The founder of Amazon.com Jeff Bezos is one of the wealthiest people on the planet with the capital of over 80 billion US dollars. In 2012 his fortune was estimated in $19 billion. That means his fortune has more than fourfold in crisis times. Maybe the extraordinary nature of Bezos is the reason for such a rapid growth. Being 53 years old he is working very forcefully and with enthusiasm of an excited teenager. Journalists are calling him “no-frills millionaire” for his dislike of luxury and demonstration of high status. It does not please Bezos. But he is pleased by the rest.
Imagine a rainy day, cafe, frowning and sad faces of people came it out of the rain and constantly looking at their watches. Take a closer look. Do you see an absolutely happy man at the back table making fun of the question if he is sometimes unhappy. “If I am sad, just wait for 5 minutes!”
Dreaming is acting
Jeff Bezos does not look like a millionaire even now. And in his childhood he was not reminding at businessman at all: he was not interested in sales, did not sell lemonade and did not seek luxury. He was always inventing and dreaming but with his feets on the ground.
He spent every summer at his grandparents’ ranch in Texas and got used early to a real manual labor: he was fixing equipment, helped with household issues and grazed the cattle. The future businessman learned from the early childhood that you have to think everything through, calculate and be ready to work in any conditions if you want your dreams come true.
He has invented a special alarm system while dreaming about privacy. The system was activated every time someone entered the room. He created a device out of foil and umbrella warming up sandwiches in hot summer days. Once he presented to his grandmother a calculations of how long he will live if he will give up smoking.
Just like many other boys he was dreaming to become an astronaut. He was attracted by the space and all related to it: researches, spacecrafts and space travelling. But unlike many others he was committed to follow his dream with practical steps. For instance, his goal was to become the best student.
Dream but be authentic
After the graduation Jeff Bezos decided to apply to the Princeton university hoping that studying physics will lead him to space researches. He faced his first disappointment. there were no free places at the physics department, so he has to study programming. But in Bezos world the objective circumstances can influence plans but it is not the reason for indulgences for yourself. On the contrary he studied programming with the same force and dedication.
After graduation from the university the young programmer started to work for Fitel company and dived into his work and dreams. In two years he found on his table an envelope where D.E. Show was stated as a sender. Jeff Bezos did not have any idea about that name and he opened the envelope only because his more experienced colleagues asked him to. They heard the name of David Shaw, one of the most eminent programmers of that time and the professor of computer technologies department of the university of Columbia.
Shaw was constantly looking for the best in technological area and engaged them. And Jeff Bezos developed a program tracking all financial operations of Fitel. By the way, the program is still used even today. But Bezos was not impressed by the job offer could make happy any of his colleagues.
During the interview he has listened carefully to the director of the company, asked for the contract to study and mentioned in a passing that he is not sure if this job matches his future plans. In one week he moved to his own office and upon his own conditions. It was agreed, he is coming to the work only if he feels inspired for new business fields and software research. Internet was included in his research field but at that time no one knows a lot about it.
A dream took over the world
Internet became a new universe for Bezos. In 1994 at the birthday of his wife he blurred out: “Happy birthday! do you know internet growing at 2300% every year?” Just like in childhood, he was dreaming and counting again and numbers took his breath, woke up his imagination and new visions. The idea of internet sales seemed to be great not only by understanding how much can be sold but also by the feeling it could become the most comfortable way of shopping.
Jeff Bezos wife was writing a book at this time. No wonder he answer to the question what to sell was “Books!” Bezos dived into calculations. It turned out books have almost the last position among goods delivered by post. And it was impossible to order any without knowing the exact title.
Two days were spent on dreaming and calculating. After that Jeff Bezos resigned and started to look for investors in his new venture. He exactly knew he needs 300 thousand dollars and his chances to fail are 2 to 3. That was exactly what he reported to potential investors in the first instance and did not waste a lot of words on describing the future prospects and expected growth rates. The investors did not know Bezos well and they decided not to get involved in the strange project.
