The new Amazon book “King of New York” by David Rockefeller provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the world's largest retailer worked toward economic recovery. This highly regarded tome not only reveals the happenings at the top level but also serves as an excellent guide to running your own e-commerce business. Rockefeller shares his knowledge and his success with Amazon. He explains why the company took on the risk that it did, what it learned along the way, and how he transformed his small online retailing operation into a giant that still controls a major share of the global e-commerce market.
As any businessman will tell you, success comes with risk. Amazon, like many companies, is constantly changing and adapting to change. It is important to remember that at the time when the corporation was started, there were very few alternative e-commerce venues for buyers, so Amazon relied on its enormous and unmatched popularity among customers to fuel its growth. The book shows that even as the company has grown, it has always kept a keen eye on its competitors and has developed its own strategies for ensuring its dominance. Today, it uses every opportunity it can to be the number one choice of shoppers for products that consumers need and want.
What does Amazon know that the rest of us don't? For starters, Amazon's headquarters is in a location that enjoys an excellent economic growth. The book suggests that it could one day rival the economic powerhouse of China, which is in the midst of an economic revival of its own. With over two hundred million customers, China is enjoying economic growth that is being heralded in the business press today. Amazon's head office is located in Seattle, a city that is enjoying economic growth of its own despite the recession.
In addition to seeing great economic opportunities, Amazon boasts a great environmental reputation. A third advantage is that the corporation has an excellent labor supply. Workers are paid well and enjoy job security. Amazon uses many practices that ensure that it produces the most environmentally friendly products possible.
Despite this praise for Amazon, the book makes some critical mistakes. For example, it praises Amazon's stock price as the company's stock prices have soared due to heavy pressure from investors. As evidence that Amazon is dependent on Wall Street, the company's shares have plummeted more than 200 percent since early trading. Investors who bought into Amazon at these high prices are in for a rude awakening.
Furthermore, Amazon is one of the most profitable companies ever to exist in the retail sector. But it . . . . . . is also worth noting that they have never made a profit on a full year – the only time they have achieved such a feat was in 2005. It took them four years to return to profitability.
On a broader scale, the book's focus on Amazon highlights how economic pessimism robs us of the joys of living. This is a common theme in pessimistic economic writings, and the authors of this book are no exception. They point out that the rapid rise of the Internet has made it easier for people to stay connected with one another and share useful information. Amazon's success is therefore a product of the sharing economy – not economic neglect.
The authors do not delve into the political aspects of the business model, but they offer a basic explanation of how it works and a brief history of its development. It is therefore not out of place to mention that the book ends with a brief consideration of Amazon's future directions. At the end of the book, the author recommends reading a complimentary book by its chief executive, Jeff D. Williams. Amazon has not formally released a book by Mr. Williams. It will be interesting to see what he has to say about his company and its future.