From our Swindon Correspondent:
There’re two stories on the same day that I would normally count as canaries in the coalmine for a company heading for disaster:-
‘a true double helix in shape and structure, this unique building will feature two walkable paths of landscaped terrain that will spiral up the outside of the building, featuring plantings you may find on a hike in the blue ridge mountains of virginia,’ says amazon. the company says that ‘the helix’ will also host an artist-in-residence program for local creative talents. meanwhile, tours of the structure several weekends a month will allow the public to experience the building in person.
This isn’t just in the C Northcote Parkinson thing of dedicated head offices, specially built, but also the thing of succumbing to the desires of architects rather than just building something that works (which is generally a cuboid).
It’s frippery, unnecessary for the job of stuff being sent out from warehouses. No-one has ever proven that this stuff works any better than a regular office building but a well-designed one.
I’m sure there’s someone who has an observation about this other than me, but there’s something that happens to companies when founders die or retire. To these people, it isn’t just a way to have their own personal Gulfstream G5, it’s about the vision and the mission. It’s personal to them. Steve Jobs’ obsession over detail has been lost a little, Disney struggled for years after Walt died.
I can’t help but wonder if Bezos feels like his dream is done. He’s built the store that sells everything from A to Z, it’s now going to be handed over to the guy running the AWS part of it. Maybe he’ll do a great job, but when the next disruption happens, is he going to have the mindset for it?