Jim Huggins (jkhuggins) wrote,
Jim Huggins

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How to perform an apology

Some of you have been following the Amazon-Kindle-1984 debacle. 

Brief summary: the Kindle is an electronic-book reading device.  A while ago, Amazon was selling copies of George Orwell's book 1984.  Only problem was ... some time later, they discovered that the person selling the electronic copies of 1984 through Amazon didn't have the right to do so from the publisher.  So, all the copies that had been sold on Kindle were illegal copies.  In response, Amazon remotely deleted all copies of the book from all Kindles, refunding everyone's money in the process.  This was disconcerting on a number of levels ... primarily that Amazon had the capability to delete something off of a Kindle without the owner's consent.  Of course, there's a delicious irony about this happening to 1984, a book in which society has the ability to retroactively rewrite history.

Anyways ... Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, posted an apology:

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.

Students, please observe ... this is the way to make an apology.  No ducking the issue, no attempts to offer an explanation to justify the bad decision, no trying to change the subject.  Stand up, admit the screw up, own responsibility, and take the hit.

If only everyone would take this level of responsibility ...

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