Step back like a billionaire: Previous tech titan exits offer examples for Bezos

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The Washington Post 05 July, 2021 - 04:45am 30 views

Why is Jeff Bezos stepping down?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has officially stepped down as the company's chief executive, handing that role over to Andy Jassy, in order to focus on "new products and early initiatives". Sky NewsJeff Bezos steps down as Amazon CEO today - but how much power is he really giving up?

Is Jeff Bezos retiring?

Jeff Bezos will officially step down as the CEO of Amazon on Monday, July 5. Now, 57, the online shopping giant's CEO will be retiring as the world's richest person with a net worth of over $200 billion, as reported by Bloomberg's Billionaire's Index. Republic WorldJeff Bezos to step down as Amazon CEO on July 5 at 57 as world's richest person

Five Ways Businesses Can Use Amazon's Mission Statement as a Growth Strategy

Entrepreneur 05 July, 2021 - 07:48am

The famous words of hotelier Cesar Ritz, "the customer is never wrong,” are as true today as they were over 100 years ago. Although the sentiment has remained consistent throughout the decades, strategies and tactics to establish a customer-centric model are constantly evolving, and companies that fail to understand their customers can't remain competitive in a packed digital ecosystem for too long. 

It would be tough to find an organization with a better strategic model than Amazon.

Amazon's current mission statement is, "To be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavours to offer its customers the lowest possible prices." The company's goals have always been customer-centric. In 1997, Jeff Bezos promised Amazon would "focus relentlessly on our customers." He also said, "We see our customers as 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.”  

Here are five ways businesses can benefit from the Amazon customer-centric growth strategy

The customer is at the heart of everything Amazon does. In a 2013 interview, Bezos said, "I would define Amazon by our big ideas, which are customer centricity, putting the customer at the center of everything we do, invention."

If you consider some of the things Amazon offers, such as Prime delivery, one-click ordering, recommendations, special deals, and real-time assistance, all of them serve to benefit the customer. 

When Amazon first started in 1994, the idea of making a digital purchase was still new. There was a long way to building customer trust in buying things online, which Amazon met because of the emphasis on customer service. Since then, the company has expanded into other products and services that all meet the consumer's needs. Preferences will constantly change, and your products need to evolve with them. 

Always focus on "who" and "why" when creating a product with your target audience at the center of everything. Test it, talk to your customers about it, and make sure it solves a problem for them. The starting point for a product definition is a customer-centric document that doesn't concern itself with technical details. If you can't tell customers why they need your product, it probably isn't going to sell.

Related: 10 Ways to Learn About Your Target Audience

It turns out that customers are quite willing to tell us what they want if we ask them about it and listen. Investment in research and development to understand the customer's needs is crucial to a customer-centric growth strategy. In 2019, Amazon spent $42.7 billion on research and development (which they call technology and content). The costs reflect how the company wants to invest in numerous areas of technology and content to enhance the customer experience continually and improve process efficiency through rapid technology developments. 

Customer surveys, focus groups, and review platforms are all ways that small and medium-sized enterprises can start investing in R&D. Experimentation can be initiated by employees at all levels within the company to create new knowledge, which is what R&D is all about. For every idea, ask how it will make things easier for your customers, and if there is a clear answer, it's one worth driving forwards. 

Related: Why Your R&D Budget Should Be the Last Place You Cut

Over the last two decades, the Amazon has become a constantly changing ecosystem of products and systems, including the Kindle, Alexa, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and the purchase of Wholefoods. AWS alone is thought to produce around 50 percent of Amazon profits, emphasizing how diversifying into new markets can positively impact revenue. Always keep one eye on new markets so you can meet your customers wherever they are. It will foster loyalty and appreciation to ensure market diversification is a success. 

Every should want to innovate its customer experience and continue to be unique by offering something that your competition cannot. Of course, innovation does not happen overnight, but keeping up with trends and encouraging creativity should be at the core of a customer-centric growth strategy. 

Amazon responded to the "now" with Amazon Prime delivery to give customers free shipping on thousands of products. They also pioneered one-click ordering using pre-set options. Amazon Lockers allow customers to pick up items from numerous locations worldwide. The @AmazonHelp Twitter account handles customer queries seven days a week in seven languages. Recently, Amazon Go has introduced a checkout-less store. 

