纽约客2019年10月10日发表了一篇题为《Is Amazon Unstoppable?》的文章，我非常喜欢，想提炼一些内容与大家分享。
PowerPoint was discouraged. Product proposals had to be written out as six-page narratives–Bezos believed that storytelling forced critical thinking–accompanied by a mock press release. Meetings started with a period of silent reading, and each proposal concluded with a list of F.A.Q.s, such as “What will most disappoint the customer on the first day of release?”
Employees line up at vending machines that dispense free over-the-counter painkillers.
“No company pulling billions of dollars of profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers.”
文章很大篇幅提到了通用汽车和通用汽车的功勋总裁斯隆。通用与福特不同，福特是product companay，通用是process company。谷歌和脸书也是product company，但亚马逊是process company。product company的核心是一款拳头产品，他们几乎不生产别的东西，而process company是总结了一套process，然后用这套process生产各行各业的产品。
Capitalism is supposed to be a system of checks and balances. It’s a marketplace where everyone hagggles until we’re all basically satisfied, and it works because you can always threaten to walk away if you don’t get a fair del. But when there’s only one marketplace, and it’s impossible to walk away, everything is out of balance. Amazon owns the marketplace. They can do whatever they want. That’s not capitalism.
In 2014, when a group of technicians at an Amazon warehouse in Delaware petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to allow them to vote on whether to unionize, Amazon hired a law firm that specialized in fightingg organized labor, and held meetings warning that unioniztion could be bad for workers’ jobs. Employees voted against joining the union.
When Alfred Sloan and G.M. were fighting labor unions and tax foes, in the nineteen-thirties, the company’s critics begn providing tabloids with photographs of G.M. executives enjoying their luxury sailboats and cavorting with showgirls. In 1936, the United Auto Workers staged a weeks-long sitdown strike in Flint, Michigan, and labor activists smuggled gossip about Sloan to reporters. Walter Lippman soon declared that Sloan was a “bungling” menace. When Sloan refused to meet with union representatives, the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, took him to task publicly, yelling at him, “You are a scoundrel and a skunk, Mr. Sloan! You don’t deserve to be counted among decent men.” Soon afterward, G.M. agreed to recognize the union.
In 1937, the Treasury Secretary accused Sloan of “moral fraud”–”the defeat of taxes through doubtful legal devices.” Sloan insisted that he’d actually paied sixty per cent of his income from the previous year in taxes, and given half of what remained to charity, but the attack further blighted his reputation. Eventually, Sloan caved. He donated fifteen per cent of his whelth–the modern equivalent of a hundred and eighty million dollars–to fund the Alred P. Sloan Foundation, and he eventually gave hundreds of millions of dollars more to universities and other organizations.
Until the nineteen-seventies, many process companies were constrained by a fear of U.S. antitrust enforcement. Alfred Sloan always kept a close eye on the size of G.M.’s market share. “Our blogie is forty-five per cent,” Sloan told a reporter, in 1938. “We don’t want any more than that.”
优秀的process companay很容易发展成综合体，可能就会遇到一些反垄断问题。不过，product company也可能会遇到反垄断问题。按照我的理解，product company更容易面临“除了你没别家”的问题，而process company更容易面临“怎么哪哪都有你”的问题。
Last year, Amazon tapped a group of warehouse workers to be a kind of Twitter rapid-response army, deputiziing them as “ambassadors.”
Part of Amazon’s defensiveness stems from executives’ convinction that regulators’ concerns are based not on logic but on a misguided understanding of retail. One executive told me that the real problem is that Amazon is disproprtionately popular among lawmakers. Congressional aides, high-profile jounalists, and other elites often use Amazon to buy kitchen supplies and Christmas gifts. They watch “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and shop at Whole Foods. They don’t even know the location of the nearest Walmart, the executive said, and therefore think that Amazon is much more powerful than it really is.
There’s an economic revolution, it creates amazing new opportunities, and then the companies that seize those opportunities become so powerful that the people revolt–they say the winners have become too powerful, they start atttackingg the people who are the embodiments of winning, sometimes with gossip, somtimes with facts. And then we have an era of constraint enforced by the fedoral goverment.
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