Jeff Bezos is someone you may not have heard of, but you will all be familiar with. Bezos is an American business magnate and investor; he is an entrepreneur who focuses on technology. A small number of you may have heard of, or even used, his most successful company, Amazon.com. That’s right, Jeff Bezos is the founder and chief executive officer of the world’s largest ecommerce platform, Amazon. Despite this, you rarely hear his name uttered alongside all those technological innovators such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.
Jeff Bezos began his life in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1964. In his early years Bezos was an academically minded boy, and breezed through school before enrolling at Princeton University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science Award in Engineering, focusing on electrical engineering and computer science, Jeff Bezos ventured to Wall Street to work in computer science. He worked for a number of firms on Wall Street and made quite the impression, becoming vice president of the company Bankers’ Trust. After this, he set out on his own and started up the company Amazon from his garage in 1994. It has since grown to become one of the most famous companies on the planet thanks to Bezos’ management techniques, earning Jeff Bezos an estimated net worth of $28 billion USD.
Despite not being known to the general public, Jeff Bezos has received recognition from a number of high profile media companies. In 1999 he was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, and in 2012 was awarded the Businessperson of the Year award by Fortune. In addition to this, he was also part of the legendary Bilderberg Group in 2011 and 2012. On the other side of the coin, Bezos has also recently been given the unfortunate award of World’s Worst Boss by the International Trade Union Confederation.
Throughout his years in the business world, Bezos has built up a wealth of knowledge regarding innovation, internet, business, and wisdom. He sometimes gives us a little insight into his genius mind through downright beautiful quotes, and here are some of his best quotes.
5 “If you double the number of experiments you do per year then you’re going to double your inventiveness.”
Experimentation is the key to success, not just in business, in anything. Jeff Bezos is someone who firmly believes that, and someone who figured out that this was true before most technology entrepreneurs. Throughout the 20 years that Amazon have been trading, Bezos has ordered the running of countless experiments in a bid to improve his company, and many of them have resulted in things that we associate with Amazon to this day.
Wonder why you rarely see Amazon on television? It’s because Bezos has already experimented with this, and over the course of his 16 month experiment he came to the conclusion that the boosts in sales numbers didn’t offset the cost of prime time TV advertising. What about 2 things that have become synonymous with Amazon, Super Saver Shipping and Amazon Prime? Both are experiments that Bezos ran regarding the shipping costs of orders, and both have now become major parts of Amazon’s business. Don’t worry though, Bezos is human. Amongst his hugely successful experiments like Amazon Prime and Kindle, he has also failed in a lot, such as his Google competitor, A9 Search, or his answer to eBay, Amazon Auction.
Whether success of failure, Bezos’ ethos is to always try and improve, and the only way to do that is to experiment. That is one of the keys to his success.
4 “I’m thinking a few years out, I’ve already forgotten those numbers.”
Now, I know that doesn't sound too influential and inspirational, but it’s pretty inspired when you put it into context. Someone asked Jeff Bezos what Amazon’s growth was in the last quarter, something you would think every CEO knows. Not Bezos, he didn’t care, and the above was his answer. This can be traced back to his early days in business.
The Internet began being offered to the public way back in the late 1980s, but didn't start its massive public boom until the mid to late 1990s. Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, showing that he already predicted that the Internet would become a global phenomenon. I’m guessing he probably didn't see the extent to which the Internet would take over our lives, but he certainly saw its potential before most others. To show how far ahead of the curve Bezos was, think about this, when he was initially trying to get funding for Amazon he actually had to answer the question “What is the Internet?”
That is why he had forgotten how much Amazon had grown in the last quarter. It was because he didn't care. All he is thinking about is the future and how he can develop his company even further.
3 “Focusing on the customer makes a company more resilient.”
This is something that Amazon does day after day. Considering their gigantic size, they are probably the most customer oriented online service in the world. Sure, it’s easy for small ecommerce websites to be customer focused, because they need every sale they can get! But what is amazing is the fact that Amazon has grown to a worldwide company that everyone uses, yet still focuses intently on the customer all the way. That is another of Jeff Bezos’ keys to success.
There are many ways in which Bezos’ focus on the customer have improved the company. One of these is the way that Amazon advertises their competitors’ prices on their own website. But surely that would lead people away from Amazon? Maybe it would, but Bezos is all about customer loyalty, and this sort of honesty brings customers back again and again. Another example of their great customer service is the customer reviews on their site. Sure, a poor review might lead a customer away from making a purchase, but isn't that better than them buying the product and then returning it when they aren't satisfied? Chances are they will do as I do, and simply look for a similar product on Amazon.
The way Bezos focuses on customers when making any decision around the running of Amazon shows why he has been so successful, people love an honest company.
2 “I frequently hear the question ’What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ 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?’”
This quote is part of a longer quote that I will go into a bit here, but this is a very crucial part of Amazon’s and Bezos’ success in the e-commerce sector. Yes, knowing what’s going to change 10 years from now and developing a business to meet those needs is a very viable business plan, but it’s relatively short term. What Bezos is more interested in, as we know, is thinking long term. For that he needed to develop a business model based on the customers’ everlasting needs and desires. That is precisely what he has done.
Jeff Bezos goes on to say in this quote how he focuses on building his business around things that are never going to change. He states how he can never imagine someone coming up to him in 10 years time and saying ‘Yeah Jeff, of course I love Amazon, but I wish the prices were a bit higher, and the delivery was a bit slower’. Can you ever imagine someone saying that? Nah, me neither. Bezos focuses on the perennial needs of the customers mainly, whilst still innovating and experimenting to come up with what IS going to change in the next 10 years. These two business models blended in to one means that Amazon is likely to be in business for a very long time.
1 “There are two kinds of companies: Those that work to try and charge more and those that work to try and charge less. We will be the second.”
This quote is exactly why everyone loves shopping on Amazon, and why I can see it being the top dog of e-commerce websites for decades to come. Price is what almost every shopper in the world thinks about first when deciding whether to make a purchase or not. Unless you’re an oil tycoon or just unearthed a new gold mine, then chances are that when buying something online the first thing you look at is the price. Amazon has always strived to charge the lowest possible price to its customer base, and that is where they get customer loyalty from.
For a company that has a worldwide reach and billions of potential customers, customer loyalty is a big thing! They don’t care about making an extra dollar or two on an item if they can exchange it for lifelong customer loyalty, which is much more valuable. This is precisely why they display their competitors’ prices next to their own. Firstly, they hope that they charge less and you purchase from them, but in addition to that they gain the trust of the customer, and they will keep coming back.
To summarize my point, let me ask you this: If Amazon, with their excellent customer service, fast delivery, and lovely website, charged you twice as much as another online store would you still buy from them? I thought not. Price will always be king.