Jeff Bezos on Success

How many people hold seminars telling you how to be successful, and what the hell have they done to make a success out of themselves except hold seminars? In the case of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, I definitely want to hear him talk about how he became a success (and hope some of it will rub off on me).


As we are told, Bezos was strong at math, which I’ve always felt helps, although I’m not sure if this is an element of success in the book Outliers. (That’s the best-seller that tells you that successful people have thousands of hours of practice in whatever they’ve excelled in.) 

So what are some of Bezo’s keys to success? Well some of it sounds like the usual spiel, like, “It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Not to mention customer service is of course key, a big key, to keeping people coming back, and the best customer service is when they don’t have to call for any.

Okay, we get it, is there anything deeper? I like this one: “If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table.” How about trying to apply this one? “The thing about inventing is you have to be both stubborn and flexible, more or less simultaneously.” So how does this work? If you’re stubborn, you’ll quit too easily, and if you’re not flexible, you’ll go nuts when adversity hits. 

In addition, Bezos recommends being realistic, and this one’s good too: “Mediocre theoretical physicists make no progress. They spend all their time understanding other people’s progress.” So try some of these yourself, and see if it works. After all, Bezos got pretty far with them, maybe you’ll get somewhere with them too.