Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is a titan entrepreneur. Many books, articles, blog posts have been written by people about how Amazon works, but Jeff Bezos has written his own take on it: Shareholder letters that give a unique insight into how Amazon operates.
In Jeff Bezos own words, the Shareholder Letters contain the core principles and philosophy that have guided him in creating, building and leading Amazon and Blue Origin. Walter Isaacson, who wrote the book Jobs, also wrote Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos. This book is a compilation of all of the Letters to Shareholder Jeff Bezos has written over the last 22 years; it has hidden in plain sight lessons on how Bezos grows Amazon.
With that said, here are the top 10 most powerful lessons from the book:
- Every Day is Day 1. You must keep your hunger for success. Always approach the day like when you first started chasing your dreams. Stay hungry, you can achieve more.
- Focus on the Customer, Not Competition. Your customer will never be completely satisfied. This is good because it will push you to grow. If you are obsessed with your customer you will not have to worry about competition as much.
- Decrease Regret Mindset. Imagine yourself at 80 on your deathbed. Make sure you won’t regret the actions you’re taking today when you’re old. Regrets are one of life’s greatest pains, so minimize them.
- Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term. Amazon is always thinking about the future. While their competitors are focused on the next month, Amazon is looking 10+ years ahead. People who anticipate new technologies will always stay ahead of everyone else.
- Always be Adapting. “Experiment patiently, accept failure, protect saplings and double down when you see customer delight.” Bezos encourages his employees to take on a pioneer spirit. This keeps them searching for treasure and endlessly succeeding.
- Use Stories. Stories are one of the strongest ways to communicate. Stories resonate with the human mind. Use this framework in your pitches, but don’t make them too long.
- Avoid PowerPoint and Slide Presentations. They are boring. They are also usually a waste of time. Don’t beat around the bush, share your ideas in a direct and short manner.
- Build High Standards at Your Company. “You can work long, hard, or smart, but at Amazon you can’t choose two out of three”. Amazon is building something that employees can tell their grandchildren about. Great success is never easy, embrace the hard work. It’s worth it.
- High-Quality and High-Speed Decisions. This is hard to do as a company, but it can be done. You want to get to a place where you are making the right decisions and doing it quickly. You will of course make mistakes, but keep pushing.
- Listen to Your Heart. Your heart/gut can be extremely powerful when it comes to guidance. They are responsible for some of the best decisions ever made by human beings. Use them.
Below is an animated core message from Jeff Bezos’ book ‘Invent & Wander’: