The Business Genius of Jeff Bezos

Most people in the world have heard of Amazon and know about its incredible rise over the last few decades. But what do you know about its founder, Jeff Bezos?

Jeffrey Preston Bezos (born 12 January 1964) is an American business magnate, media proprietor, and investor. He is the founder, executive chairman, and former president and CEO of Amazon, the world's largest e-commerce and cloud computing company.

At the age of 30, Bezos abandoned a successful career on Wall Street to start his own business. In 1994, he stepped down as senior vice president of investment firm DE Shaw & Co and moved to Seattle, Washington.

His idea to create Amazon came on the way from New York to Seattle, when he could not find anything interesting to read. This gave him the idea of an online bookstore that would offer a wide selection of books with quick and affordable shipping.

The company’s first office was located in a garage. Today it is one of the largest e-commerce platforms on earth, with an annual turnover of over $500 billion. Bezos has a personal net worth of $160 billion (September 2023) and is currently the third-wealthiest person in the world.

Here are my 20 favourite quotes by Jeff Bezos:

 “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with… and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”

“We are comfortable planting seeds and waiting for them to grow into trees.”

“We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.” 

“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

“If you’re long-term oriented, customer interests and shareholder interests are aligned.”

“The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works.”

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful”

“All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworth’s.”

“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.”

“If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunities on the table.”

“Most decisions should probably be made with around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.”

“We need big failures in order to move the needle. If we don’t, we’re not swinging enough. You really should be swinging hard, and you will fail, but that’s okay.”

“I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”

“To get something new done you have to be stubborn and focused, to the point that others might find unreasonable.”

“To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’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 get there.”

“We’re going to build a road to space so that our kids and their kids can build the future. And we need to do that. We need to do that to solve the problems here on Earth. It’s not about escaping.”

“In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.”

“Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy - they’re given after all. Choices can be hard.”

“We all know that originality is valuable … The world wants you to be typical - in a thousand ways, it pulls at you. Don’t let it happen.”

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