AP/Ted S. Warren
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has called the e-commerce giant "the best place in the world to fail."
- He has famously instituted a culture where failure is an acceptable — even necessary — part of doing business.
- That said, Amazon has had some spectacular failures over the years, resulting in billions of dollars in mistakes, according to Bezos.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos famously called the e-commerce giant "the best place in the world to fail" in his 2016 shareholder letter.
"What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet at the very end of their corporate existence," Bezos told Business Insider’s Henry Blodget in a 2014 interview.
Amazon’s most successful initiatives would never have happened without some element of risk.
"I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com. Literally billions of dollars of failures," Bezos told Blodget. "None of those things are fun. But they also don’t matter."
We’ve catalogued some of Amazon’s more high-profile failures through the years. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it offers a taste of Amazon’s culture of failure.
Amazon will close all 87 of its pop-up stores and discontinue the program, it told Business Insider earlier this month.
"After much review, we came to the decision to discontinue our pop-up kiosk program, and are instead expanding Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star, where we provide a more comprehensive customer experience and broader selection," a spokesperson for Amazon said.
The stores were a place where customers interested in smart gadgets like Amazon’s Echo or Fire TV could see how they worked in the real world before purchasing.
Amazon; Samantha Lee/Business Insider
Dash buttons offered a way to reorder a consumable item on Amazon without having to think about it. Customers could link an item and preferred quantity to the button and press it whenever they needed more. The buttons could be mounted in cupboards or on top of washing machines.
Amazon stopped offering them for sale this year, but a spokesperson told CNET they were a rousing success in that they got customers used to not shopping with a screen.
"Dash button was an awesome stepping stone into the world of connected home," Amazon vice president Daniel Rausch said, later adding, "We never imagined a future where customers had 500 buttons in their home. We imagined a future where the home was taking care of itself, including replenishing everyday items that customers would rather not worry about."
Now that the AmazonBasics microwave can automatically reorder popcorn, there’s simply no need for a separate $5 button.
The first Amazon Echo device to be discontinued by Amazon without a replacement, the Amazon Tap was a mobile version of its ultra-popular Alexa-enabled smart speakers. Amazon stopped selling the device near the end of 2018, and its product page on Amazon.com tells customers: "This device is no longer available, however Certified Refurbished Amazon Tap is refurbished, tested, and certified to look and work like new."
But as Amazon puts Alexa functionality in nearly everything, a portable device probably isn’t as useful.
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