By Brad Powell

It may be that no one can figure out how to save newspapers.

But if it's possible, I believe Jeff Bezos will do it.

The Amazon CEO and founder, of course, bought the Washington Post for $250 million two weeks ago. Having watched Bezos' management of Amazon for years, I expect to see dramatic change at the Post. And as a Post subscriber I have a stake (though smaller than Bezos') in the paper's future. The local news, national news, world news, sports coverage and culture that the Post delivers each day is important to me.

The hard truth is that, like most newspapers, the Post has run a ruinously conservative game plan even as their industry implodes.

Afraid of missteps, the paper's business side has been slow to experiment and instead clung to old models even as they fail. They spent years trying to port the old display-advertising model over to the web, for instance -- and continue to tweak rather than rethink obsolete mechanisms.

Bezos and Amazon have taken a radically different approach. Born as much from experimental failure as success, Amazon has operated on a combination of creative impulse and long-term vision. And that has allowed it to play a leading role in the permanent disruption of retail. Here in the Washington area, we all get to watch as the frumpy, musty old world of print journalism gets a similar shake-up – and hopefully a viable rebirth.

The key principles that Amazon (and Axiaware, among many others) have employed are no secret to those of us in the technology and development industries. Look for them in action at the Post. They include:

1. Accept that there's no such thing as a perfect plan – and keep moving forward anyway. Why is that important? No plan can provide the context necessary to anticipate every potential problem, not to mention its solution. Only implementation yields the feedback you need – so get to work and prepare to make adjustments on the fly.

2. Set many short-term goals instead of drawing up a single, long-term roadmap. The goals should follow a general vision for the project or the business, but not hew to a hard-and-fast, unchanging set of benchmarks and requirements.

3. React to change along the way, altering goals and tactics as necessary. The landscape will change. We see it all the time at Axiaware as we work with clients in the financial industry. There are always new competitors and new financial products, customer habits continually evolve, and the government frequently devises new regulations. The news industry is no less volatile – flexibility will be key for the Post, its leadership and its staff.

4. Embrace failure. Amazon hasn't succeeded at everything it has tried. For instance, it went head-to-head with eBay on online auctions and lost. But the auction failure led to Amazon's third-party seller program, a success.

"I can guarantee you that everything we do will not work. And, I am never concerned about that," Bezos said in 2011. "We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details."

If Bezos can instill these principles at the Post, we have reason for optimism. But if things don't work out perfectly in the first year or two, don't count them out. Bezos has shown remarkable patience with Amazon – and so should we with the Post. In my experience working with these principles, success is the most likely outcome.