“Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace” is a New York Times exposé about Amazon.com. Investors have been grappling with the principal-agent problem for centuries: fund a corporation, hire managers, and then sit back while they feather their own nests, e.g., by donating shareholder funds to local charities, hiring friends, etc. Perhaps because Amazon is still managed by its largest shareholder, Jeff Bezos, if we believe the nytimes the company’s main interest in employees is getting the maximum productivity out of each worker. I.e., not a year of parental leave like Netflix, no celebration of the “whole person” behind the desk. Instead of celebrating this rare example of Econ 101 in practice, the journalists are enraged by this behavior and so are most of the commenting readers.
What do readers think? We keep hearing about how Millennials won’t get off their asses and work. Is it credible that Amazon has found tens of thousands of American Millennials who are so passionate about their jobs? Or did the journalists find a biased sample to interview?
[Separately, just looking back at the last week… I want to thank the Amazon staff for delivering my tennis headbands one day after ordering (promised for two-day delivery). Also thanks for letting me find the right balance bike for the 20-month old. Thanks for enabling a one-click replacement for the sound puzzle destroyed by Mindy the Crippler. And thanks for saving me a trip to Target to find 18M-size swim trunks (had purchased 2T size at Target previously but they were too big). And thanks for the Kindle system! So… even if you have to suffer some harsh words at work, our family does appreciate everything that you do.]