7 Simple Lessons From a $49.5 Billion Journey

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Today I’d like to tell you what I’ve learned from “The Everything Store” – a book about Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com and the story of the company he founded. I’ve noted down 7 extremely important lessons, that you can easily implement in your business… and not just business!

1. Chaos is part of the equation! Some of the things Jeff and his company had to go through are just crazy and insane. Reminded me a lot about the story of FedEx (Federal Express), where, at the very beginning they were so completely out of funding, that the CEO took whatever money was left (a few thousand dollars), went to Las Vegas, risked it all – and won enough to breathe life back to the company… and turn it into a multi-billion dollar giant!

Many of the stories told in the book made me stop reading and just try to comprehend the amount of chaos that existed. That opened my mind to how minor my many mistakes and obstacles are!

2. “The Regret Minimization Theory” Jeff says that when he isn’t sure about something, or he feels like procrastinating or giving up, he asks himself “Will I regret not doing this when I am 80 years old?”. This reminded me a lot of Steve Jobs’ technique which was asking himself every day in the morning: Would I want to do what I will do today, if this was the last day of my life?

If you implement the “Regret Minimization Theory” and add my “3 questions” that I often talk about, you’ll be unstoppable!

3. “Impossible” isn’t an answer. Everything is possible – sometimes you need to invent the solution. Jeff says that one of the main goals of the company is to be “innovative”. Pretty much every time he demanded something “impossible” from his employees – it managed to get done!

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Test Test Test and Make Mistakes! Amazon sure had their good share of mistakes. Their auctions platform, when first introduced, was a joke compared to Ebay. When they started introducing other products (not just books) – they had a lot of really nasty “surprises”. But they kept on trying – kept on innovating – until they got to their major breakthroughs!

5. As Long as You Believe in Your Dream, You Will Succeed – Amazon had many moments during which they were on the very edge. The most notable was, of course, the dot com bubble of the early 2000’s. Jeff never doubted that his company will succeed, even when his net worth shrank by several hundred percent in a matter of months, the company was being criticized by the media and it’s stock holders were backing off. Now he’s worth $49.5 billion (maybe $50+ billion by the time you’re reading this).

6. Focus on Serving Your Clients in the Best Way Possible – If you have a satisfied customer base, you will also have a lot of business and a lot of money. That’s Jeff’s rule #1.

7. Never Sacrifice Long Term for Short Term Success! There was a story about Kindle and how Amazon isn’t making any profit on selling the device. Why would a company create & sell a product that it’s not profiting on? Because they are counting on back-end profits! Instead of making, for example, $50 on each sale of the Kindle, they are making $0 or maybe even losing a few dollars, but, the average Kindle user later spends $100 on books! So by keeping the price very low (no margin), they are able to sell more Kindle’s, which gets them more customers (also – more satisfied customers as they got the Kindle cheap!) and they’re making $100 on the “back end” per customer!

I highly recommend you read this book. It’s very inspiring and help you get a more objective look at your own situation and business.