Quotes by Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos is undoubtedly one of the business leaders worldwide. He embodies many traits most have outgrown over the years. He retains an insatiable, almost childlike, and joyful curiosity, about almost everything. With Blue Origin, Bezos set his eyes on space.

“We expect all our businesses to have a positive impact on our top and bottom lines. Profitability is very important to us or we wouldn't be in this business.”

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”

“If you only do things where you know the answer in advance, your company goes away.”

“We've had three big ideas at Amazon that we've stuck with for 18 years, and they're the reason we're successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”

“We are comfortable planting seeds and waiting for them to grow into trees.”

“I strongly believe that missionaries make better products. They care more. For a missionary, it's not just about the business. There has to be a business, and the business has to make sense, but that's not why you do it. You do it because you have something meaningful that motivates you.”

“There'll always be serendipity involved in the discovery.”

“We will make bold rather than timid investment decisions where we see a sufficient probability of gaining market leadership advantages.”

“Any business plan won’t survive its first encounter with reality. The reality will always be different. It will never be the plan.”

“Math-based decisions command wide agreement, whereas judgment-based decisions are rightly debated and often controversial, at least until put into practice and demonstrated.”

“Our judgment is that relentlessly returning efficiency improvements and scale economies to customers in the form of lower prices creates a virtuous cycle that leads over the long term to a much larger dollar amount of free cash flow, and thereby to a much more valuable Amazon.com.”

“What counts is being creative and imaginative.”

“”Curiosity is more important than knowledge.” A second key trait is to love and to connect the arts and sciences.”

“We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”

“So did Einstein, who wrote to another friend, “You and I never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.”

“Einstein once said. “I am only passionately curious.” That’s not fully true (he certainly did have special talent), but he was right when he said, “Curiosity is more important than knowledge.”

“Amazon.com went live on July 16, 1995. Bezos and his small team rigged up a bell to chime whenever they got a sale, but it very quickly needed to be disabled, as rushes of orders came in.”

“”Mr. Bezos, can you even spell ‘profit’?” Brokaw asked, highlighting the fact that Amazon was hemorrhaging money as it grew. “Sure,” Bezos replied, “P-R-O-P-H-E-T.””

“Many companies describe themselves as customer-focused, but few walk the walk. Most big technology companies are competitor focused.”

“To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.”

“I would much rather have a kid with nine fingers than a resourceless kid, which is a great attitude about life.”

“What happens when unlimited demand meets finite resources? The answer is incredibly simple: rationing. That’s the path we would find ourselves on, and that path would lead, for the first time, to your grandchildren and their grandchildren having worse lives than you. That’s a bad path.”

“The vision for Echo and Alexa was inspired by the Star Trek computer,”

“And we have ideas about how to merge Prime and Whole Foods to make Whole Foods a very differentiated experience.”

“I’m talking about poverty, hunger, homelessness, pollution, overfishing in the oceans. The list of immediate problems is very long, and we need to work on those things urgently, in the here and now.”

“Humanity has been small. That’s not true anymore. The Earth is no longer big. Humanity is big. Earth seems big to us, but it’s finite.”


Both Bezos and Musk are pushing into space in their own ways. Learn what Elon is saying on how we should explore outer space.

“Jeff, one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

“But it’s really dangerous to demonize the media. It’s dangerous to call the media lowlifes. It’s dangerous to say they’re the enemy of the people.”

“I’ll debate something for an hour or a day or a week. And I’ll say, “You know what? I really disagree with this, but you have more ground truth than I do. We’re going to do it your way. And I promise I will never tell you I told you so.”

“To be clear, we take these financial outputs seriously, but we believe that focusing our energy on the controllable inputs to our business is the most effective way to maximize financial outputs over time.”

“We Are What We Choose”

“We trade real estate for technology (which gets cheaper and more capable every year).”

“By 2019 Amazon stock would be at $2,000 a share, and the company would have $233 billion in revenues and 647,000 employees worldwide.”

“Stress comes from ignoring the things that you shouldn't be ignoring.”

“Until July, Amazon.com had been primarily built on two pillars of customer experience: selection and convenience. In July, as I already discussed, we added a third customer experience pillar: relentlessly lowering prices. You should know that our commitment to the first two pillars remains as strong as ever.”

“The quality of customer experience a partner delivers is the single most important criteria in our selection process—we simply won’t build a partnership with any company that does not share our passion for serving customers.”

“I think it's true that big government institutions should be scrutinized, big non-profit institutions should be scrutinized, big universities should be scrutinized. It just makes sense.”

“People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday's 'wow' quickly becomes today's 'ordinary'.”

