By now you may have read that Amazon.com has acquired WOOT!, the web site generally agreed to have invented the one-item-per-day shopping format. Although there was no official announcement, Techcrunch cites reliable sources as saying the price paid was a pretty impressive $110 Million. Cash. WOOT!, indeed.
This deal wouldn’t deserve a mention here, except that it shows a whole bunch about business change.
Woot! has come a long way since it started out, selling one techno-gimcrack or another five days a week and generally selling out by 8 or 9 AM every day. They operate every day now, have several different websites, rarely sell out, and . . . well hey, if Amazon.com bought them for that kind of money they’re selling a whole bunch of mostly-discontinued items, wouldn’t you say?
The amazing business change here, assuming you believe what’s being passed about, is that there’s no business change happening at all.
WOOT! is being operated as a subsidiary of Amazon, with no interference, no attempt to change the corporate culture, and with their tongue-in-cheek way of communication being left alone. Amazon’s not exactly a fun-fun-fun kind of brand, so that’s a big deal.
You might think that I’m going to say something pithy, like “sometimes the biggest business change is no business change at all”, but that’s not quite right. Amazon is making a HUGE business change here by acknowledging that “it’s way” isn’t “the way”.
And you have to love this. It’s the letter WOOT! CEO Matt Rutledge sent out to his people to announce the deal:
So WOOT! WOOT! WOOT! for the now-very rich folks at Woot! Change isn’t always easy, but this business change looks like a win for everybody.