Seven Things Learned From Amazon’s Success

37 Signalsblog has a post about the secrets to Amazon’s success which they got from the website highscalability.com.

My favourite seven points are:

  1. End up with a design that is as minimal as possible. Simplicity is the key if you really want to build large distributed systems.
  2. Work from the customer backward. Focus on value you want to deliver for the customer.
  3. Teams are small. They are assigned authority and empowered to solve a problem as a service in anyway they see fit.
  4. Start with a press release of what features the user will see and work backwards to check that you are building something valuable.
  5. Use measurement and objective debate to separate the good from the bad. I’ve been to several presentations by ex-Amazoners and this is the aspect of Amazon that strikes me as uniquely different and interesting from other companies. Their deep seated ethic is to expose real customers to a choice and see which one works best and to make decisions based on those tests.
  6. If you have a question about what you should do code it up, let people use it, and see which alternative gives you the results you want.
  7. Create a frugal culture. Amazon used doors for desks, for example.
Advertisements

One Response to Seven Things Learned From Amazon’s Success

  1. Falafulu Fisi says:

    #5). Use measurement and objective debate to separate the good from the bad. I’ve been to several presentations by ex-Amazoners and this is the aspect of Amazon that strikes me as uniquely different and interesting from other companies. Their deep seated ethic is to expose real customers to a choice and see which one works best and to make decisions based on those tests.

    Yes, that is exactly true. Here are some papers by Dr. Ron Kohavi (ex-Amazon head of data-mining now work for Microsoft) that describe the use of such measurement and experimentation.

    #1) Practical Guide to Controlled Experiments on the Web: Listen to Your Customers not to the HiPPO (accepted for publication in the ACM KDD 2007 journal)

    #2) Mining Beacon: Lessons and Challenges from the World of E-Commerce (published in 2005 in the Journal of Machine Learning)

    #3) Amazon’s Data Mining and Personalization (A Talk given at Emetrics 2004).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: