If you are an entrepreneur or want to be one or work in a startup or a big company and want to learn from one of the best entrepreneur in the world, you should read this awesome blog about lessons to learn from Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. Here is the two-pager on that blog, in case you don’t want to read the entire blog.
####Be Stubborn and Flexible
According to Bezos, good entrepreneurs must be stubborn and flexible. When referring to Amazon, Bezos says, “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”
####Stick with Two Pizzas teams When teams grow larger, they have a tendency to become less efficient. This inefficiency reduces the output of the team and leads to waste. So keep teams small and let them test.
####Never Stop Experimenting An awesome quote from Bezos:
“If you double the number of experiments you do per year you’re going to double your inventiveness.”
####Be Willing to Invent
####Think Long Term Once, when asked about Amazon’s revenue growth, Bezos couldn’t even remember the exact growth percentage, something rare for a CEO. When asked why he didn’t know, he said:
“I’m thinking a few years out. I’ve already forgotten those numbers.”
####Tie Experimentation, Willingness to Invent,and Innovation All Together At his talk in November 2012 at the re: Invent conference, Bezos explains how:
Innovation = Experimentation + Willingness to Invent
“Now there are a couple of other things that are essential for innovation and invention that are not as fun. One of them is you have to have a willingness to fail. You have to have a willingness to be misunderstood for long periods of time. If you do something in a new way, and I don’t care what it is, people are initially going to misunderstand it relative to the traditional way…“
“.. So it’s okay though if you have a willingness to be misunderstood for long periods of time, if you have a willingness to fail, then what you can do is you can ramp up your rate of experimentation. So successful invention is inventions that customers care about. It’s actually relatively easy to invent new things that customers don’t care about…“
####Present and Discuss Memoranda, not Slide Shows “The traditional kind of corporate meeting is somebody gets up in the front of the room and presents…some kind of slide show. In our view…you get very little information that way, you get bullet points. It’s easy for the presenter but difficult for the audience. And so, instead, what we do is all of our meetings are structured around a 6-page narrative memo. And when you have to write your ideas out in complete sentences and complete paragraphs, it forces a deeper clarity of thinking.”
####Obsess About Customers “Focusing on the customer makes a company more resilient.”
At Amazon, there is a common line of thinking: “Start with the customer and work backwards.“
####Base Your Strategy on Things That Won’t Change Bezos at re: Invent, November 2012:
“I very frequently get the question: ‘what’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘what’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two – because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time….in our retail business, we know that customers want low prices and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now…“
####Identify and Remove Risk According to Bezos, the best entrepreneurs don’t like risk and work to identify it and remove it in the early days of a business. He says:
“Good entrepreneurs don’t like risk; they seek to reduce risk…Starting a company is already risky, and then you systematically eliminate risk step by step in those early days….you kind of need to systematically identify risk and then as the company gets bigger and more robust, you can start taking risks again but in those early days a lot of it is about ‘okay I have a good idea, how do we reduce risk?’”
####Get Started Now to Avoid Regret Later When Bezos was thinking about building Amazon, he had to decide whether to start the company or keep his good job on Wall Street. He created a framework to use for making the decision that he calls a Regret Minimization Framework. It helped him realize he didn’t want to not do it and regret it later. This fear of regret is one of the key reasons why he decided to go ahead and start Amazon.
####Bezos Gives Entrepreneurs Advice At his talk at re: Invent, he gave some direct advice to all entrepreneurs:
1) “Never chase the hot thing….you need to position yourself and wait for the wave. And the way you do that is you pick something you’re passionate about. That’s the number one piece of advice that I’d give to someone that wants to start a company or start a new endeavor inside of a bigger company. Make sure it’s something you’re interested in, something you’re passionate about. Missionaries build better products…I’d take a missionary over a mercenary any day. Mercenaries want to flip the company and get rich, missionaries want to build a great product or service – and one of those paradoxes is usually the missionaries end up making more money anyway…..pick something you’re passionate about.”
2)“Start with the customer and work backwards. Those two things, passion and customer centricity, will take you an awful long way.”