Friday, March 31, 2006

Amazon: blogging vs. naked conversations

I as continue to think though the ramifications of the recent Amazon Rude CTO Flap, one of my (tentative) conclusions is that part of the problem is a slight communications issue, namely the distinction between the general concept of "Blogging" and the more specific concept of "Naked Conversations". It is quite clear that Amazon's CTO does have a reasonable understanding of blogging, in general, but it is also abundantly clear that he is completely clueless or at least in complete denial about the concept of a naked conversation and the concept of engaging customers and other stakeholders in true, meaningful, two-way conversations.

Just to be clear, Amazon's CTO "gets" the technology aspects of blogging and probably the insider and professional aspects of blogging, but does seem relatively clueless about the consumer angle.

Maybe he enjoys interacting with the elite up in his Ivory tower too much to be troubled with taking the time to converse with mere customers.

Amazon is certainly pushing the envelope with a lot of technologies and maybe they are simply too busy to be bothered, but the real bottom line is that they have failed miserably at their most recent encounter with the blogging community.

I took one look at Mr. Vogel's picture on his blog and the message that instantly comes across is "I'm *REALLY* serious and I'm clearly the smartest guy in the room, so don't think for even one millisecond that *ANYTHING* you have to say could possibly interest me". Who knows, maybe he's really a nice, open-minded guy, but his picture, his post, and his overall public (blogosphere) tone is not one that invites naked conversations, especially of the consumer type.

My constructive advice to Jeff Bezos is to put a blog or at least a "Blog" button right up front on your main web page and do a little blogging yourself and encourage some of your consumer-oriented employees to contribute to that blog, but please, please, please keep your pit-bull CTO locked up somewhere where he and your gnomes can crank out innovative infrastructure and user-interface code, but avoid like the plague any possibility that any customer or other stakeholder might run the risk of encountering his arrogant, aggressive, "refreshingly blunt" behavior. We want naked conversations, not brutal conversations.

-- Jack Krupansky


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