Learning from Jeff Bezos WaPo investment

If you need to change your funding sources, change your business focus, facing new policy changes like NDIS or CDC, this is the way.

Amanda Setili:

Amid all this turmoil, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo chose to purchase The Washington Post for $250 million dollars.

At the time, he conceded that the business looked hopeless” from the outside, but called the newspaper a black box” for experimentation and development.

Said Bezos, There are so many knobs that can be turned and things we can experiment with, that I’m confident there’s something we can find that readers will love and will be engaged with—and that we can charge for.”

Since acquiring the Post, Bezos has indeed started to experiment. He has:

  • Embedded technology positions directly within the sales team, so that software engineers sit side by side with journalists, working to innovate new value for customers.
  • Taken steps to sell the Posts back end content management system to local and regional newspapers.
  • Shifted the Posts news coverage away from local Washington DC events, and toward national and international news.
  • Created visually appealing, magazine-style formatting for tablet users, and provided Amazon’s Kindle Fire users with a pre-installed package of unique morning and evening news.
  • Hired 100 new journalists to support digital efforts, creating confidence and optimism among the staff.
  • Hired the right editorial leadership to bring back the Posts old journalistic mojo, to the point where New York Times media critic said, The once-embattled newspaper is…turning the kind of reporting that journalists—and readers—live for.

If you are going to stay in business these days, you need to continuously evolve, change, and stay a step or two ahead of your competitors.


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