Amazon's Jeff Bezos Amazon's CEO wants to help you run your business, using the same technologies and operations that power

In a great interview with Business Week, Jeff Bezos talks about the new services Amazon is offering to third party developers, providing computing power with its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, and its hosted storage service, Amazon S3.

Some snippets after the jump...

Why is Amazon, seen primarily as a retailer, offering these types of services?

”The answer is, we've been doing it the whole time. The only difference is, we're now exposing it, making it available to others. A huge fraction of our effort historically has gone into building the infrastructure that lets a Web-scale business run.”

These are very different kinds of customers. Is there a uniting vision for all of this?

“The uniting vision is that the philosophy is the same: customer-centricity, starting from the customer and working backwards, doing innovative things—the sort of cultural biases inside Amazon. Some of these things, we don't even claim that they're the only right way to do business.”

So you're saying that with services like Mechanical Turk, which seem so far from Amazon's core business, you're actually tapping into what you're already doing for yourself?

“We're especially well-positioned to do those things because we had already been doing them. It's a part of the business that historically we had worked very hard to keep invisible from consumers.”

Some people wonder what this says about the retail business. Maybe it doesn't have the promise it originally had, so now you're going into this other stuff.

”The answer to that is no. The retail business is growing rapidly, in multiple geographies, in multiple categories. We keep adding categories, we keep innovating … the retail is stronger than it has ever been."

By providing services such as EC2, aren't you enabling many more potential competitors by giving them these services to get a company up and running much faster?

”I think you're right. But my point of view is if something is a good idea, it's going to happen. And so, you can fight it, or you can do it. We're just exposing the guts of Amazon. And people are going to take those things and they're going to do stuff that surprises us with those pieces that get pulled out and exposed. We're excited about that, and we think we can make money doing that.”

How can Amazon keep the attention of potential buyers who may be going elsewhere to hang out and even buy things?

”If you're thinking about community-generated content, it's something we've always done. Listmania [customer lists of related products they like], customer reviews, wish lists. [We] may be inspired by these techniques, but maybe social networking is always a modest piece of what we do.”

Read the full interview:
Business Week interview with Jeff Bezos

Graham Charlton

Published 7 November, 2006 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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