A conversation between Charlie Rose and Jeff Bezos

I just watched this interview, which is worth watching:

Some interesting comments:

Customer obsession as opposed to competitor obsession

Jeff wants Amazon to focus on the customer, not on what other competitors are doing. That’s why they are always iterating and launching new products. They don’t always follow trends (their mobile phones and tablets weren’t the best bet).

In order to do that they are eager to develop new skills internally to satisfy those customer needs. A good example is Alexa. They needed to create a whole team that worked in AI.

Willingness to think long term

This is a well know fact of Amazon. They reinvest every single cent that they get. They launch products in an early stage (the initial AWS, Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios) and they iterate as fast as they can.

Pride in operational efficiency

This is also a very important motto for Amazon. As the biggest retailer in the world, they spend a lot of resources on increasing their efficiency. A perfect example is their warehouses. They have been investing tons of money on robots, testing different configuration of warehouses or even doing the last mile.

Related to the last mile, Jeff says UPS and others don’t have to fear Amazon. They are entering the shipping sector because they need as much capacity as they can. They don’t want to be limited by them. Amazon is growing as they grow too. I wonder if that would be true in 10 years.

AWS had 7 years of runaway before competitors entered the space

Jeff was really surprised that competitors gave Amazon 7 years before they launched a competitor to AWS. When you launch something new and successful, you have 2 years before competitors try to catch you.

However the traditional hosting and enterprise companies did nothing. They were thinking: “why a company would host their website on a bookstore?”. Microsoft and Google were fighting other battles, and it took them years to realise they had to do something. AWS is clearly a runway success.

In case you didn’t know, AWS was built for internal use as developers and sysadmins were using different coding languages and platforms. I’d love to read the meeting minutes of when they were discussing if opening AWS to the public was a good idea.

Future of Earth

Like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos also has an aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services company called Blue Origin. He doesn’t want to invest on it in order to have a plan B in case we destroy Earth but because we can improve a lot our quality of life if we start using the space. His plan is to send all the industry to the space and convert Earth into a full residential area. It doesn’t sound like a bad plan!