How Jeff Bezos Turned Narrative into Amazon’s Competitive Advantage

Quality writing in the workplace isn’t a luxury at Amazon — it’s a cultural necessity.

Bezos’s obsession with memo writing became law at Amazon on June 9, 2004.

In the now-famous email, he explained that no Amazon team members would be allowed to bring PowerPoint presentations or even lists of bullet points as documentation for meetings: all ideas were to emerge from densely written, narrative memos:

“The reason writing a good 4 page memo is harder than ‘writing’ a 20 page powerpoint is because the narrative structure of a good memo forces better thought and better understanding of what’s more important than what, and how things are related,” he writes, “Powerpoint-style presentations somehow give permission to gloss over ideas, flatten out any sense of relative importance, and ignore the interconnectedness of ideas.”

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