The list of innovations from Amazon still goes on, whilst the customer is at the center of each and differentiates Amazon from its competition.  Amazon is a multi-billion dollar business that has had several years to develop and perfect its customer-centric model. Although the capabilities of the tech conglomerate are out of the reach of the average business, these five aspects of the customer-centric model can offer inspiration from which any business can benefit.

Related: Starting a Business? Here's How Innovation Will Take You Ahead

As Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos was obsessed with the company's 'inevitable' death

Yahoo! Voices 05 July, 2021 - 05:35am

Bezos said the life-span of big companies was usually only a few decades. If companies stagnate, they die, he said.

"Amazon is not too big to fail ... In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail," Bezos said in 2018.

See more stories on Insider's business page.

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon on July 5, 1994. Exactly 27 years later, on Monday, he stepped down as CEO to make way for senior Amazon executive Andy Jassy.

Under Bezos' stewardship, Amazon grown into a tech behemoth - but at times the billionaire has seemed convinced that Amazon is doomed to die. Bezos talked about the firm's potential demise three times between 2013 and 2018, and in his final letter to shareholders in April 2021 he quoted a passage from scientist Richard Dawkins about "staving off death."

This is extremely unusual for a CEO - with demanding investors looking over their shoulders, executives are normally unflinchingly positive about their firm's prospects.

But it seems a fear of failure and stagnation propels Bezos on. Here are some of the times he has talked about Amazon's "inevitable" death:

In 2013, Bezos said big companies only live for a "few decades."

Bezos spoke to CBS show "60 Minutes" in 2013 to show off Amazon's automated drone delivery division — a division that in November 2020 laid off dozens of R&D and manufacturing staff, according to a Financial Times report.

"Companies have short lifespans ... and Amazon will be disrupted one day," he said.

Asked whether that fact worried him, Bezos replied: "I don't worry about it because I know it's inevitable. Companies come and go, and the companies that are the shiniest and most important of any era — you wait a few decades and they're gone."

Bezos added that he would love for Amazon to out-live him.

In 2017, Bezos pondered an "excruciating, painful decline" in a letter to shareholders.

In a 2017 letter to shareholders, Bezos discussed his "Day One" philosophy — he always insisted it was "Day One" for Amazon.

In the letter, he answered a question from an all-hands meeting about what "Day Two" looks like.

"An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come," he added. He then talked about how a company can "fend off" Day Two.

2018: "I predict one day Amazon will fail," Bezos told staff.

In a recording of a 2018 all-hands meeting obtained by CNBC, Bezos was still just as convinced of Amazon's inescapable mortality.

"Amazon is not too big to fail ... In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail," Bezos said in reply to a staffer who asked about big businesses like Sears going bankrupt.

"Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years," he said.

Bezos said it was his job to delay that date by as long as possible. Amazon turned 27 years old Monday, so it is fast approaching Bezos's 30-year benchmark.

2021: "Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at," Bezos quoted from Richard Dawkins in his final letter to shareholders.

In his last letter to shareholders as Amazon CEO in April 2021, Jeff Bezos concluded by quoting a passage from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins' book "The Blind Watchmaker."

"Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at. Left to itself – and that is what it is when it dies – the body tends to revert to a state of equilibrium with its environment. If you measure some quantity such as the temperature, the acidity, the water content or the electrical potential in a living body, you will typically find that it is markedly different from the corresponding measure in the surroundings.

"Our bodies, for instance, are usually hotter than our surroundings, and in cold climates they have to work hard to maintain the differential. When we die the work stops, the temperature differential starts to disappear, and we end up the same temperature as our surroundings. Not all animals work so hard to avoid coming into equilibrium with their surrounding temperature, but all animals do some comparable work.

"For instance, in a dry country, animals and plants work to maintain the fluid content of their cells, work against a natural tendency for water to flow from them into the dry outside world. If they fail they die. More generally, if living things didn't work actively to prevent it, they would eventually merge into their surroundings, and cease to exist as autonomous beings. That is what happens when they die."

Bezos said this passage was a "fantastic" metaphor for Amazon, saying it shows how companies need to constantly work at being distinctive, rather than settling for a comfortable stasis.

"The world will always try to make Amazon more typical — to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort, but we can and must be better than that," Bezos wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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