Bezos to Washington Post: ‘Don’t be boring’

Bezos to Washington Post: ‘Don’t be boring’

4:14pm EDT

(Reuters) – Jeff Bezos, the soon-to-be owner of The Washington Post, does not plan to cut his way to profitability and says the only path to success is growth, according to an account in the Washington Post on Wednesday. The Amazon.com chief executive is visiting the newspaper for the first time this week since he agreed to purchase the Washington Post Co newspaper unit for $250 million on Aug 5.Bezos has offered few clues to what he has in store for the storied flagship paper famed for its coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Bezos had a series of meetings with employees, including reporters and editors.

“All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworth’s,” Bezos said, according to a report in the newspaper, which has covered his visit extensively.

“The number one rule has to be: Don’t Be Boring.”

Bezos cited two problems that newspapers face. One is the fact that websites such as the Huffington Post can re-write an article that takes a newspaper months to complete “in 17 minutes,” and what he described as a “debundling” problem, with readers going to a website for only one story – as opposed to buying an entire paper.

“We can’t have people swooping in to read one article,” Bezos said. “What you can’t do is go for the lowest common denominator, because then what you have is mediocrity.”

Over the past decade, newspapers have been saddled with numerous problems brought on by the Internet. Advertisers have fled the print product, taking with them lucrative dollars once used to staff newsrooms, which have endured numerous cuts. At the same time, online advertising is nowhere close to making up the difference of lost print ads that command much higher prices.

Bezos said he was confident that the Washington Post can transform itself, just as Amazon did when it started out as a book seller and transitioned to embrace e-books.

It is now the world’s largest online retailer.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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