Once upon a time in the early days of the Internet, I was running Fatbrain Books and we had an interesting idea: let customers submit their own reviews of books. They could assign star ratings, from 1 to 5, title their review, and add body text.
Unfortunately, it was met by outrage from from publishers and some authors, and they threatened to sue us. The CEO of Simon & Schuster demanded I take a redeye to New York and meet with him the next morning or he would put us out of business. Someone had submitted a 1-star review on our site of Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of FDR. She had won a Pulitzer Prize for that book and I had enabled some idiot on the Internet to trash it.
6 months later, Amazon copied our review feature and the publishers turned their wrath on them. Both companies were so fragile in the day I thought we might both collapse under the weight of the lawsuits.
But Jeff, with advice from Tim O'Reilly, did something brilliant: they looked at sales data and determined that books which had both 1 & 5 star reviews sold the best, proving once again that controversy attracts attention and the only real problem in life is to be ignored. The publishers backed off and reviews became a staple of the Internet. That's when I decided Jeff was brilliant.
He did something that looks terribly dumb lately and the National Enquirer did a big story about it. I wouldn't want to be him. And yet, he was smart enough to investigate how they did their reporting and brave enough to write a public essay about it on Medium. I think it's brilliant and extremely enlightening. You?