Saturday, July 30, 2016

Yo Bezos, fix your website!


Merch by Amazon still has the bugs it launched with. Are you going to commit to it, or just let it hang semi-functional? You didn't budget much for it when you set it up; it's a surprisingly bare-bones service for Amazon. Now, given your reputation as an employer, you will probably give everyone associated with Merch by Amazon a hard time for not setting it up flawlessly, but I would ask that you not do that. It's not their fault. The problem is that you are such an unpleasant employer that those who had the skills to set it up flawlessly are working for someone else now. They know they don't have to put up with that much workplace stress, so they took their talents elsewhere. Apparently you are a lousy boss. The bugs in the service aren't the fault of those working on it; they are ultimately traceable to you, your budget, and your management style. Take responsibility. It really doesn't matter much that you're the third richest person on the planet—it's a very small planet. What matters is how you treat the other members of your team. They deserve much more respect than you give them.

My most recently discovered bug is that there is no delete option for a product while it is under review and also while it's at the draft stage. I have a T-shirt that has gotten stuck in the automated review process and I can't delete it. I tried starting another product to see if that would push the under-review product out of its stuck state, but the new one is now stuck in the draft stage and also can't be deleted. This should have been anticipated when setting up the software and a delete option should have been included for both stages.

As I mentioned in a recent message to Customer Service through the Contact Us form, I think it's very strange for the designer to decide whether a T-shirt should be slim-fit or regular-fit. The graphic image should be scaled properly to either style so that the customer can make that decision. I also find it odd how few color choices there are. I understand caution when starting up the service, but it should be clear now how things will go, and the color selection should be expanded and also left up to the customer. I think it's odd to have the designer make choices limiting the number of T-shirt colors for a design.

Remember the late 90s? It seemed like a new world was taking shape with e-commerce providing new ways of doing almost everything. Amazon seemed so green and egalitarian and socially concerned then. As it turns out, you were, at heart, just another Flagler, just another Rockefeller, wanting to grab as much as absolutely possible before they started hitting you with antitrust litigation. Old-school with a coat of green paint. Why do you want to own the world? A little perspective never hurt anybody: In astronomical terms, our hearing that you're the third richest person on the planet is like hearing someone in a town in the middle of nowhere with a population of 500 say "I'm the third richest person in this town!" Those of us with a broader view just chuckle at that sort of thinking.

Your shareholders love you for the money you make for them, of course. The real test is whether your employees love you.


Blue said...

Just found your blog by chance and read this letter to Jeff Bezos. It's a shame, though, that people like him never listen to people like us: the ones who made him rich to begin with. I mean we're the ones driving his company. No buyers, no money made, right?

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