Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has championed invention, failure and customer obsession in his 24 letters to shareholders. Here are the 25 best quotes.
- Jeff Bezos released his latest letter to shareholders as CEO of Amazon this month.
- Bezos wrote 24 letters in total, covering topics such as invention and failure.
- Scroll down for the best quotes from Bezos Letters.
- See more stories on the Insider business page.
Jeff Bezos recently released his 24th and final annual letter to Amazon shareholders as CEO of the company.
The founder of the e-commerce group and future executive chairman shared his views on invention, failure, customer obsession, long-term thinking and other topics in his annual missives. He also reflected on what he learned as an Amazon leader and what others can take away from his company’s phenomenal success.
Here are Bezos’ 25 best quotes from his letters to shareholders, slightly edited and condensed for clarity:
1. “This is Day 1 for the Internet and, if we’re performing well, for Amazon.com. “(1997)
2. “It’s not easy to work here (when I interview people I tell them, ‘You can work long, hard, or smart, but on Amazon.com you can’t choose two out of three.” ), but we are working to build something important, something that matters to our clients, something that we can all tell our grandchildren about. Such things are not meant to be easy. “(1997)
3. “There is no rest for the tired. I constantly remind our employees to be afraid, to wake up terrified every morning. Not from our competitors, but from our customers. We see them as loyal to us. respect – until second, someone else is offering them better service. “(1998)
4. “We are doubly blessed. We have an unconstrained market size opportunity in an area where the underlying fundamental technology that we employ is improving every day. This is not normal.” (1999)
5. “As famed investor Benjamin Graham said,” In the short term, the stock market is a voting machine; in the long run, it’s a weigher. “Obviously, there were a lot of votes going on in the booming year of 1999 – and a lot less burdensome. We have our heads down to build a business of heavier and heavier. “(2000)
6. “Thinking long term is both a requirement and a result of real property. Owners are different from tenants. I know a couple who rented their house and the family who moved in nailed their Christmas tree. on the parquet. to use a stand of trees. Quick, I guess, and admittedly these were particularly bad tenants, but no landlord would be this short-sighted. Likewise, many investors are actually tenants to short term, transforming their portfolios so quickly that they just rent out the stocks they temporarily ‘own’. ”(2003)
7. “We started out by setting ourselves the admittedly bold goal of improving the physical book. We did not choose that goal lightly. All of which has persisted in much the same form and has resisted. change for 500 years is unlikely to be easily improved. ” (2007) – on Amazon’s decision to create the Kindle e-reader.
8. “Missionaries make better products.” (2007)
9. “Recently, in a distribution center, one of our Kaizen the experts asked me, “I am in favor of a clean distribution center, but why are you cleaning?” Why don’t you eliminate the source of dirt? I felt like the Karate Kid. “(2008)
10. “Start with customers and work backwards. Listen to customers, but don’t just listen to customers – invent on their behalf too.” (2009)
11. “Our passion for pioneers will lead us to explore narrow passages, and inevitably many will turn out to be dead ends. But – with a bit of luck – there will also be a few that open onto wide avenues. “(2012)
12. “A dream business offering has at least four characteristics. Customers love it, it can grow to a very large size, it offers a high return on capital, and it is sustainable over time – with the potential to last for decades. . When you find one of these, don’t just swipe right, get married. (2014)
13. “Our business model for original content is unique. I’m pretty sure we’re the first company to figure out how to win a Golden Globe by increasing sales of power tools and baby wipes!” (2014)
14. “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 experience.” (2015)
15. “Inordinate returns often come from betting against conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is usually right. With a 10% chance of winning 100 times, you should take that bet every time. But you’re still going to be wrong nine times. . of 10. We all know that if you’re going to run for fences you’re going to hit a lot, but you’re also going to be hitting home runs. The difference between baseball and business, however, is that it doesn’t matter how well you connect. with the ball the most points you can get is four. In business, every once in a while when you go to plate you can score 1,000 points. This long tail distribution of returns is why it is important to ‘be bold. Big winners pay for so many experiences. ”(2015)
16. “No matter how good a contractor you are, you’re not going to build a fully composite 787 in your garage starter – not one you want to fly in anyway. (2015) – on the power of the scale.
17. “Many described AWS as a bold – and unusual – bet when we first started.” What does this have to do with selling books? “We could have stuck with knitting. I’m glad we didn’t. Or did we? Maybe knitting has as much to do with our approach as the arena.” ( 2015) – suggesting that Amazon applies the same strategy to cloud services as it does to online retail.
18. “Our growth has been rapid. 20 years ago I drove boxes to the post office in my Chevy Blazer and dreamed of a forklift.” (2016)
19. “To stay on day one, you have to patiently experiment, accept setbacks, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer satisfaction. A customer-obsessed culture best creates the conditions in which everything is done. it can happen.” (2016)
20. “What I love about customers is that they are divinely unhappy. Their expectations are never static – they rise. It’s human nature. We haven’t come back from our days of hunters- pickers by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ is quickly becoming ‘ordinary’. ”(2017)
21. “The greatest needle movers will be things customers don’t know how to ask. We have to tap into our own inner imaginations as to what’s possible.” (2018)
22. “If you had gone to a customer in 2013 and said, ‘Would you like an always-on black cylinder in your kitchen the size of a Pringles can that you can talk to and ask questions of, that also turns your turn on and play music? I guarantee you they would have looked at you strangely and said ‘No, thank you.’ “- pointing out that customers weren’t sure they wanted Amazon Echo smart speakers until they were released. (2018)
23. “If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually) you have to create more than what you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t does not create value for these people it touches, even if it seems successful on the surface, is not long for this world. It is on the way out. “(2020)
24. “We all know that distinctiveness – originality – is valuable. We are all taught to ‘be yourself’. What I’m really asking you to do is accept and be realistic. as to how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness. The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways it attracts you. Don’t let that happen. “(2020)
25. “Be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, ever, ever let the universe smooth you out in your surroundings. It stays on day 1.” (2020)