7 Things We Can Learn From Jeff Bezos

The Richest Man In The World

“The richest man in the world”, sounds great, right? But there’s more to say about Jeff Bezos than that well-earned nickname.

It all started in 1994 with the decision of taking a step further from his already successful life. Jeff had an idea that wouldn’t let him sleep until it was launched, and believe me when I tell you, it skyrocketed. Would you like to know how a former McDonald’s employee managed to come up with one of the biggest companies in the world like Amazon? Well, sit tight, because today I bring you the story of a man whose passion took him to the top.

How It All Started

Jeff was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His parents got divorced and his mom remarried to a Cuban immigrant named Miguel Bezos, who later formerly adopted Jeff and gave him his last name. He was a regular kid, but with a remarkable scientific interest. He even created an alarm that would ring whenever one of his younger siblings entered his room. Jeff’s family did not have monetary issues, but they weren’t rich or anything like that. However, he understood the importance of independence quite early in life. While he was at high school he took a job as a short-order line cook at McDonald’s; a funny anecdote is that when asked about this time of his life he mentions that on Saturdays he had to crack 300 eggs into a big bowl, and one of the greatest teachings of that job was learning how to properly crack an egg with one hand. He graduated as a valedictorian from high school and attended the Student Science Training Program at the University of Florida, but eventually made it to Princeton and got a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, see where his little alarm invention took him?

The Road To Amazon

After Princeton, he got offered many jobs in the engineering industry, but probably the most important job he took was at D.E Shaw, a multinational investment management firm. He stayed there for 4 years, but as an avid reader, he had this idea of creating an online bookstore and he was so into that idea that he took the courage of quitting his well-payed job and jumped into his dream. That online bookstore evolved to be “the everything store” we know today as Amazon, and it became the tool that made him the richest man in the world. But that’s what it was, a tool. Amazon is not what made Jeff a successful man, it was his idea of doing business and the way he treats the clients on top of his earnings.

1. Do Not Regret Anything

Quitting to your job takes courage, especially if you are leaving it to start your own company. Jeff applies the “regret minimization framework”, it basically means doing things that would make you feel proud in the future. If you are facing a rough time, ask yourself “will I regret not doing this when I’m 80?”; sometimes we have to see the big picture to take the final step towards a situation, and Jeff knew in 1994 that if he didn’t start his business at that moment, he would regret it later.

2. Look At The Big Picture

Jeff’s business approach is stated in every shareholder manifesto he has issued since 1997, and the focus rests on building long-term relationships, whether it is with your clients, coworkers, and even your own life. Amazon decisions are taken with a long-term lens, it means accepting your failures but always trying to innovate and to fix things. It’s not really a race, and like many things in life, it’s about the big picture.

3. Always Think About Your Audience

It doesn’t matter if that means your clients, your family, friends or coworkers, even yourself! Amazon’s goal is to have the biggest customer-centered company in the world, and they have made it because they have kept their customers happy. Ever bought something on Amazon? You must have noticed they have an easy return and refund policy, and most of the times, they send products for free. Will some people scam them? Sure, but 99% of them won’t, and that’s who they work for.

4. Doesn’t Exist? Invent It!

When Amazon started as a bookstore, not many people were used to buy stuff online, but he made it possible. Because he thought it would be easy and other people would love it too. Now, this does not mean every single idea that pops out of your head is going to be 100% successful or praised by others, but it is worth the try, especially in a world so advanced. As a human, do you have a necessity? Do you think your life could be easier if something in particular existed? Why don’t you try to make it yourself? I mean, that’s pretty much what Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk did.

5. Take The Lead

This lesson from Jeff has a lot to do with the previous point, it is always better to cannibalize yourself than letting others do it. What does that mean? Well, do you have a new idea that could take down one of your previous ideas? Do it anyway, because if you don’t, you can be absolutely sure someone else will. So go out there, and take the lead.

6. Do Not Lose Your Personality

This can also be applied to your business, losing your personality because you are being successful or having a hard time can distance you from your original goal, and take away people you love. There’s a rap song that says “sit down, be humble”, and that pretty much summons everything. Amazon has always been focused on the customer’s experience, and they have changed many things on the run to the top, but never that principle.

7. Take Risks but Never Decide Without Data

Taking risks, in business and in life, it’s always a good idea, but do not rush. I know that sometimes we don’t have months to take a decision, but whenever you have to take a risk, no matter how little it may seem, sit down and take notes of the pros and cons. For example, Amazon started as a library, but it wasn’t just Jeff’s dream! He knew that books at the time were rarely returned, it’s a product that doesn’t expire, and they receive little or no damage when being shipped. Sure, it was a dream, but it was also a well- thought business opportunity.

I hope that with these 7 things to learn from Jeff Bezos you feel inspired, and always remember, that every great man and successful business in the world started with a dream, and yours is worth the risk, just like Jeff’s childhood alarm.

Image By: Burst