Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon

January 1, 2023

I recently read the Amazon book by Brad Stone and got a glimpse into the mind Jeff Bezos. I’m awestruck by how deeply and ferociously Bezos focuses on the needs of the customer. His openness to risk, innovation and relentless drive has made Amazon a successs.

At the same time, Amazon is unsympathetic to warehouse workers, independent publishers and marketplace sellers. By undercutting prices, Amazon bleeds the competition dry and gobbles up market share over time.

Here are a few of my learnings.

  • “Step by step ferociously” is Amazon’s unwritten guiding principle. Nothing wants to stand in your way if you go at it relentlessly.
  • Power of reading and applying those learnings - a number of Bezos’ learnings have come from reading e.g., Sam Waltons book, the idea for AWS by creating “primitives” for engineers to build their systems.
  • I was surprised how aggressively Amazon negotiates with vendors. I would expect negotiations to provide some leeway to the other party for repeat interactions but apparently Amazon goes all-out.
  • There was a paragraph explaining how customers defend “cool” brands when there’s media pressure. He wanted Amazon to be “cool” in a similar manner which I found amusing.
  • Institutional no - when large enterprises refuse to innovate.
  • Innovators dilemma - great companies fail not because they want to avoid change but because they are reluctant to embrace innovation that might undermine their traditional businesses.