In today’s fast-paced business environment, one strategy stands out: leveraging IT as the core of business operations. This concept, which I call “Amazon the Shit Out of It,” is inspired by Amazon’s renowned “working backwards” approach and their remarkable success story.

Amazon’s methodology includes meticulous planning with their six-page memos and a commitment to long-term investment. Unlike companies focused on immediate gains, Amazon invests with a long-term perspective, which allows them to innovate and maintain a competitive edge. Notably, these six-page memos have also led to the banning of PowerPoints for strategic business planning, encouraging more thoughtful and comprehensive documentation.

A key factor in Amazon’s success is their ability to apply IT to virtually any problem. They did not start as a tech company; they began as a bookstore. By fully embracing IT, Amazon transformed into a tech powerhouse with Amazon Web Services (AWS), revolutionizing the tech industry.

This transformation highlights a crucial point: businesses must evolve into IT-centric entities to thrive in the modern world. It is no longer sufficient to excel in your original industry; you must become an IT company that leverages technology as a primary business accelerator. Amazon’s journey from a bookstore to a tech giant exemplifies this evolution.

Consider any traditional business, whether it is selling beer, manufacturing products, or providing services. Often, competition boils down to price and product quality, which can be challenging to differentiate in the eyes of consumers. For many, beer is beer, toilet paper is toilet paper, and detergent is detergent.

This is where IT becomes a game-changer. By integrating advanced IT solutions, businesses can significantly reduce production costs, streamline logistics, resolve supply chain issues, and optimize operations in unprecedented ways. Amazon’s success demonstrates how IT can be a powerful lever, enabling businesses to move beyond price competition and deliver exceptional value.

A crucial part of this strategy is shifting from a mindset of Relentless Rationalization—merely doing the same thing better—to one of Relentless Value Adding. Inspired by Amazon’s “working backwards” methodology, this approach focuses on continually enhancing the customer experience and adding value through innovative uses of technology. It is not just about saving 10% and delivering 10% more; it is about leveraging IT to create new opportunities, solve complex problems, and fundamentally accelerate business growth.

In conclusion, “Amazon the Shit Out of It” is more than a catchy phrase—it is a call to action for businesses to rethink their strategies and embrace IT as the cornerstone of their growth and innovation. By adopting a Relentless Value Adding approach, they can position themselves not only to survive but to thrive in an increasingly competitive and technologically driven world.

I would encourage everyone to read “Working Backwards”.