Everyone has his or her own set of heroes, depending upon his or her own area of work. Some revere sportspersons, others have high regard for scientists while cine artists become demigods for some others. But when it comes to MBA aspirants or business graduates, their icons are different. These are the people whose increasing wealth, business acumen and influence over the governments are shaping the world as we know it today. And none of them is more influential and path-breaking than Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos—one of the world’s richest persons and an inspiration for millions of entrepreneurs around the world.
A journey that began with an online bookstore and culminated into a global e-commerce giant has many lessons under its wrap which professionals from different fields are trying hard to emulate. However, the best lessons from the life of Bezos and his brainchild Amazon have been learnt from his failures and not from his success. Some of his biggest gaffes included the Fire phone, Register-credit card processing service for retailers and Amazon Local—a deals site on the lines of Groupon. However, along the way, he also made certain bets which paid him rich dividends such as the Kindle e-reader, third party online marketplace and Amazon Web Services. He justified his choices and risk-taking approach as, “Bold bets pay for a lot of failures. I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com. We can’t be in survival mode. We have to be in growth mode.”
Here’s the thing with highly successful people from any field—they have almost as many critics and haters as followers and admirers. However, what sets them apart from the commoners is their way of handling their critics and admirers at the same time. The bigger you aim the more ruckuses your critics would try to create to distract you. There is no possible way to escape criticism and the only way out of it is by accepting criticism and by taking it in your stride.
“If you’re doing anything interesting in the world, you are going to have critics. You can’t stop it. Move forward. It’s not worth losing any sleep over. When you receive criticism from well-meaning people, it pays to ask, ‘Are they right?’ And if they are, you need to adapt what they’re doing. If they’re not right, if you really have the conviction that they’re not right, you need to have that long-term willingness to be misunderstood. It’s a key part of invention.” — Jeff Bezos
Most professionals have a liking towards the term ‘innovate’ but aren’t willing to experiment enough to be called an innovator. Moderate success depends upon your conventional wisdom but if you are looking to disrupt your space of work, you must be willing to improvise to be a cut above the others working in your field. Bezos’ multi-million dollar investments in the Amazon research labs are an indication of his innovative thirst.
The biggest lesson that Bezos shares with others is “The customer is the ”ng>” Considering the thousands of e-commerce sites that have come up and bitten the dust in the past couple of decades, Amazon’s continued success and place at the top of the pyramid isn’t a fluke. This could be made possible because of Bezos’ commitment towards his customers. In an interview, Bezos fa“ng>“A happy customer in the physical world will tell five people, while an online customer would spread the news to 5,000 people in the online world. If we can keep our competitors focussed on us while we stay focussed on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.”
Bezos’ journey from his garage in 1994 to becoming the “wealthiest person in modern history” at $165 billion worth is a story of as many downs as ups, if not more. His humble origins and simplistic approach have inspired millions of entrepreneurs with a simple lesson to make it big in life—focus on the simple things and do them religiously and you would see the result sooner rather than later.
(Surendra Kumar Sachdeva)