Jeff Bezos’ Grand Vision
ReCode: Watch Jeff Bezos Lay Out His Grand Vision for Amazon’s Future Dominance in This 1999 Video:
On what would distinguish Amazon: “Exhaustive selection.”
On Bezos’s decision to walk away from a good job to start a business in Amazon that he thought would likely fail: “When you’re 80, you want to minimize the number of regrets you have in your life … I think a lot of people live their lives this way. Very few are nerdy and dorky enough to call it a ‘regret minimization framework,’ but that is what I came up with.”
On where to focus fear: “We should be afraid of our customers … they’re loyal to us right up to the second that someone offers them better service … and that has been our mantra. We’re trying very hard to be a customer-focused company and not a competitor-focused company.”
On the power of customer reviews: “It’s customers helping customers make purchasing decisions. And that’s what is community … businesses cannot create community. All businesses can do is facilitate community.”
On the goal of personalized product recommendations: To “build an electronic soulmate for that customer.”
On thinking big and focusing on the customer: “Our vision at Amazon.com is to be the world’s most customer-centric company. We don’t view ourselves as a book store or a music store. We view ourselves as a customer store … that’s the place where we’re going to put extra effort to make sure we are always the best.”
On favoring growth versus profits: “Amazon.com is a famously unprofitable company. And the question is: Are we concerned about it? The answer is, in the short term, no; and in the long term, of course. Every company needs to be profitable at some point in time … Our strategy, and we’ve consistently articulated this, is that we believe that this opportunity is so large that it would be a mistake for any management team not to invest in it very aggressively at this kind of critical category formation stage.”
“We don’t claim it’s the right strategy. We just claim it’s ours. But we do think it’s right. And that it would be a mistake to try to optimize for short-term profitability.”
Three things that stand out to me here: regret-minimization, obsessive focus on the customer, and owning your strategy.
This stuff is very powerful: Amazon is one of those juggernauts that have seemingly been unstoppable since its founding more than 20 years ago. All logic practically goes against the things that they do (like, investing everything back into the company thus reducing profits to near zero), yet here they are, strong as ever, and as focused on what they’ve always said out to do.
It’s impeccable faith in one’s vision which dictates everything else. It’s operating on an extremely long time horizon. It’s working on things that will remain to be true for generations to come.
That’s what separates Amazon and Jeff Bezos from everyone else.