A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how Jeff Bezos creates opportunity for vast discovery at Amazon (my post Amazon Drives Innovation by Creating Opportunities for Vast Discovery). I had actually been working on this post at the time when I found a great quote from Bezos on the culture of “pioneering” that he was trying to create at Amazon. It made for such a great story that I just had to run with it and push this story aside. Well, Bezos has done it again. He threw the world another curveball yesterday with the announcement that he is purchasing The Washington Post for $250 million. The pundits are in a whirlwind discussing whether or not Bezos will be successful with this big gamble. Knowing Bezos and his long-term orientation I would give him better odds than most that he will find success.
It seems like everyone is jumping on the Ron Johnson “failure” bandwagon the last few days. Being that he was a fellow hometown kid from Minnesota and having earned his retail chops at Target Corp I had followed Johnson’s tenure at JCPenney pretty closely over the last 17 months. When Johnson and his team launched their “Transformational Plans” for JCP back in January, 2012 I had watched the entire 93 minute presentation. I thought the presentation was articulate and very well thought through. Interestingly enough just last month I had overheard my wife commenting to a friend how she had stopped into one of the newly redesigned JCP stores and really liked it. That was the first time that I had heard her praise JCPenney in at least 10 years. Her friend had responded that she too had visited the store and really liked it. Having spent most of the last decade in retail I am always a little leery of the “sample-of-one” but two suggests a possible trend.
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