Who’s Afraid of Jeff Bezos?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains his famous one-character emails, known to strike fear in manager’s hearts

So reads the clickbait title of an article found on Business Insider. As might be expected, the article created a bit of a fuss on social media, with lots of people getting comically upset that the Amazon boss is ‘striking fear’ into the hearts of his subordinates. I can only assume the malcontents never bothered to read the actual article, because the way Bezos supposedly creates terror is by reading complaints from customers, then emailing them to members of his team so they can investigate what has gone wrong. The single character he adds to those emails is:


Amazon is a big and complicated business, so things are bound to go wrong from time to time. The same is true of telcos. Customers suffer when things go wrong. And whilst a single customer’s problems may not seem important when you are serving millions of them, the truth is that the one customer who troubles to complain may represent many more who would simply walk away from your business, if it was not for the fact that they fear other businesses are just as lousy.

Taking the time and trouble to investigate what has gone wrong will lead us to improve, and shows we genuinely care about customers (instead of just saying that we care through lying advertising campaigns). And who wants a CEO who asks their underlings what is going wrong? You should. If you are reading Commsrisk then you probably do a job that only exists because of the need to correct and prevent mistakes. So rather than fearing the question mark, we should welcome any boss who listens to customers and wants us to do things right.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.