Sunday, February 12, 2012

Businessweek Pieces: on Amazon / Zappos / United Airlines & Hearsay Social

There was some interesting content from the last few issues of Businessweek starting off with the Jan 30-Feb 5 cover story.

Written by Brad Stone, "Amazon's Hit Man" details the new in-house publishing imprint at the web retail giant. Concept is for Amazon to hold tighter control over book pricing and distribution by cutting out traditional publishing houses and signing agreements with the authors themselves. Its an interesting approach led within Amazon by Larry Kirshbaum, the former head of Time Warner Book Group and has already resulted in agreements with Tim Ferriss, James Franco and Penny Marshall.

The Feb 6-12 issue as well featured an interesting cover story along with a few other pieces of note.

"Making the World's Largest Airline Fly" was a solid look at integration work out of the United-Continental merger. The piece was written by Drake Bennett and details the thousands of needed decisions around areas such as customer care systems and coffee to provide. Additionally, "Las Vegas: Startup City" is on Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and his backing of development efforts in the area around headquarters for the Amazon division. Its an interesting look from Brad Stone at personal for-profit efforts that also have an altruistic bent. Also of note from this issue was the short piece "Clara Shih's Hearsay Social" on the writer behind The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Market, Sell, and Innovate. Shih was working at is 2007, then built herself into a Social Media expert and in 2009, wrote her book and started the consulting company Hearsay Social... and more recently was named to the Starbucks board of directors.