How in the world can these two paragraphs actually exist in the same article?
The company’s customer service—which Mr. Bezos later called “the cornerstone of Amazon.com”—started with the founder himself answering emails. By 1999 it was manned by 500 representatives packed into cubicles and answering customers’ questions.
The people handling these emails were generally overqualified and underpaid, with no experience in bookselling. Disaffected academics were popular because they were well-read and could supposedly help find books on a huge variety of topics. They were paid about $10 to $13 an hour, but with the possibility of promotions and stock options dangled before their glazed eyes. The best of them could answer a dozen emails a minute. Those who dropped below seven were often fired.
Absolutely nothing about that second paragraph says “cornerstone of Amazon.com.” If that’s how the cornerstone of the company is treated I’d hate to see what the other teams at Amazon have to put up with.
The quote is from Jeff Bezos of Amazon: Birth of a Salesman by Richard L. Brandt in the Wall Street Journal. Also, it’s atrocious that a writer can put those paragraphs next to each other without calling Bezos on what is obviously a ludicrous assertion.