Business Leader Spotlight – Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon has built one of the most valuable and impactful companies. He became the wealthiest man in the world in July 2017 passing Bill Gates with a net worth of $100 billion. With this level of success, it would be disrespectful to not do a case study on Jeff Bezos. There is a lot to learn from his career journey and principles, which we could adopt in our personal lives to increase our chances of success.
Overview of Jeff Bezos’ Career
Jeff Bezos graduated from Princeton and worked on wall street within the computer science function. He then remained in the financial services industry for a few years with a focus on technology and internet based solutions.
During a cross-country road trip from New York to Seattle he cultivated a business plan for Amazon and started to run operations from his garage. Later he left his job at hedge fund to go full-time in his Amazon venture.
Initially the company was an internet merchant of books and overtime expanded into other products and services. Today amazon is the world’s largest internet sales company and largest cloud infrastructure services.
In addition to building Amazon, Bezos also made investments and hold business interests in various industries. He founded Blue Origin which is a human spaceflight startup company, purchased the Washington Post and has made many venture capital investments through his VC firm Bezos Expeditions. Many of his investments and business interests are diversified across many industries which is interesting considering he primarily has a technology background.
Key Takeaway’s from Jeff Bezos’ Career
I believe that Jeff was able to draft the business idea for Amazon by letting his mind wander on his road trip. It is essential to do some reconnaissance and let your imagination run free. The constant stimuli in this busy world is not conducive for developing creative ideas.
Sometimes it is best to just be bored, relax the brain and begin to treat your brain just like you would train your body for fitness. A good book to read about traveling and doing some reconnaissance would be “The Reconnaissance Man” by Aaron Clarey. This is something I believe every young professional should do to truly understand who they are and discover what they want to do in life.
Diversification Across Industries
Business leaders tend to specialize in one industry and play to their strengths. However, Bezos has his hands in many different industries and has combined various aspects in each industry to grow Amazon to what it is today.
Amazon started off as an online book merchant and is now involved with a wide variety of industries. Dabbling in each industry has allowed Amazon to grow to the level of scale it is today. In addition, Bezos has made personal investments across many industries which has allowed him to gain a well-rounded perspective of the business world that many entrepreneurs do not have. Typically, people that do not develop a focus in one industry tend to be lack luster in multiple disciplines, but Bezos has proved this wrong.
Developing a Competitive Advantage
With the high growth and expansion of Amazon, leaders in other industries especially the financial services industry need to be aware that Amazon can enter and dominate their market. Amazon has proven that it can enter a new industry and be successful in taking a large share of the market. Just because the financial services industry has complex regulations and infrastructure does not mean that Amazon will look over this sector.
Amazon’s competitive advantage is their ability to collect and use data in a way other companies cannot. Their distribution channel and supply chain is immaculate which makes it difficult for companies to compete against. I am excited to see what type of technology, products and services Amazon will introduce in the next 10-20 years. Bezos has truly revolutionized the world and has put pressure on other businesses to grow and adapt for the better.