The Technium

Effective Apology Skills

One of the essential skills in life is learning how to apologize with grace and honesty. For real. A genuine apology can move mountains.

We expect character from corporations even though they are not people, but when business do behave like upstanding people, we notice. Amazon did a silly thing recently by disabling books that they mistakenly sold on the Kindle. Founder Jeff Bezos just posted an apology that raised him two notches on my Buddha scale. It takes courage and wisdom to apologize as genuine and effectively as his did. Man, he is good.

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.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos

Bezos With Kindle Dx 763

  • Jerry Vandesic

    I don’t buy it. There’s too much hypocrisy from Bezos to make me think he feels anything for his customer. A while back Bezos wrote the following: “When someone buys a book, they are also buying the right to resell that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want. Everyone understands this.” This is from an open letter to the Writers’ Guild, defending Amazon’s sales of used books.

    Now that the money is blowing in a different directly, Bezos has changed his tune and is happy to screw over his customers in order to line his pocket. The 1984 debacle is just one example of how Jeff is willing to put his finances before the rights of his customers.

  • Jerry, corporations WILL make mistakes. Of all large corporations, Amazon is among the best in trying to right its mistakes. Can you name a company that does better? And Amazon does so well in part because Jeff admits to mistakes. I’ve seen people come up to him and say they are a customer and the first thing he says is” What can we do better?”

  • DonDong

    When companies say “sorry” with a discount, or free shipping or a refund, THAT gets my attention. That seems genuine. When a company gets criticized, THEN says “sorry”, well, talk is cheap. Remember when AG, Janet Reno incinerated dozens of children (and adults)in Waco, because she thought they were being abused? She was the first pol I can remember saying “I take full responsibility”. She didn’t resign. She didn’t pay out money to relatives. Actually she ran for a senate seat not long after. Bezos just took “full responsibility”.