In 1994, Jeff Bezos leaves a secure job at a New York hedge fund to launch an online bookstore in Seattle by 1999. That bookstore – amazon.com, is worth $30 billion and Bezos is named TIME’s “Person of The Year”. But from December 1999 to October 2001, Amazon stock drops from $106 a share to $6 a share. Journalists refered to the company as Amazon.toast, but Bezos survived the .com crash. And in 2005, he launches Amazon Prime with free two-day shipping, which fundamentally changes how we shop and what we expect from online retail. Over the next decade, Bezos outmaneuvers tech giants, like Google, Microsoft, and Apple, and dominates two industries: cloud computing, and smart home devices. Today, Amazon employs over a million people and delivers more than 10 billion packages a year.
When Walter Isaacson, author of The Steve jobs, Albert Einstein and Leonardo DaVinci biographies is asked, “what living person do you most want to write about?” his answer is Jeff Bezos. “Davinci, Jobs and Einstein were very smart”, he says, but that’s not what made them special. Smart people are a dime a dozen and often don’t amount to much. What counts is being creative and imaginative. That’s what makes someone a true innovator. And that’s why my answer to the question is Jeff Bezos.
There are three fundamental mindsets that seemed to make Bezos a true innovator. Bezos has infused these mindsets into the Amazon culture, which has led to the transformation of online retail, cloud computing, and smart home devices.
The three mindsets can be conveyed with the following directives.
- Maintain a day one mentality
- Adopt a three-year perspective.
- Fail appropriately.
StoryShot #1: Maintain a Day One Mentality
Imagine you just quit your job. And today is the first day you get to work in a new business, full time. Your mind is full of ideas and you have an abundance of energy and enthusiasm to solve your customer’s problems.
If you can treat each day like it’s the first day of your entrepreneurial journey, you will come to work with the energy and enthusiasm to conduct new experiments and constantly iterate and innovate. Bezos has had a day, one mentality for the last 27 years. Each morning, he thinks back to the day he quit his job in New York and drove to Seattle to start Amazon and brings the same level of energy and sense of urgency to his work.
Most business leaders lose the day, one mentality after becoming profitable and pulling ahead of their competition. But when Amazon became profitable and pulled ahead of their competition, Bezos, didn’t lose a day. One mentality because he remained obsessively focused on the customer. Customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, baseless.
Even when they report being happy in businesses grade, even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better. And a constant desire to delight customers drives us to constantly invent on their behalf. Since customers are happy for about a day, each day is a new opportunity for Bezos and his team to try new things and improve the Amazon customer experience innovation mindset.
StoryShot #2: Adopt a Three-Year Perspective
Bezos says: “When I have a good quarterly conference call with wall street, people will stop me and say, congratulations on your quarter. And I say, thank you. But what I’m really thinking is that quarter was baked three years ago. Right now I’m working on a quarter that will reveal itself three years from now.”
Bezos sees all business opportunities and business problems with a three-year perspective, by adopting a three-year perspective, he’s been able to take smart risks and maximize innovation. When Bezos started Amazon in 1994, the internet was tiny if you people knew what it was. But basal saw that the worldwide web was growing at 2300% a year at that rate, a good online business would have a flood of customers coming in three years.
So he made a list of products he could sell online, chose books, continually improved his online bookstore and stayed patient. When Amazon stock dropped by 90. Bezos took a step back and reviewed the company’s internal metrics, which were all trending in a positive direction. So he ignored the short-term outlook and the analysts that insisted that Amazon was doomed Amazon prime didn’t make much sense from a one-year perspective.
In fact, in 12 months after lodging, Amazon prime, Amazon lost millions of. As Bezos says, when you offer a free all, you can eat buffet of two-day shipping, the heavy eaters show up first, it’s scary. It’s like, oh my God, did I just say as many prawns as you can eat, but Bezos zoomed out, took a three-year perspective and saw that shipping costs were coming down.
And the membership three years from now would be a balance of high volume and low volume shippers. When Elon Musk and space X were getting all the attention in the space industry, Bezos told the employees at a space company, blue. Be the tortoise and not the Hare. And remember the Latin motto, grit Adam for roasted her step-by-step ferociously today.
You’d probably be surprised to know that Bezos doesn’t work a hundred hour workweeks or make a hundred critical decisions a day. Hazel’s believes that no more than a few high quality hours of work and a few high quality decisions will matter three years. So Bezos prioritizes eight hours of sleep. So we can think clearly in the morning and make just three high IQ decisions that will have residual effects three years from now, when you adopt a three-year perspective, you’ll stop stressing about the 30 things in your to-do list and the 20 decisions you need to make today since only a few tasks and decisions will impact your life three years from now, if you have a three-year perspective, a single loss or failure will seem less devastating because, you know, if you stay patient and continuing.
One loss or failure will be insignificant three years from now, three years seems to be the ideal amount of time. Thinking three years out is long enough to filter out short-term noise. But short enough to reasonably predict when trying to predict what will matter in three years, ask yourself what’s not going to change over the next three years.
Bezos knew that Amazon customers were always going to want lower prices, fast delivery, and a big. So he put all his energy into those things and ignored short-term profit innovation mindset.
StoryShot #3: Fail Appropriately
“Failure and invention are inseparable twins” Bezos says. To invent, you have to experiment.
And if you know, in advance that something’s going to work, it’s not an experiment. Most large organizations embrace the idea of invention, but are not willing to suffer the string of failed experiments necessary to. Amazon is a huge company that continually innovate because Bezos insists that Amazon’s failures increase.
As the company grows, the more money Amazon generates, the more unconventional products and services they need to try. If Amazon’s not experiencing multi-billion dollar failures, they’re doing something. Bazell surprise the world and became a dominant technology company because he funded expensive technology product experiments that fail the most notable failure was a fire phone, but the third one was a good failure because it allowed Amazonians to acquire the skills necessary to develop echo.
And Alexa Bezos is able to maintain a pro failure mindset because he maintains childlike curiosity and he lives according to a regret minimization. When I’m 80, he says, I want to have minimized the number of regrets that I have in my life. And most of our regrets or acts of omission things, we didn’t try the paths on traveled.
Those are the things that haunt us in the end, maintain a day, one entrepreneurial spirit, adopt a three-year perspective and fail appropriately. That is ensure the size of your experiments scale with your. A bad failure is a result of bad execution. A good failure is a failed experiment that teaches you something valuable innovation and experimental failure.
Go hand in hand. If you follow those three directives, you’ll start to think more like Jeff Bezos, true innovator, and be willing to your way to making products and doing work that changes people’s lives. That was the core message that I get from an event in water. Jeff Bezos is one of the best entrepreneurs ever.
And this book is full of his wisdom.