Everyone is an Entrepreneur, but not everyone is the same. But of course, unless you have a net worth of $82 Billion and you are Jeff Bezos which is a whole new ball game.
Jeff Bezos passes Buffett
to become the 2nd richest man
Success is different for everyone. While some label success as overnight, the real Entrepreneurs will tell you how hard it is to get things done. While there is no one specific guideline to become one of the richest people, Jeff Bezos career has been marked by risk-taking & learning from failure and sheds light on what it takes to be incredibly successful. What started from garage later turned to be a source of his incredible wealth.
The early life
- Jeff Bezos found his first spike at the age 5 when he first saw Apollo 11 landing he decided to be an Astronaut.
- Barely above the weight limit, Jeff joined a youth pee wee football team. “I thought he was going to get creamed out there,” Jeff’s Mom said. Learns later than Mike is not his biological father.
- He spent his childhood summers at his grandparents’ home in Texas, castrating cattle and doing other farm work.
- In the year 1982 enrolled into Princeton.
How Jeff Bezos started his career?
After Princeton, Bezos instead of starting his own venture jumped into a startup called ‘Fitel’ an optical fiber company. At the time when Jeff joined Fitel, there were only 10 employees and Bezos was number 11. Which he hated because there was so much traveling involved and Jeff preferred mind work rather than physical labor. Next came Bankers Trust.
Right after Bankers Trust, Bezos started a workflow process by the name ‘Women flow’ to help him find his mate.
Speaking with Wired.com he said:
“What I really wanted was someone resourceful. But nobody knows what you mean when you say, ‘I’m looking for a resourceful woman.’ If I tell somebody I’m looking for a woman who can get me out of a Third World prison, they start thinking Ross Perot – Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! – they have something they can hang their hat on! Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.”
Amazon.com was born
Amazon.com was founded in a garage, when Shel Kaphan, Amazon’s first employee along with Jeff started their work with the potbellied stove as the only furniture.
They built the site around the huge digital catalogs book distributors started using in the 1980s.
The meeting place was Barnes & Noble, a neighborhood bookstore. Infect, the first freight contracts were also negotiated at Barnes & Noble.
The First Crash
For a while, critics were labeling the company as “Amazon.bomb”
But Jeff Bezos was persistent with his work ethic and vision. Amazon survived this crash because of two reasons: First, more and more users kept coming to the site and number just got bigger every day. Second, instead of apple-polishing or over-commitment Bezos never promised shareholders anything other than long-term vision.
The Near Death experience of Jeff Bezos
(Fortune Magazine) — The helicopter was out of control and Jeff Bezos, the dot-com billionaire who founded Amazon, was pretty sure he was about to die. He was pinioned in the front passenger seat as the pilot frantically tried to thread the cherry-red copter through a field of trees.
Bezos had been flying around the boondocks of West Texas to scout out a site for Blue Origin, a space tourism venture he’d long dreamed of starting. The helicopter ferried them to a remote area that a government report would later describe as “mountainous terrain next to a creek.” After a brief look around, Bezos and two employees hopped back into the helicopter, and the pilot tried to take off. That’s when things went bad.
“We had a full cabin, and a full tank of gas, so the helicopter was heavy,” Bezos recalls, discussing the 2003 incident for the first time. “The way a helicopter takes off is to lift off a few feet, then the rotors tilt and it needs to get some forward momentum to generate lift.” That didn’t happen.
Instead, as the aircraft skittered along the field, its tail boom struck a tree, causing the aircraft to roll and zigzag crazily. “Finally, one of the sleds hooked into a mound of dirt, the helicopter flipped, and landed in a creek,” Bezos says.
Does his life flash before his eyes? Does he think about all the things he might have done? Nope. “I thought, what a dumb way to die,” he says. Then, just as he always does, he laughs his signature, Very Loud Laugh (VLL).
Life Lessons by the Amazing Dot.com Superman
Focus on customers, not competitors
To Bezos, customers are his first preference. In the book ‘The Everything Store’ Brad Stone tells us that during meeting Jeff would shout on employees who fail to delight a customer.
The wait and see rivals introducing a new thing, Jeff didn’t go for that. For Jeff, treating the customer’s right and making them feel comfortable to buy with Amazon.com is the only goal.
Take risks and break some rules
Jeff Bezos is a risk-taker. Right from the start throughout his whole career, he took decisions in his gut.
“Given a 10 percent chance of a 100-times payout, you should take that bet every time,” Bezos wrote in his very first annual letter (1997). “Failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.”
Moral: Make bold, rather than timid, investment decisions. Even if they don’t work out, you’ll learn something for the next time.
Let employees own their mistake and correct them
One thing Bezos make sure was to give employees leverage to make mistakes and turn it into wisdom. Jeff made a couple of adjustments to give his shares to the employees and make them feel Amazon as part of their life.
To this employees were quite happy and appreciated his efforts. If you really want your employees to treat your customer’s right, you need to keep your employees happy.
Moral: Whether it’s stock, bonuses or profit sharing, give workers a stake in the success of the company.
Build the right culture for your company
Amazon work culture is no doubt one of the most breakneck-paced, and cost-conscious. The company used to work with less profit and more work.
“We never claim that our approach is the right one — just that it’s ours,” Bezos wrote in the 2015 letter. “Over the last two decades, we’ve collected a large group of like-minded people. Folks who find our approach energizing and meaningful.”
Moral: There’s no one set of goals a company must be about. The point is to decide what few things are most important, repeat them often, and make sure everyone buys in.
To wrap it all
We can surely conclude this blog by one of the most influential quote by Jeff:
“What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet at the very end of their corporate existence.”
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