Long term view and broad strategy - Jeff Bezos interview at AllThingsD

- strategy

The full article can be read here. Two things stand out.

First, on long term view.  Jeff is famous for his long term view even in 1997 when Amazon just went public. Economist also has a profile about his 10,000-year-clock and Blue Origin project.  He famously said:

“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people,” Mr. Bezos told reporter Steve Levy last month in an interview in Wired. “But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue. At Amazon we like things to work in five to seven years. We’re willing to plant seeds, let them grow—and we’re very stubborn.”

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="380"] Jeff Bezos at AllThingsD[/caption]

Talking about the Kindle Product series. Here is another excellent example on taking really long term view.

In a previous interview, you said it takes five to seven years for a new business to either break even or become profitable. And you are now in year five of the Kindle.

Bezos: True story. Typically, of course, they vary a bit. We are in year five, but actually you could say we are in year eight because we worked on the device — the Kindle one — three years before we launched it.

Another thing that goes against common wisdom is about focus. It's really dazzling that Amazon is competing with NetFlix on video streaming, Walmart on retail, Google/Apple on mobile and leading the AWS service.

Anyone ever tell you that you have a focus problem?

Bezos: Hahahaha! That’s so funny because my Montessori teacher used to have to pick me up and move me from one task to the next.

So, no?

Bezos: So, no, I have never been asked that question. But I know where that’s coming from. I would say we do have a different philosophy from other companies — another common phrase is “stick to your knitting.” Our approach is, if we have a good idea, and if it’s something we think customers would care about, like AWS or Kindle Fire, then we don’t ask why do this, we ask why not do this? We have a high bar for doing those things. We don’t want to do me-too things. The people we’ve attracted over time to Amazon want to be pioneers. They want to be inventors. They want to do new things.

Take away? Do what makes sense to one's own company and ignore what others have to say. Do the same thing everyone is doing is not going to make or break a company.