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Key Takeaways from "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos & the age of Amazon"

This presentation has the key takeways, salient points & notable quotes from the book "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos & the age of Amazon" by Brad Stone.
If you like it, please do read the book

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Key Takeaways from "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos & the age of Amazon"

  1. 1. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon – By Brad Stone (The Amazon logo is a copyright of Amazon – Just using it in this presentation about the book about its founder – Jeff Bezos) Key Takeaways from the book:
  2. 2. Quotes by Jeff Bezos 2 • There is so much stuff that has yet to be invented, there’s so much new that’s going to happen. People don’t have any idea how impactful the internet is going to be and that this is still Day 1 in a big way. • Amazon isn’t happening to the book business; the future is happening to the book business. • We are genuinely customer centric, we are genuinely long term oriented and we genuinely like to invent.
  3. 3. Quotes by Jeff Bezos • We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions. • Every time we hire someone, he or she should raise the bar for the next hire, so that the overall talent pool is always improving – (another Jeffism). • The “Either-Or” mentality, that if you are doing something good for customers it must be bad for shareholders, is very amateurish.
  4. 4. Quotes by Jeff Bezos • Great merchants have never had the opportunity to understand their customers in a truly individualized way; e- commerce is going to make that possible. • When you are small, someone else that is bigger can always come along and take away what you have. • Disruptive small companies can triumph. • The internet is disrupting every media industry. People can complain about that, but complaining is not a strategy.
  5. 5. Quotes by Jeff Bezos • It is far better to cannibalize yourself than have someone else do it. We didn’t want to be Kodak • There are 2 kinds of retailers- there are those folks who work to figure how to charge more, and there are companies that work to figure how to charge less, and we are going to be the second. • It’s one thing to have a good idea but it’s another to have confidence in a person to execute it.
  6. 6. • Even the name has informally entered the business lexicon and not in an altogether favorable way. To be Amazoned means ‘to watch helplessly as the online upstart from Seattle vacuums up the customers and profits of your traditional brick-and-mortar business.’ • At Amazon, PowerPoint decks or slide presentations are never used in meetings. Instead, employees are required to write 6 page narratives laying out their points in prose, because Bezos believes doing so fosters critical thinking. For each new product, they craft their documents in the style of a press release. The goal is to frame a proposed initiative in the way a customer might hear about it for the first time. Each meeting begins with everyone silently reading the document and discussion commences afterward. Takeaways from the book:
  7. 7. • Most companies are focused on the competitor not the customer. They want to work on things that will pay dividends in two or three years, and if they don’t work in two or three years they will move to something else. And they prefer to be close followers rather than inventors, because it’s safer. • Bezos was disciplined and precise, constantly recording ideas in a notebook he carried with him, as if they might float out of his mind if he didn’t jot them down. • When interviewing a potential new hire, Bezos asked improbable questions. ‘How many gas stations are there in the United States?’ It was a test to measure the quality of a candidate’s thinking; he wasn’t looking for the correct answer, only for the individual to demonstrate creativity by coming up with a sound way to derive a possible solution.
  8. 8. • ‘Regret minimization framework’:- Bezos: ‘When you are in the thick of things, you can get confused by the small stuff. I knew when I was 80 that I would never, for example, think about why I walked away from my 1994 Wall Street bonus right in the middle of the year at the worst possible time. That kind of thing just isn’t something you would worry about when you’re 80 years old. At the same time, I knew that I might sincerely regret not having participated in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be revolutionizing event. When I thought about it that way, it was incredibly easy to make the decision.’
  9. 9. • Jeff Bezos was insistent that Amazon be always called • Amazon’s early strategy: maximizing the internet’s ability to provide a superior selection of products as compared to those available at traditional retail stores. • In Amazon’s 1st letter to its public shareholders in 1998, Bezos wrote that the company would make decisions based on the long term prospects of boosting free cash flow and growing market share rather than on short term profitability.
  10. 10. • Amazon’s 6 core values: Customer Obsession, Frugality, Bias For Action, Ownership, High Bar For Talent, Innovation. • Benjamin Graham (British Investor who inspired Warren Buffet) – In the short term, the stock market is a voting machine. In the long run, it’s a weighing machine that measures a company’s true value. • For Walmart - Our marketing strategy is our pricing strategy, which is everyday low pricing.
  11. 11. • Amazon was restructured around ‘two pizza teams’. Employees would be organized into autonomous groups of fewer than 10 people – small enough that, when working late, the team members could be fed with 2 pizza pies. • Jeff has this unbelievable ability to be incredibly intelligent about things he had nothing to do with and he was totally ruthless about communicating it. • Bezos believed that high margins justified rivals’ investments in R&D & attracted more competition, while low margins attracted more customers and were more defensible.
  12. 12. • In his book The Innovator’s Dilemma, Harvard professor Clayton Christensen wrote that great companies fail not because they want to avoid disruptive change but because they are reluctant to embrace promising new markets that might undermine their traditional businesses and that do not appear to satisfy their short-term growth requirements. • The companies that solved the Innovator’s Dilemma succeeded when they ‘set up autonomous organizations charged with building new and independent businesses around the disruptive technologies’.
  13. 13. • Amazon’s culture is notoriously confrontational, and it begins with Bezos who believes that truth springs forth when ideas and perspectives are banged against each other, sometimes violently. • Jeff doesn’t believe in work-life balance. He believes in work-life harmony. The idea is you might be able to do everything all at once. • One did not work with Jeff Bezos, one worked for Jeff Bezos.
  14. 14. Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles • Customer Obsession Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers. • Ownership Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job".
  15. 15. Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles • Invent and Simplify Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here". As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time. • Are Right, A Lot Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.
  16. 16. Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles • Learn and Be Curious Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them. • Hire and Develop the Best Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.
  17. 17. Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles • Insist on the Highest Standards Leaders have relentlessly high standards - many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their teams to deliver high quality products, services and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed. • Think Big Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.
  18. 18. Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles • Bias for Action Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking. • Frugality Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed expense.
  19. 19. Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles • Earn Trust Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best. • Dive Deep Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them.
  20. 20. Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles • Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly. • Deliver Results Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.
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