Three takeaways from Jeff Bezos’s meetings with staff at the Washington Post (2013). Bezos, founder of Amazon, agreed to buy the Washington Post for US$250m.

Asked how he would define success, Bezos replied: growth. Continuing to contract by cutting the staff would lead to extinction, he said, “or, at best, irrelevance.”

“All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworth’s,” added Bezos, who created the world’s leading online retailer [Amazon]. “The number one rule has to be: Don’t be boring.”

The newspaper faced two business problems: the Rewrite Problem and the Debundling Problem. In the former, the newspaper could spend weeks or months on a project that a Web site like the Huffington Post could rewrite “in 17 minutes.” In the latter, whereas people once bought a paper and read and passed sections of it around, the Web has debundled the paper so that people can read one story and move on to a different site.

“We can’t have people swooping in to read one article,” he said, adding that the paper should not be seeking to bolster hits from such one-time casual readers. “What you can’t do is go for the lowest common denominator, because then what you have is mediocrity.”