The Apology

I saw this over at Justin Taylor’s Blog.  Amazon’s Bezos is one good leader.  Now the question:  Has your apology ever looked like his?  If this will result in greater credibility and trust, why don’t we do this more?  Yes, there is a price to pay. It takes courage, it takes a willingness to deny self/ego and appear fallible (which we are anyway).

A couple of months ago, customers were buying copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from Amazon for their Kindle, and it turns out that such editions were unauthorized. So Amazon deleted them from purchasers’ Kindle devices and credited the money back. An outcry ensued.

But Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offered an apology for the way in which they handled the situation. It’s a nice model of admitting fault and accepting blame. It’s short and to the point, with no sugar-coating or predictable passive platitudes of qualification (i.e., “we regret if anyone was offended…”).

Here’s what he wrote:

This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.


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