Mr. Yeggee is always a blast to read and he’s one of my favorite software pontificators. He bashes Amazon pretty well. Some of his points, though, I’m not too sure about. Others I love. Onwards….
“ They prioritize launching early over everything else, including retention and engineering discipline and a bunch of other stuff that turns out to matter in the long run. So even though it’s given them some competitive advantages in the marketplace, it’s created enough other problems to make it something less than a slam-dunk.”
Why can Google spend so much time on engineering and not release software before it’s really (really) ready as opposed to Amazon launching early at the detriment of everything else? Doesn’t everyone know the answer to this by now? Search is a freaking cash cow. Better than a cash cow. It’s like a printing press for money. Cha-ching, cha-ching! This finances all they do. I’m not the first to point this out though as they are today’s Microsoft. Microsoft has office and windows as their cash cows. Google has search, which at the heart, is just ad’s. Yep, boring old advertising. Nothing exciting here (their engineering and infrastructure and mad algorithms are not part of the product critique.)
Google has launched many products that are miserable. I can’t even remember that piece of crap they had before Google+. But, even that name more or less stinks. And they have Maps, which is really nice, and they are learning to strong-arm business by eliminating their competition in the space by offering a free product but now starting to charge for it.
“Their facilities are dirt-smeared cube farms without a dime spent on decor or common meeting areas. Their pay and benefits suck, “
Amazon may have horrific working conditions, but it can’t be that bad. Honestly, Mr. Yegge is probably long removed from some dude slinging VB at an insurance company in the Chicago suburbs. Yegge is a geek celebrity on the west coast with an extraordinarily high IQ. Amazon appeals to every day people at a personal level, I would argue, better than Google does. Google has no real competitor in Search. Amazon has 1,000’s. Yet, people come back to Amazon consistently because their site works, it’s consistent and they bring you satisfaction.
On the other hand Google helps me find things online. Or maybe maps. Yes, I have gmail, but that is really just inertia and stupidity of Microsoft not to offer the same thing with Hotmail. I’ve never, ever, ever clicked an ad in gmail. Ad’s are for suckers.
“Jeff Bezos is an infamous micro-manager. He micro-manages every single pixel of Amazon’s retail site.”
But so was Steve Jobs and he was adored (adored!) daily and posthumously. Why is Jeff Bezos such a bad guy for micro-managing? I don’t understand why one should be loved and another vilified. One brought ecommerce to the masses and one made beautiful products. I see lots of beauty in Amazon – purchase history, recommendations, responsiveness, breadth and depth of products, etc. Don’t even get me started on how fantastic and open AWS is.
“(SOA) #6, however, was quite real, so people went to work. Bezos assigned a couple of Chief Bulldogs to oversee the effort and ensure forward progress, headed up by Uber-Chief Bear Bulldog Rick Dalzell. Rick is an ex-Army Ranger, West Point Academy graduate, ex-boxer, ex-Chief Torturer slash CIO at Wal*Mart, and is a big genial scary man who used the word “hardened interface” a lot.”
Things could have been worse – Bezo’s could have decreed SOA thus, not followed up and Amazon could have just stagnated as a reseller. Sure, who want’s a hard-ass following you around…I get that.
“because nobody’s mom can use the goddamn website. In fact I myself find the website disturbingly daunting, and I worked there for over half a decade. I’ve just learned to kinda defocus my eyes and concentrate on the million or so pixels near the center of the page above the fold.”
This is where I call shenanigans! Shenanigans damn it! This is total fud, my Mom has been using Amazon for years. Everyone I know uses Amazon. No problems. I go there because it’s better than other ecommerce sites. Somehow it works.
“Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership (hi Larry, Sergey, Eric, Vic, howdy howdy) down to the very lowest leaf workers (hey yo). We all don’t get it. The Golden Rule of platforms is that you Eat Your Own Dogfood. The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought. “
EYOD – yep, Microsoft schools all of you. Google. Facebook. Whomever.
“But when we take the stance that we know how to design the perfect product for everyone, and believe you me, I hear that a lot, then we’re being fools. You can attribute it to arrogance, or naivete, or whatever — it doesn’t matter in the end, because it’s foolishness. There IS no perfect product for everyone.”
Duly noted. Say no more. As always, thank you Steve Yeggee for taking the time to contribute interesting things into this world. It’s better with you.