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Washington Post slams Blue Origin

Capitalism in space: In a long article today the Washington Post — owned by Jeff Bezos — harshly criticized the management at Bezos’s space company Blue Origin, confirming earlier stories last week (here and here) and published by other news sources that accused the company of poor management and an unhealthy corporate culture. From the Post’s article:

The new management’s “authoritarian bro culture,” as one former employee put it, affected how decisions were made and permeated the institution, translating into condescending, sometimes humiliating, comments and harassment toward some women and a stagnant top-down hierarchy that frustrated many employees.

Though the story strongly confirms those earlier reports, I found it somewhat hilarious in that it seemed far more interested in “woke” issues than Blue Origin’s inability to get anything actually built.

However, that Jeff Bezos allowed the Washington Post to publish it suggests strongly that Bezos is getting ready to take harsh action at Blue Origin, and is laying the groundwork through his newspaper. If so, this is excellent news, as it might mean this very disappointing company might finally get back on track.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Mark

    If it’s true that as reported some women were treated to condescending comments, I can almost guarantee that the Blue Origin ‘Authoritarian Bros’ metaphorically stabbed many men in the back, kicked them in the crotch, and put the heels of expensive shoes on their throats.
    I’ll repeat my summation of an insightful cartoon, in which Dilbert is on a walk with his mother. Along the way his mother asks him quite innocently, “How was work Dilbert?” At that Dilbert goes on a mini-rant about his job saying;
    “I’m like a fly stuck in a thick tar of despair.
    Incompetence hangs in the air like the cold stench of death.
    I’m drowning and monkeys dressed as lifeguards are throwing me anvils. As he rants on, his mother responds with. “Next time just say ‘Its fine.’”
    At Blue Origin, among the management and leadership ranks, I wonder how high was the count of monkeys dressed as lifeguards throwing anvils at their engineering and production staff.

  • mpthompson

    …that Jeff Bezos allowed the Washington Post to publish it suggests strongly that Bezos is getting ready to take harsh action at Blue Origin…

    This fact alone is probably more significant than the sum total of all the allegations — true or not true.

  • Doubting Thomas

    The article published by the the Washington Post did not strike me as all that more informative than the original internet posts or articles. It is reminiscent of Soviet Union days, when an article or series of articles was the key indicator that some person or group was going to get their house cleaned by the State.

    I have less optimism than Robert, that the result will get BO moving towards actually doing something worthwhile towards space exploration at some speed besides “deads slow”. They will continue suing competitors and trying to grift the US Government.

    I suspect that the resultant purge will eliminate the good with the bad but will be praised in a subsequent Washington Post article as creating a new company that “looks like us”. This will only result in a form of space exploration as defined as the space between ones ears and the area around the navel.

  • William

    Blue Origin will likely be purged of older, white, male engineers. The new culture will be anti math, anti punctuality and only allow diversity

  • ” . . . seemed far more interested in “woke” issues than [America’s] inability to get anything actually built.”

    Our epitaph.

  • Jeff Wright

    William could be right…but I disagree with Robert: this isn’t Jeff using WaPo as a cudgel. Zuckerburg saying don’t throw me in the reg briar patch may be that. No, Jeff thought he bought their loyalty.

    The fool will sue his own company…or

    -He will go on being mediocre Salieri to AMuskADEUSpaceX…and maybe sell Wapo for a dollar to The National Review just to see the bloodbath.

    I absolve you…I absolve you all…

  • Edward

    From the article:

    “… [Y]ou basically need a new executive team and a totally new culture.”

    How true. The culture is not one of accomplishment, and the executive team is the reason.

    “He’s super jealous of SpaceX,” said one industry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private matters. “He’s really worried about them. That is very clear.”

    And he should be jealous. SpaceX is the company that Bezos wanted and paid for, but he mismanaged his company into something that has difficulty reaching its goals. The people who work at SpaceX get to brag that they work at SpaceX, but the people at Blue Origin have much less to brag about.

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