Amabots

Wow, Amazon sounds like a great place to work:

Company veterans often say the genius of Amazon is the way it drives them to drive themselves. “If you’re a good Amazonian, you become an Amabot,” said one employee, using a term that means you have become at one with the system.

And:

Some veterans interviewed said they were protected from pressures by nurturing bosses or worked in relatively slow divisions. But many others said the culture stoked their willingness to erode work-life boundaries, castigate themselves for shortcomings (being “vocally self-critical” is included in the description of the leadership principles) and try to impress a company that can often feel like an insatiable taskmaster. Even many Amazonians who have worked on Wall Street and at start-ups say the workloads at the new South Lake Union campus can be extreme: marathon conference calls on Easter Sunday and Thanksgiving, criticism from bosses for spotty Internet access on vacation, and hours spent working at home most nights or weekends.

“One time I didn’t sleep for four days straight,” said Dina Vaccari, who joined in 2008 to sell Amazon gift cards to other companies and once used her own money, without asking for approval, to pay a freelancer in India to enter data so she could get more done. “These businesses were my babies, and I did whatever I could to make them successful.”

Since the article came out, CEO Jeff Bezos has refuted many of the claims in the article.

Amabots

“Buy” buttons on mobile ads

Now, Google is set to launch perhaps its most critical commerce-related experiment ever: “Buy” buttons on mobile ads, according to multiple sources, which will turn Google into a cross between a search engine and Amazon. (The Wall Street Journal first reported the move.) It’s the latest attempt by Google to remake its search business for a world increasingly spent on mobile devices and dominated by apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Amazon — none of which Google owns.

—Jason Del Rey, Re/code

The always-hungry Google tries to consume more of the Internet.

“Buy” buttons on mobile ads

Best Intentions

We may now have a new “most unread best seller of all time.”

Data from Amazon Kindles suggests that that honor may go to Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which reached No. 1 on the best-seller list this year. Jordan Ellenberg, a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Piketty’s book seems to eclipse its rivals in losing readers: All five of the passages that readers on Kindle have highlighted most are in the first 26 pages of a tome that runs 685 pages.

The rush to purchase Piketty’s book suggested that Americans must have wanted to understand inequality. The apparent rush to put it down suggests that, well, we’re human.

—Nicholas Kristof, An Idiot’s Guide to Inequality

I’m guilty of going a step farther: I acquire tons of e-books with the intention of reading them, but takes years for me to get around to reading them (if ever).

Best Intentions