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Like any great disrupter, Jeff Bezos embraces big ideas. Space tourism. Package delivery by drones. Washington Post articles with all the consonants you love, but none of the vowels.
The latter idea comes to us via a Fortune profile of the Amazon CEO and Post owner:
Sometimes Bezos’s creativity gets the better of him. [Chief Technology Officer Shailesh] Prakash says the owner suggested a gamelike feature that would allow a reader who didn’t enjoy an article to pay to remove its vowels. He called it “disemvoweling,” and the concept was to allow another reader to pay to restore the missing letters. The idea didn’t go far, Prakash says, noting that “[Editor] Marty [Baron] wasn’t very keen.” Bezos, an unrepentant believer in the power of brainstorming, says, “Working together with other smart people in front of a whiteboard, we can come up with a lot of very bad ideas.”
Just how bad an idea is it really, though? We made a Chrome extension to find out. Install it on your browser, go to a Post article, click the icon of Bezos’ face, and press the “DISEMVOWEL” button. Did it just make Chris Cillizza easier to understand? You be the judge.
Admittedly, the Disemvoweler isn’t sophisticated enough to know whether a Y is being used as a consonant or a vowel. But you get the idea.