'2 pizza norm' still works for Amazon: Jeff Bezos

Last Updated 29 September 2014, 17:58 IST

Amazon’s quest for world retail domination, much against what its charismatic founder CEO Jeff Bezos would like to deny, has not been dented by the growing competition in the e-commerce space.

Even as Flipkart.com, Snapdeal and a  host of others are tapping equity funding to grow globally, Jeff Bezos sat down with N V Vijayakumar of Deccan Herald to discuss Amazon’s customer priorities without worrying about “noises” from the competition. And, the company’s famous ‘2 Pizza norm’ rule which Bezoes applies to his teams:

Amazon’s entry in India has had a ripple effect on e-commerce segment. How do you find doing business here?

For us, doing business is going to be the same in all countries. Amazon is looking at giving customers what they want, as per their choices and make that delivery accurately. We want to provide services at competitive and productive pricing.

Our team in India is working on that front. We have started with matrix techniques and software tools. Everyday and week we are adding to that. 

India is a country with unique features. What is your take on that?

India is unique in doing business, because here we have lots of small businesses, and lots of innovation is required. To facilitate and connect businesses with digital customers is a challenge.

The growing mobile penetration is unique in India. Also, connectivity issues with smartphones are unique. It is not the desktop ruling the customers, but mobiles. Small business in India have been incredible and we have to give them an appropriate platform for carry out digital business. 

Can you elaborate on ease of doing business in India?

Everybody asks me that  question. But from experience and results I can say that it is extraordinary. Our e-commerce business in India is growing fast. Our team has set goals and objectives which they have achieved. Payment mechanisms and logistics are different in India and there is scope for innovation in these areas.

But regulatory issues, especially tax issues, have spoilt the India party for Amazon. How have you viewed this?

Every country we operate in has its unique regulations and tax rules. Our job is to adapt our operations to the contexts of local countries. Our responsibility is to deliver products to our  customers. Our India team is doing this incredibly well.

You have cutting-edge technologies to provide an incredible ecosystem for customers in the West. How long will it take to bring that ecosystem to India?

Well, technology flow can be both ways. Easy Ship, a platform invented in India to connect with businesses with customers, is doing fantastically well. We have taken it to US and Europe. The mobile ecosystem is working well in India. Pick-ups from kirana points are working well. We have replicated this elsewhere.

What was the gameplan behind the Washington Post (WP) purchase?

I never thought of buying WP. The owner is my friend and he wanted to sell it and I took the opportunity. If an opportunity comes from India I am ready to take it. 

Can you elaborate on your ‘2 Pizza’ norm which specifies that no team should be larger than what two pizzas can feed?

It means that smaller teams can organise things in a coordinated manner and get better results than bigger teams. They work in a systematic way and quality will be better. Two pieces of pizza can be fed to two people and not three. The concept is now practiced by Amazon in India and will help us innovate more effectively. 

(Published 29 September 2014, 17:57 IST)

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