HOBOKEN, NJ: Jeff Bezos sells a lot of books, but Marc Lore is an open book.
The notoriously tight-lipped Bezos has famously refused to break out basic info on which products are selling well at Amazon, and how much money is being lost by features like free shipping.
Lore, meanwhile, is looking to upend such secretive corporate habits with what could be unprecedented financial disclosures.
The New Jersey native — whose track record includes selling an earlier startup called Quidsi to Amazon for $550 million and subsequently working at Amazon for Bezos — has raised a staggering $225 million for his battle with the old boss.
Despite the daunting task ahead, the tech executive says he’s done the math and decided to make a bet that so-called “competitive information” is overrated.
“At the end of the day, it’s about executing,” Lore told The Post, adding that opaque financials can actually hit a company’s stock valuation because “people can assume something is worse than it actually is.”
What’s underrated, meanwhile, is the enthusiasm and camaraderie enjoyed by employees at startups where information flows freely, according to Lore.
“I’ve noticed a pattern,” Lore says. “People were motivated when they felt connected to the bigger vision of the company — everyone’s talking about everything all the time — raising money, hiring, deals, partnerships — you heard it all. People felt completely trusted, it’s all based on trust.”
At Jet.com, that will mean real-time updates for investors, employees, suppliers and eventually the public as Jet.com ramps up sales of everything from books and houseware to groceries and appliances.
“We’ll disclose gross merchandise sales, number of new members, average order size, number of orders, repeat rate, units per order,” Lore says. “We’ll give cash flow, cash on hand, whatever people need.”
Some of those numbers won’t be pretty, Lore admits — and the minus signs will persist for a while.
With a Costco-like business model designed to radically root out costs from online supply chains, Jet.com is betting that its rock-bottom prices will help it rack up $20 billion in annual sales by 2020.
The catch: Jet.com is projecting that its operating margins will be negative for the next five years as it spends to achieve the scale it needs to break even.
Jet.com’s open-book policy extends to hiring, with “no exceptions” to salaries pegged at 10 distinct levels throughout the company.
“Most people don’t have issue with people at a higher level making more money,” Lore says, noting that levels are based on skills and experience. “It’s when people are at the same level making more that it’s a problem.”