corporate dimensions. Create value for the consumer: Always focusing on the consumer and guaranteeing him value. Make long-term decisions: Despite listing on the stock exchange and quarterly anxiety, Amazon has a long-range focus. Purchase behavior: The core business work variant: changing purchase behavior as well as working on price and promotions. Willingness to be misunderstood: Continue along the chosen road, despite everything. Change your mind: When necessary, call everything into question. Negative reviews: In books, the true revolution was publishing negative reviews, despite objections. Negative customer reviews: Create trust and awareness. Passion for invention: Focus on operational excellence, think about the new. Small details: Lots of small details make up a big detail. Mistakes: Mistakes are tolerated only in order to learn more quickly. Courage: Sometimes, you need courage to cannibalize your own business model (like with the introduction of Kindle). Change in the business model: It’s not a question of choosing between good and bad but of breaking with the existing model. Faults: Don’t blame yourself for making a mistake; it’s tolerated. Third-party sales: In books, 40% of sales are made by third parties, not directly by Amazon. Patience: Think long-range and observe short-range. Amazon web service: Forget the McKinsey-style focus on core business, but experiment. Warehouse: Every 2 years, Amazon executives spend 3 days working in the warehouse. Phone calls to customer service: From time to time, executives spend 2 days in the Customer Service department, answering calls. Lean manufacturing: Act on all mechanisms in order to improve the course of action and the customer-purchase path.

Focus: Focus on input rather than output. *

Login or Register to publish a comment