Once upon this weekend, the New York Times published a story about Amazon that was really, secretly a magic box containing several stories about Amazon.
One of the stories within the story decried the company as a “bruising” workplace where people sob openly and universally, sabotage each other in sanctioned anonymity, and, if they are prudent, pray they don’t get cancer. Another painted an idyllic campus where people who love a challenge are intoxicated by “wrestling big ideas.” One where Amazon was a place where people couldn’t wait to leave. One where people lined up like lottery holders outside a chocolate factory.
Once it hit the social networks, the Times story predictably splintered into a kaleidoscope of contradictory – yet weirdly dovetailed – stories about this vast and mythical corporate rainforest named Amazon. One story documented a white-collar sweatshop that sucked the days and works out of talented folk. One depicted a cult where brainwashed staff accepted abuse as career nirvana.
Some readers vowed to cancel their Prime memberships. Still others kicked a story that lacked sufficient balance or took things out of context. Several VCs and insiders clicked on a story link and found themselves appalled the Times would take down a company where human stress and fatigue were merely the exhaust fumes of a splendid machine. Amazon is a success, dammit! It’s winning and innovating! You can almost hear the fingertips tapping each other, Burns-like, at the thought of Amazon guzzling pain to micturate disruption…
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