But the family believed in the beginning entrepreneur. His parents gave him the required sum and they had no idea about business and technologies. Initially Jeff’s parents owned all Amazon assets. Now they have only 6% and this is enough to have a pretty life.
It is possible Jeff Bezos was the most active internet user in 1994. He conducted agreements with websites owners on advertisement placement and used the agreed space up to 100%. He clarified the website the client is coming from, how much he purchased and depending on that he calculated and paid a percentage on sales to the website owner. Bezos was the first who used such marketing methods, so his innovative solutions can be considered as beginning of internet marketing.
In 1997 when the initial public offer was placed no one was interested in and wanted to know where in the company main office. More important were warehouses with goods stored. And the area of Amazon warehouses for books only already exceeded 80 thousand square meters.
Financial analytics skeptically indicated web projects did not comply with it market value. In the meantime Amazon share prices increased more than five times in three years. The real turnover accounted for 8 billion dollars but the company share price was estimated in 20 billion dollars. The reason for it is that Bezos investem the major part of financials in his future projects. He came into internet forever to make his dreams come true. Today stock markets are vulnerable that’s why the fortune of Jeff Bezos varies from 90 to 87 billion dollars. But he does not get upset, it does not interfere with dreaming and work.
And what about his dream about space? Finally it also came true in some sense. in 2016 Jeff Bezos played a role of an alien in a movie directed by Justin Lin “Startrack: Infinity”.
How is it made in Amazon: three secrets of success from Jeff Bezos
«Empty chair». Who is that person who is everybody afraid of in any company – the director? But not in Amazon. Every meeting in the company of Bezos everyone looks back at the empty chair belonging to the main authority, to the client. Bezos sees himself as someone like bodyguard or advocate of his needs. “Goods shall be available in storage” “We need to provide our clients with all possible movies even with the rarest ones” “The new user does not need to feel confused, offer him something he will fall in! make his stay at the webpage the mostly comfortable!”
Economically and efficient. The bigger is the company, the better feel the management? But not in Amazon. Here they use black and white printers only, work at outdated tables and fly in economy class only. While other IT companies just like Google and Apple Inc. engage big experts with luxury and comfort, Amazon keeps its traditions.
For instance at the interview Jeff Bezos asks the candidate for a top position to develop a new strategy. When the answer is ready Bezos adds: “And now imagine you have no budget for this. What will be your actions?” The team is not growing very fast, but in accordance with its founder’s opinion, if you cannot feed a team with two pizzas, it became too big. But what such economy is for? Company’s earnings go for making Bezos’ dreams come true – for new developments.
Innovations. Investment in newest products, believe in them and stubborn work on innovations – all that allow Amazon to lead and to continue its enormous growth.
In the beginning of 2000 investors realized they hastened to put their money into technologies time was not yet ripe for. Shares of online companies have fallen. In 2003 Bezos started to sell to investors the access to the structure of Amazon software. And since 2006 the cloud web service Amazon Web Services begins to grow as an independent business. Today NASA laboratories manage their devices through Amazon computers during space research. During the research operation on Saturn 180 thousand pictures were transmitted to the Earth during five hours. That costed NASA 200 dollars. And Amazon is happy because the client is happy.
When one of the new products, Amazon Kindle was developed, Bezos tasked the experts with a challenge to develop a reader allowing its user to download any book in less than a minute. The financials asked him after making their calculations “How much are you ready to invest in it?”. Bezos answer was very simple: “And how much do we have available?”
Another project that made the financials worry about was a tablet Kindle Fire planned to be issued for $199 only. It was too cheap. But Bezos was obsessed only by the one thing – the product must come out exactly how he was dreaming about.
People say in the last time Jeff Bezos is thinking about a new smartphone. Why not? Amazon has benefits like no one else: postal addresses of the clients, their preferences, sales history and credit cards data.
It is hard to assume how the new smartphone of the dream will be. Finally if Bezos were not a dreamer of a big scale we would not know about the half of the goods being offered for sale on the website and were not able to buy them just in two clicks. But it is for sure, it will be a cool product.