“Smart people are a dime a dozen and often don’t amount to much. What counts is being creative and imaginative.”

“You collect as much data as you can, you immerse yourself in that data but then you make the decision with your heart.”

“”I have no special talent,” Einstein once said. “I am only passionately curious””

“We believe that it’s technology married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.”

“What's very dangerous is not to evolve”

“As a company grows, everything needs to scale, including the size of your failed experiments. If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle.”

“It’s not easy to work here (when I interview people I tell them, “You can work long, hard, or smart, but at Amazon.com you can’t choose two out of three”), but we are working to build something important, something that matters to our customers, something that”

“Purchase the book of Penster in the Amazon and Kindle Store and read, we hope you enjoy the benefits of the knowledge and wisdom of the Penster.”

“Why focus on cash flows? Because a share of stock is a share of a company’s future cash flows, and, as a result, cash flows more than any other single variable seem to do the best job of explaining a company’s stock price over the long term.”

“AWS is customer obsessed, inventive and experimental, long-term oriented, and cares deeply about operational excellence.”

“We humans coevolve with our tools. We change our tools, and then our tools change us.”

“”You’ve worn me down” is an awful decision-making process. It’s slow and de-energizing. Go for quick escalation instead – it’s better.”

“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

“If you’re long-term oriented, customer interests and shareholder interests are aligned.”

“The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works.”

“We don’t raise the prices, because we believe — and we have to take this as an article of faith – that by keeping our prices very, very low, we earn trust with customers over time.”

“Starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.”

“Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.”

“In the end, we are our choices.”

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party and we are the hosts.”

“Complaining is not a strategy.You have to work with the world as you find it, not as you would have it be.”

“I'd rather interview fifty people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.”

“what’s good for customers is good for shareholders.”

“Focus on the big decisions. “As a senior executive, what do you really get paid to do?” he asks. “You get paid to make a small number of high-quality decisions. Your job is not to make thousands of decisions every day.”

“My grandfather looked at me, and after a bit of silence, he gently and calmly said, “Jeff, one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.“”

“Most big technology companies are competitor focused. They see what others are doing, and then work to fast follow. In contrast, 90 to 95 percent of what we build in AWS is driven by what customers tell us they want.”

“What’s dangerous is not to evolve.”

“The missionary is building the product and building the service because they love the customer, because they love the product, because they love the service. The mercenary is building the product or service so that they can flip the company and make money.”

“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.”

“People who love all fields of knowledge are the ones who can best spot the patterns that exist across nature.”

“Entrepreneurs must be willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.”

“Position yourself with something that captures your curiosity, something that you're missionary about.”

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people… Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue”

“Start With the Customer and Work Backward”

“As a company, one of our greatest cultural strengths is accepting the fact that if you’re going to invent, you’re going to disrupt.”

“One of the things that I hope will distinguish Amazon.com is that we continue to be a company that defies easy analogy. This requires a lot of innovation, and innovation requires a lot of random walk.”

“All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworth’s.”

“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.”

“No business can continue to shrink. That can only go on for so long before irrelevancy sets in.”

“Cultures aren’t so much planned as they evolve from that early set of people.”

“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.”

“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 conviction that they’re not right, you need to have that long-term willingness to be misunderstood. It’s a key part of invention.”

“It's not an experiment if you know it's going to work.”

“We’re going to build a road to space so that our kids and their kids can build the future. And we need to do that. We need to do that to solve the problems here on Earth. It’s not about escaping.”

“The death knell for any enterprise is to glorify the past -- no matter how good it was.”

“Most decisions should probably be made with around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.”

“We need big failures in order to move the needle. If we don’t, we’re not swinging enough. You really should be swinging hard, and you will fail, but that’s okay.”

“I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”

“Maintain a firm grasp of the obvious at all times.”

“In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.”

“If you never want to be criticized, for goodness' sake don't do anything new.”

“Your margin is my opportunity”

“Work Hard, have fun, make history”

“The great thing about fact-based decisions is that they overrule the hierarchy.”

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

“People who are right most of the time are people who change their minds often.”

“We can't be in survival mode. We have to be in growth mode.”

“Invention is by its very nature disruptive. If you want to be understood at all times, then don't do anything new.”

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

“I wanted a woman who could get me out of a Third World prison. Life's too short to hang out with people who aren't resourceful.”

“E-mail has some magical ability to turn off the politeness gene in a human being.”

“If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we'll turn out all right.”

“If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”

“We need unifiers, not vilifiers. When you look out at the planet, there are no borders. There’s nothing. It’s one planet and we share it and it’s fragile.”

“We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry, and move it into space. And keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is.”