1- lessons, concepts and phrases repeatedly said by Jeff Bezos - founder of Amazon.com - to his employees, partners, investors and the media.
"Get BIG fast."
“Base your strategy on things that won’t change.”
"We are generally customer-centric, we are generally long-term oriented and we genuinely like to invent. Most companies are not those things."
"Every time we hire someone, he or she should raise the bar for the next hire, so that the overall talent pool is always improving."
"We start with the customer and then work backwards."
"There are two kinds of retailers: there are those folks who work to figure how to charge more, and there are companies that work to figure how to charge less, and we are going to be the second, full stop."
"We pay attention to what our competitors do but it's not where we put our energy."
"The Internet is disrupting every media industry. You know, people can complain about that, but complaining is not a strategy.
"You can work long, you can work hard, you can work smart, but at Amazon you can't chose two out of three."
“We are willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time."
“Our culture is friendly and intense, but if push comes to shove we’ll settle for intense.”
“If you want to be inventive, you have to be willing to fail.”
“In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.”
"In the long run, if you take care of customers... that is taking care of stakeholders ."
"Amazon is not happening to book selling. The future is happening to bookselling."
"I'm gonna put the vast majority of my energy, attention and dollars into building a great product or service and put a smaller amount into shouting about it, marketing it. Because I know that if I build a great product or service, my customers will tell each other."
“If you already know it's going to work, it's not an experiment, and only through experimentation can you get real invention. The most important inventions come from trial and error with lots of failure, and the failure is critical, and it's also embarrassing.”
To show dissatisfaction
“Are you lazy or just incompetent?”
“I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”
“Do I need to go down and get the certificate that says I’m CEO of the company to get you to stop challenging me on this?”
[After reviewing the annual plan from the supply chain team] “I guess supply chain isn’t doing anything interesting next year.”
[After reading a start-of-meeting memo] “This document was clearly written by the B team. Can someone get me the A team document? I don’t want to waste my time with the B team document.”
[After an engineer’s presentation] “Why are you wasting my life?”
Amazon's Leadership Principles
The text below was taken from Amazon's leadership principles page. They include some known Jeffisms and some new ones.
Our Leadership Principles aren’t just a pretty inspirational wall hanging. These Principles work hard, just like we do. Amazonians use them, every day, whether they’re discussing ideas for new projects, deciding on the best solution for a customer’s problem, or interviewing candidates. It’s just one of the things that makes Amazon peculiar.
Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.
Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job".
Invent and Simplify
Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here". As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.
Are Right, A Lot
Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.
Learn and Be Curious
Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.
Hire and Develop the Best
Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.
Insist on the Highest Standards
Leaders have relentlessly high standards - many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their teams to deliver high quality products, services and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.
Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.
Bias for Action
Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.
Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed expense.
Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.
Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them.
Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.
BONUS: Memorable things Jeff Bezos did
He always leaves an empty chair at meetings to symbolize that the most important person - the customer - is also there.
BONUS: Books he reccomended
“If you read The Remains of the Day, which is one of my favorite books, you can't help but come away and think, I just spent 10 hours living an alternate life and I learned something about life and about regret,” Bezos told Newsweek in 2009. “You can't do that in a blog post.”
Buy the book here (affiliate link).