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Leadership and life lessons from Jeff Bezos



the Washington

Amazon.com


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Managing Director Jeff Bezos never tries to schedule a meeting before kl. 10.00

"I go early, I travel early, I like to put in the morning" reading the newspaper, drinking a cup of coffee and eating breakfast with his children, he said. Mr. Bezos is planning "high IQ" meetings before lunch, and tries to head home at five o'clock.

Mr. Bezos said his primary job every day as a senior manager is making a small number of high quality decisions. It means getting eight hours of sleep as well. "I think better, I have more energy, my mood is better," he said.

& # 39; Everything I've ever done has started a bit. Amazon started with a couple of people. & # 39;

-Jeff Bezos

If he slept less, he could make more decisions. But it would not be worth it. "If I have three good decisions a day, it's enough," he said. "They should only be as high quality as I can do them."

The insight into Mr. Bezos philosophy of time management came as Amazon's founder Thursday addressed an amount of about 1

,400 at an event held by the Economic Club of Washington, DC [19659009] He reminisced on Amazon's early days and the lessons he learned over decades of rapid change when he went from establishing online store in the garage to oversee a massive company with more business areas and offices around the world.

The explosive growth helped push Amazon last week to shortly become the second American company to reach a $ 1 billion market price after

apple
Inc.,

and has made Mr. Bezos the richest person in the world.

It's a title that Mr. Bezos said he has never applied. "I would much rather say they invent Jeff Bezos & # 39; or & # 39; entrepreneur Jeff Bezos & # 39; or & daddy Jeff Bezos. & # 39; These things are much more meaningful to me, he told the audience.

While Amazon's stock is currently close to record levels, he said he tells the staff the same he has told them for more than two decades of all hands meeting.

"When the stock is up 30% in a month, do not feel 30% smarter because when stocks are down 30% in a month, it will not feel so good to feel 30% dumber – and that's what happens, "said Bezos.

He pointed to a quote by legendary investor Benjamin Graham, who in the short term said that the stock market is a voting machine. In the long run, there is a weighing machine.

"What you need to do is run your business in such a way, knowing that you are being weighed one day," he said. "Never spend time thinking about the daily stock price. I never do."

He also learned the importance of clarity when he chose a name for his company. He would initially mention his online launch Cadabra, as in the ancient magician's term abracadabra.

When he called to talk to a lawyer about incorporating the company, the lawyer misunderstood the name as a carcass. "I was like, OK, it will not work."

About three months later, he changed it to Amazon: "The largest river in the world, the world's largest selection," he said.

Herr. Bezos spent time talking about one of his favorite subjects: the customer.

When he considered expanding Amazon beyond his first book, music and video business, he sent a random group of 1000 customers and asked them what they wanted to buy on his website. Most responded to what they had to buy at the moment, like windscreen wipers.

"I thought to myself," We can sell something this way, "he said.

Mr. Bezos said he would take many of his business-leading lessons to his new Bezos Day One Fund, which He announced Thursday saying that it would be funded with an initial $ 2 billion to help homeless families and to form a new network of preschools in low income areas.

Day 1 refers to one of Mr. Bezos most basic lessons: how to keep a company in boot mode.

"Everything I've ever done has started a bit. Amazon started with a couple of people, "he said." It's hard to remember for you, but it was like yesterday that I drove the packages to the post office myself and hoped someday we could afford a forklift. "[19659009] He has attempted to maintain that spirit even as the company has sprawled to over half a million employees. "Although it's a big company, I want it to have the heart and spirit of a little," he said.

Mr. Bezos will now bring his legendary customer focus to a new group – in this case, preschool children.

"The No. 1 thing that has made us successful far is obsessive, focusing on the customer as opposed to obsession over the competitor," he said. said. "We must be obsessive, focusing on the child. We must be scientific when we can be. And we will use heart and intuition. "

Write to Laura Stevens at laura.stevens@wsj.com


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