Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, the company he launched in 1994 as an online bookseller. He was the CEO of this company for around 27 years and took this company from zero to roughly $17 trillion (the market value of Amazon today). Amazon made life so convenient and stress free. In other words, it changed our lives. Along this journey, Bezos taught us some important lessons on entrepreneurship, innovation and customer experience via the book ‘The Everything Store’ or via his interviews.
Here are some of the lessons he focused on, which are essential for all types of business:
The ‘regret minimization framework’
Bezos applied this framework to his life, and it worked out perfectly for him. The concept of this mental exercise is to imagine yourself as an 80 year old and think to yourself if you will regret that decision and then work your life backwards. It is all about minimising the number of regrets in life.
Before his internet startup, he worked at a high-powered finance job and was in the middle of a bonus season. He wanted to quit his job and start his online business, but he would not only lose his bonus but also face a huge risk.
He then executed his framework and thought to himself, what would he regret at the age of 80, not experimenting on his online business or quitting a stable job and losing his bonus. He knew not starting his own business or at least giving that a try would be a huge regret for him so he went for it and the rest is history.
This theory just does not go for business thinking but personal thinking too. It is impossible to have a ‘perfect life’ but having a life without regrets is possible.
Next time, why not ask an 80 year old you to make a decision for you and let that guide you?
Customer always comes first
Bezos always believed in serving customers first, and that is exactly what he did when starting Amazon, even though it was affecting profits. He knew customers wanted low prices and faster shipping, and he gave them that. He was of the opinion that consumers would get influenced by that, and that would be profitable in the long run. The mistake many firms and individuals make is focusing on the short term gains and profits.
For example, Amazon prime costed $79 a year in 2005, and benefits included 2-day shipping. Bezos considered that if customers are ready to pay that amount, they are in it for the long run, he wanted them to believe that it was irresponsible not to have that membership.
Treat your customers the way you like to be treated. Doing best by them will surely benefit in the future. It is all about creating a company people cannot live without, and that is what Amazon is to us now.
Invent the future
Alan Kay said, ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it’ Jeff Bezos applied the same theory to Amazon. Initially, when Amazon started, there was no concept of selling anything online infact, it was considered strange. Yet trying to predict the future, he invented it. He started from selling books, after which it went on to being the everything store. Moreover, he upgraded with time.
Do not wait for something to happen, make it happen.
At a 2019 conference, Jeff Bezos said, ‘Take risks. You have to be willing to take risks. It is probably being done if you have a business idea with no risk. He further explained that some plans might lead to big failures, but they are an experiment that for the journey to success is necessary.
In 1995, Amazon started with 10 employees, and now it is a company with 1.3 million full-time and part-time workers.
Passion is as necessary as failure and risks. Your competitors will be passionate, and you need to be more passionate to win over them. Additionally, customer-focused, as mentioned above. He said, ‘Don’t satisfy them, absolutely delight them.’