Written By: Avishek Singh
Success story of Jeff Bezos: Built on the pillars of creativity, single-minded focus and a will to provide the highest consumer experience
Success is like an iceberg. You just see the tip of it shining. What you don’t see is the portion under water facing the odds.
When you think of Amazon, it’s all about experiments, invention, innovation, creativity and customer satisfaction. Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon is the richest person in the world with a net worth of $179.6 billion. Additionally, he also owns a rocket company ‘Blue Origin’ and ‘Washington Post’ newspaper.
The road to success for Jeff Bezos wasn’t butterflies and rainbows.
An early life of Jeff Bezos
Jeff was born in Mexico to a teenager mother, Jacklyn and father Ted Jorgense. The marriage just continued for over a year. She later remarried to Miguel Bezos in 1968. Jeff was 4 years old at that time. As Jeff grew up he had developed an interest in computer science. After completing his graduation, he got offers from Intel and Bell labs. Jeff denied them all. He joined a startup- Fitel but later decided to quit and join Bankers Trust.
By the age of 30, Jeff Bezos was already drawing a six figure salary. Many would call him a successful person but he had other plans. One day while surfing through the internet, he found that the world of web is growing by 2300%. Moving out of his comfort zone, he left his lucrative job at DE Shaw and Company and started his own company.
Why is Amazon so successful?
The determination that went into accomplishing this dream is momentous. Amazon came into existence through ceaseless and constant quest for building a quality organization. Amazon was built on the pillars of strength of character, single minded focus and a will to provide the highest consumer experience to every person associated with the company.
Jeff Bezos went onto to build a web retailing system while the world was still wondering how an internet can function. The key focus for Amazon has never been to defeat competitors. Rather it focuses on helping consumers and building a value for them. This keeps them engrossed in implementing their plans and policies.
What vision does Jeff Bezos have?
Jeff Bezos in his open letter to public (Amazon annual shareholder letter) describes his vision. Here’s an extract from his letter.
“From very early on in Amazon’s life, we knew we wanted to create a culture of builders – people who are curious, explorers. They like to invent. Even when they’re experts, they are “fresh” with a beginner’s mind. They see the way we do things as just the way we do things now. A builder’s mentality helps us approach big, hard-to-solve opportunities with a humble conviction that success can come through iteration: invent, launch, reinvent, relaunch, start over, rinse, repeat, again and again.
They know the path to success is anything but straight. It’s critical to ask customers what they want, listen carefully to their answers, and figure out a plan to provide it thoughtfully and quickly (speed matters in business!). No business could thrive without that kind of customer obsession. But it’s also not enough. The biggest needle movers will be things that customers don’t know to ask for. We must invent on their behalf. We have to tap into our own inner imagination about what’s possible.”
What are Jeff Bezos’s failures?
There are many ventures that Jeff experimented and initiated which failed terribly. But that’s the culture of growth. If you aren’t failing and making mistakes, you aren’t doing anything important.
Fire phone is one such example of Bezos’s experiment. This project resulted in a loss of $170 million. Despite all efforts, the fire phone couldn’t compete Android and Iphone. Other major failure was Amazon Local. This was an initiative to provide a daily deal which did not come off well. Others in the list are Amazon wallet, Amazon local registers, Music importer, Test Drive, Amazon WebPay, Endless.com, Askville and many more.
Bezos says that experiments that do work out such as Amazon Kindle, Amazon Prime, AWS and others are so successful that they pay for failures.
Invention is the crux
The key focus for Amazon has never been to defeat its competitors. Rather it focuses on helping consumers and building value for them. This keeps them engrossed in implementing their plans and policies. Under Jeff’s thought leadership, the group employed over 1.3 million talented and dedicated individuals while keeping invention as its core focus.
With the onset of February 2021, Bezos declared that he will be stepping down as the CEO of Amazon soon to ensure an adamant focus on other projects. It has been estimated that Amazon’s Web Services head Andy Jassy will be taking the charge as the CEO. Addressing his employees across the globe through a heartwarming email, Jeff Bezos revealed his plan to develop a brand new product line while putting his full confidence in Andy’s future leadership roles.
Jeff’s career trajectory illustrates that an idea will always remain an idea until you try that out. It may fail. It may succeed. But if it succeeds, who knows, anyone can be on the pinnacle of success.
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