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The Resource Amazonia, James Marcus

Amazonia, James Marcus

Label
Amazonia
Title
Amazonia
Statement of responsibility
James Marcus
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Review
  • With Amazon.com firmly established as one of the leaders in e-commerce, it is easy to forget the company's early roots as a struggling online bookstore. Marcus, who was employee 55 and one of Amazon's first editors, provides a captivating, witty account of how the fledgling e-retailer transformed itself from a startup that generated $16 million in sales in 1996 to a behemoth with revenue of $5.3 billion in 2003. The early days of Amazon, Marcus recounts, were full of a do-it-yourself attitude, with everyone at the company encouraged to try different ways to drive customers to the site. In Marcus's case, it was writing and assigning reviews, the content designed to make people decide what to buy. But although Amazon founder Jeff Bezos began as a firm believer in the power of content, his philosophy gradually changed to what Marcus calls the "culture of metrics," in which everything connected to the site could be measured. And as Amazon added more and more products, the importance of content slipped away. It's clear Marcus's most satisfying time at Amazon was in the early years, even if that meant picking and packing books during the holiday rush. There is even a bit of nostalgia in his tone, which people in the book industry can especially appreciate: once upon a time there was a company whose employees scrambled to sell books over this new thing called the Internet. Today the company has become a software and retailing machine dedicated to selling as many widgets as efficiently as possible. Agent, Mark Dunow. (June) --Staff (Reviewed April 5, 2004) (Publishers Weekly, vol 251, issue 14, p49)
  • In 1996, Marcus escaped the genteel poverty of freelance writing by landing an editorial job at the burgeoning business that would transform the book-selling landscape forever. He here tells the tale of the dazzling rise, dizzying fall, and daring rebirth of Amazon. com from his perch inside the company. His colleagues are quirky but smart, his boss visionary but human, and the company an odd but unbeatable combination of high- and low-tech approaches. Marcus takes readers on the treks through the woods that serve as company outings and the hunt for elusive job titles in an egalitarian world where every employee packs holiday orders at the warehouse. Naturally, Jeff Bezos, the company's legendary founder, figures prominently in the yarn. Watching his vision unfold as the company and e-commerce markets mushroom makes for a worthy management case study in itself. While the quotidian world of everyday work might have seemed uninteresting, Marcus makes it fun to peek inside company workings to see how Amazon.com invented itself. And the literati name-dropping—from interviews, parties, and the like—lends a tone of friendly gossip to this tale. Recommended for business collections in public and academic libraries.—Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Libs. Whitewater --Carol J. Elsen (Reviewed May 1, 2004) (Library Journal, vol 129, issue 8, p122)
  • Amiable memoir of Amazon.com's dizzying rise and eventual earthbound return.Marcus's debut aptly captures his sense of riding an unforeseeable whirlwind. From 1996 to 2001, he was employed as "Senior Editor" at Amazon. He was the 55th hire, personally interviewed by founder and future billionaire Jeff Bezos, whom the author depicts as superficially easygoing but obsessed with a "Culture of Metrics": Bezos believed that endless analysis of Amazon's business numbers would insure its explosive growth—and, in fact, it did. Marcus found the halcyon early days at the perpetually expanding company a constant whirlwind of 60-hour weeks and eccentric, wonky co-workers, many of whom, like the author, temporarily became paper millionaires during the Boom. Marcus perceptively discusses the challenges in representing books through the ultra-mutable online medium and describes how Amazon and Bezos struggled to stay ahead of the maelstrom. (For instance, they developed a top-secret auction capability to compete with eBay.) Many such initiatives failed to deliver—online success seemingly depended on "First Mover" status—even as dot.com raconteurs like Henry Blodget hyped the company and ensured its stock would soar. As the company grew, Marcus became conscious of how few site visitors actually read his careful reviews: "We were creators, and we were clerks," he ruefully notes. Even before the 2000 market crash, he realized the site's drive to personalize itself to the needs of all customers would ultimately hobble his editorial vision, as data-mining programs overtook hands-on efforts. Bezos was named Time's 1999 Person of the Year, and the company's employee population exploded, but they couldn't outrun the millennium: by June 2000, the stock had plunged, as erstwhile cheerleaders like Blodget ran for cover and its credit was assessed as "degrading." After the company laid off 15 percent of the workforce in 2001, the burned-out but wistful Marcus decided it was time to go.Rarely surprising, but amusing and intelligently written: a good exploration of how Amazon survived the crash and earned its longevity. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2004)
Biography type
contains biographical information
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
230465
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1959-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Marcus, James
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Marcus, James
  • Amazon.com (Firm)
  • Internet bookstores
  • Electronic commerce
Label
Amazonia, James Marcus
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
479619
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
261 pages
Isbn
9781565848702
Lccn
2003066505
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781565848702
  • (Sirsi) ADN-4508
Label
Amazonia, James Marcus
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
479619
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
261 pages
Isbn
9781565848702
Lccn
2003066505
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781565848702
  • (Sirsi) ADN-4508

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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