Jeff Bezos on The David Rubenstein Show

Key Takeaways

  • Jeff believes that the #1 thing that has made Amazon successful is obsessive, compulsive, focus on the customer as opposed to obsession over the competitor
    • “It is a huge advantage to any company if you can stay focused on your customer instead of your competitor” – Jeff Bezos
  • When it comes to early investing, you’re betting on the founder, not the company
  • A mental model from Jeff: When you’re thinking about making a decision, imagine you’re 80 years old and ask yourself if you regret not doing that thing. You want to live a life where you’ve minimized your regrets.
  • Don’t worry if a few of your projects fail, the big winners will pay for the thousands that have failed
  • As a senior executive, your job is not to make thousands of decisions a day. Rather, your job is to make a small number of high-quality decisions.
  •  If you pioneer a new invention, you usually get 2 years before competitors create a clone product

Intro

  • Jeffrey Bezos (@jeffbezos) is an American internet entrepreneur, industrialist, media proprietor, and investor. He is best known as the founder, CEO, and president of the multinational technology company Amazon.  
  • Host: David Rubenstein

Thoughts on Wealth

  • In 2018, Jeff owned 16% of Amazon stock and the company had a market cap of a trillion dollars
    • In other words, Amazon has built over $840 billion in wealth for others 
  • Advice from Jeff: Don’t associate your company’s stock performance with your intelligence
    • Just because the company’s stock is up 30%, it doesn’t mean you’re 30% smarter
      • “I never spend any time thinking about the daily stock price” – Jeff Bezos

Jeff’s Philanthropic Missions

  • Jeff plans to donate $2 billion to philanthropic causes
  • Jeff went to a Montessori school as a kid and is a big believer in early education so his foundation will be providing full-tuition for Montessori inspired preschools in low-income neighborhoods
    • “The money spent there is going to pay gigantic dividends for decades” – Jeff Bezos
  • Jeff will also give grants and fund family homeless shelters

Business & Life Advice

  • Jeff believes that the #1 thing that has made Amazon successful is obsessive, compulsive, focus on the customer as opposed to obsession over the competitor
    • “It is a huge advantage to any company if you can stay focused on your customer instead of your competitor” – Jeff Bezos
  • When it comes to early investing, you’re betting on the founder, not the company
  • A mental model from Jeff: When you’re thinking about making a decision, imagine you’re 80 years old and ask yourself if you regret not doing that thing. You want to live a life where you’ve minimized your regrets.
  • “The stock is not the company and the company is not the stock” – Jeff Bezos
    • If your revenue and profit is growing, don’t worry about the stock price dropping in the short term
  • Don’t worry if a few of your projects fail, the big winners will pay for the thousands that have failed
  • Jeff doesn’t have meetings before 10 AM and tries to get 8 hours of sleep a night
  • As a senior executive, your job is not to make thousands of decisions a day. Your job is to make a small number of high-quality decisions.
  • If you pioneer a new invention, you usually get 2 years before competitors create a clone product

Buying The Washington Post

  • Jeff never had any dreams or desires to buy The Washington Post but decided to buy it because he viewed it as an important institution
    • “It is the newspaper in the capital city of the most important country in the world. The Washington Post had an incredibly important role to play in this democracy.” – Jeff Bezos
  • In 2013 he looked at their business model and saw that its revenue was eroding because of the internet
    • He changed the business model from making a lot of money from a few readers to making a little bit of money from a lot of readers
      • Today, the company is profitable and has been growing every year since he bought it 

Jeff’s Background & Starting Amazon

  • Jeff grew up in Texas, went to high school in Miami where he was valedictorian, and then went to Princeton. He went there because he wanted to be a theoretical physicist. But later changed his major to computer science.
    • After college, Jeff went to work for a quantitive hedge fund
      • In 1994, Jeff learned that the world wide web was growing at something like 2,300% a year and wanted to build a business on the internet
        • Jeff decided to sell books because there were more books in print than any one store could hold
          • After selling books, Jeff started selling music and videos

Additional Notes

  • Amazon bought Whole Foods because they believed they could combine it with Prime and their tech know-how to give customers a better experience 
  • The purpose of Blue Origin is to build reusable space vehicles and space infrastructure so that the next generation can explore space
The David Rubenstein Show : , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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