Jeff Bezos Says Washington Post Could Take a Page From Amazon

For Bezos, invention and customer focus are key in any industry.

ByJoanna Stern
September 24, 2013, 11:26 PM

Sept. 25, 2013 — -- Ever since the announcement that Jeff Bezos had purchased The Washington Post for $250 million in August, many have been wondering just what an e-commerce entrepreneur could bring to the newspaper industry. One-click payments for all your news, Washington Post Prime, people have joked.

While Bezos doesn't plan to turn one of the nation's leading newspapers into a shopping site, he certainly plans to get more out of the business and he says there are business pillars from that can apply to the newspaper industry

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"The big things that we focus on at Amazon, those serve the Amazon customers well and they would transfer to other kinds of businesses," Bezos said in a sit-down interview with ABC News earlier. "The first thing is put the customer first. If you have a party, are you holding the party for your guests or for yourself?

"Sometimes people hold parties and they pretend it is for their guests, but they are holding it for themself. The second is we like to invent. The third piece is we are willing to think long term."

"You have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn't a strategy."

"Customer centricity, willingness to invent and willingness to be patient," Bezos said, citing tenets that were applicable to a number of industries when asked directly how he could bring aspects of Amazon's business to the newspaper and media business.

Ultimately, we don't know much about what Bezos, whose net worth is said to be $27.2 billion, will do tactically at the Post, but it is clear that, above all, he is dedicated and focused on bringing the paper into the 21st century.

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"The business challenges in the newspaper industry have nothing to do with the quality of the people, these are big industry-wide trends," he said. "What we need to do is always lean into the future.

"I tell people, when the world changes around you and when it changes against you -- what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind -- you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn't a strategy."

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