Amazon, MGM, and fucking hell

How about using some of that money to better pay your staff?

I only get to write for this little personal blog here/there in snatches of time. There will be the stray typo. Don’t let it get to you.

I am supposed to be writing up a neat little funding round at the moment. It can wait.

The big news out this morning is that Amazon is buying MGM, a move that has been expected for some time now. And, as always, the transaction is being treated as something neat. This happens whenever BigCo1 buys BigCo2; folks can’t help but genuflect when confronted with a huge purchase price. Surely the rich of the world know what they are doing?

Sometimes they do. Sometimes they do not. Some rich people are dumb as hell. Jeff is trending towards camp two in my books after designing a yacht that can’t hold a helicopter, necessitating a second, chase yacht. Ah yes, that’s the solution.

More money, more problems!

Which appears to be what’s going on with this MGM deal. Sure, it’s fun to note that Amazon increasingly feels like Ballmer-era Microsoft, presuming that advantage in one market means that it can dominate any. But I can’t help but note the embarassing, awful, soul-crushing tension between Amazon the cutthroat ecommerce machine that grinds up its warehouse staff, steals ideas from its marketplace retailers, and has about as much contrition whenever it does wrong as a dog staring up from a dinner plate it just cleared — and the company that just threw billions at a movie studio.

If Amazon had all that money all the time why didn’t it pay its staff more? Or treat them better at a tiny expense to its margins?

The company’s implicit argument in its The Jungle style of employee management is that the harsh conditions are needed to make its economics work. Anyone who can read an income statement knows that that isn’t true. But now we have another strong indication of just how not true it is.

Amazon bought MGM. I can’t stop laughing while being somewhat angry.

Whenever we read about how the company had to publicly admit that its workers are pissing in bottles, or being pressured to drive unsafely to meet quotas, or having their union quashed, just recall that Jeff will soon be able to helicopter from his support yacht to his main yacht, and then settle down in his own floating cinema — I presume that any Bond Villain of the sort that Jeff surely considers himself would build a theater on their main boat — to watch a movie about another aging boomer who outfoxes his age with moxie, produced by a studio that he bought on the back of underpaying the folks who made him his money.

Huzzah.