Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Amazon is living through interesting times.
In many ways, it's a typical tech company.
It solves a lot of First World problems -- goodness, I don't have to go to the mall anymore -- yet manages to lurch to the wrong side of Big Brother controversy a little too often.
The mere mention of its Ring "smart" doorbells or its Rekognition facial-recognition system can make the backs of my knees begin to itch with distaste.
Why, even Amazon executives don't seem entirely sure about the company's direction.
Just a couple of weeks ago, two of them appeared to entirely contradict each other as to the ethics of new technology.
Actually, talking of Amazon's executives, the company is very keen for them to be careful about how they speak.
An absorbing CNBC profile of Amazon's public policy and communication head, Jay Carney, offered a marvelous little insight into the company's greatest concerns.
It's desperate, apparently, not to be seen as another questionable tech company like Google and Facebook.
It wants to be seen as an entirely different sort of questionable tech company.
You see, it's Carney's job to ensure that Amazon is telling its story, as opposed to the one offered by, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Part of telling that story was described in this delicious sentence:
Amazon's leadership instructed certain policy and sales people to stop using words that implied market power, such as "platform" or "crushing it" in meetings.
Amazon may have enormous market power, but it's desperate for people not to know that.
Amazon isn't a platform like Facebook. It's merely, some might gruff, a power-crazed organization desperate to crush all competition. Like Facebook.
I'm sorry, I didn't meant to say "crush all competition." That was a careless platform for a crushing reaction from Amazon.
What I meant was "satisfying customers so completely that they don't think anything exists outside Amazon World."
It's quaint that Amazon goes out of its way to insist it's small.
It does, though, show an understanding that perception is at least 60 percent of reality.
You don't want to seem like the big, bad wolf.
Better to be the lovable, domesticated coyote.
Personally, I think it's wise that no executive ever uses phrases like crushing it.
It's aggressively crude macho posturing.
Amazon doesn't want to be seen as a company that's bulked up its biceps in order to seem more powerful and attractive.
No, it's merely a cuddly little thing that exists to make you happier.
Even as its facial-recognition system follows you wherever you go and its Alexa listens to everything you say.