(if you know Jeff, Make sure he get's this...)
An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos
For God Sakes Man, leave the iPad alone. It will prove to be your White Whale.
I won’t rehash all of the reasons why turning the Kindle into an iPad killer makes my stomach turn. Instead, let’s talk about what the Amazon Brand means to me (and your tribe).
Jeff, you and I have always seen eye to eye. You’ve focused on my needs from day one. I have never had a single complaint about the Amazon tribe. Sure you’ve taken way too much money out of my bank account – but I have been enthusiastically co-dependent. Your gargantuan inventory, single-minded customer service, even your laugh has been a delight.
Most of all, I've never tired of spreading every Amazon story I hear. I'm sure fellow Amazon Tribe members agree that you've never been a boring partner. Everytime I scold a business about playing fast and loose with their brand, I remind them to follow-your example.
Kindle Saved Our Relationship
Then you kicked it up a notch with Kindle.
I have to admit, that I haven't been the best customer lately. We were getting a little distant. I still loved your brand but I just wasn’t in love with physical books. They took up too much space and didn’t travel well. But with Kindle, you blessed me with a magic library that I could (stylishly) carry with me. Jeff you had me at “free shipping” but geez – the Kindle + Kindle App one-two punch was (truly) magical.
So why are you toying with the kids in Cupertino? iPad is not a competitor. It’s just ANOTHER revenue source. I actually buy more from you because of the iPad! I bet others have also. Sure I use the iPad for quick 10 minute reads – but it’s the Kindle that I cuddle up with.
Take a hint from the 37 Signals, the clan behind Basecamp, Highrise, and Backpack; They regularly tell people to pound salt whenever a new software feature is requested. They are fearless. They believe that "Less is More" with every fiber of their being. Mozy on down to the warehouse and pick-up a copy of Rework to see what I'm talking about...
Wait a second! You’re the SOLE investor in 37 Signals! Geez then you should know better.
You Don't Want to Mess with Steve
Steve Jobs is waiting for you and he’ll win. He knows that the iPad sucks as a reader (and he’ll discover that your Brand can go toe-to-toe with Apple any day). He knows that the Kindle is deliciously appealing to people who truly love reading. He's content with making billions from the hardware and goading unwitting competitors (Adobe, maybe - you) into fighting on his turf. He's a master - remember he's been sparing against Microsoft, IBM, Dell, HP, Sony for years.
Just a suggestion, if you want to fight iPad with Kindle then give your Tribe real ammunition. We rule the social media playground. Teach us about ePaper. Give us tidbits about the reading experience. Put us in videos and let us wax poetic about our love affair with the Kindle. Go Social baby - We got this.
Listen…if you want to warn Steve off…then make the Kindle reading experience irresistible. Remember, Your tribe doesn't want to play games, surf the web, or download apps on the Kindle.
We just want to read - it’s really that simple.
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