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Business Lessons From Jeff Bezos

It is pretty telling when you speak of a few leaders people stop and pay attention.

Something I have noticed over the last five years is how much Jeff Bezos name ensures people stop and listen to the words you say.

From reading the seminal book The Everything Store, read each shareholder leader (PDF’s available here) and watching hours of Jeff Bezos interviews here are the lessons I have taken from Amazon and Jeff Bezos.

The Lessons From Jeff Bezos

Obsess about customers – never competition. This is vitally important for their success and how they have led all decisions to be made.
Faster and easier is a mantra Amazon has delivered on constantly and is why so many of us invest in Prime.

Build Vs Buy Vs Sell: AWS was created to power its own business, was proven to work and then power much of the web.

High Standards – Customer service was one area Amazon invested in early and frequently, if you have had ever had an issue you are refunded and given a free month of prime.

Long term thinking over short term thinking – this has been managed internally and with investors with “long-term market leadership considerations”. Remember Amazon is rarely profitable and that’s been to their advantage.

Flywheel – Whatever you add to your business should be a cog in your flywheel, if it doesn’t add value then it shouldn’t be added.
Prime Now, Prime Video, AWS etc all add incredible value.

Lead – Leaders should see risk as an investment and tackle head-on versus running away from the challenge.

Always Long Term – Take the right long term bets by seeing how technology has opened up pathways.
Jeff Bezos famously says Amazon have a ten-year strategy and executes on it, how far ahead is your company strategy?

Measurement – In many interviews, you will hear Jeff and other senior execs say how much they measure but also how you should trust your instincts and your gut.
“I believe in the power of wandering. All of my best decisions in business and in life have been made with heart, intuition, guts… not analysis.” — Jeff Bezos

Keep Pushing – Something that many businesses are guilty of internally is stopping pushing when they feel like they have won or are winning. Take the foot of the gas and you will be taking a step backwards.

Partnerships – Amazon knew the risk of not being able to expand their product lines. When they took on and expanded their third-party seller’s program it was a huge risk but they believed in their model and would keep pushing. This move has increased their marketplace model, their product SKU’s and now third parties completed 60%+ of the orders.

Leverage Everything – Amazon leverage other companies logistics. For example, existing quick shipping options created prime, this then created “prime expectations”.
Delivery companies are now being eaten alive by Amazon.

Test – A/B testing was always essential to take learnings from and drive industries forward. A/B test allowed new ideas to be tested quickly, this improve customers experiences.

Known To Leverage – Understand what you business is known for, play to these perceived strengths in the press and behind the scenes crave out other business areas you can leverage.

Culture = Essential – from the front door desks created to being frugal, this enables everyone to understand this is what your company represents.
If innovation is part of your subculture then innovation is expected and embraced.

“Successful Failure” – is something Amazon gave embraced time and time again, a failed fire phone led to dominating the e-book and e-reader market.

The slides included in this post are from an upcoming presentation I will be keynoting in January & February “the next normal”, email directly for a copy of the deck.

Learn from Jeff Bezo’s successor Andy Jassy with his communication masterpiece


Amazon Must Watch Video’s

Amazon Empire
– A great follow up viewing is this PBS documentary on YouTube

The Story Behind Prime
– The story of Amazon Prime being an engineers idea not from the c-suite.

The Everything Store
– Talks At Google

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