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CEO-at-a-Distance: JEFF BEZOS

Setting: desk space.

Aruna Singh

on 10 October 2014

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Transcript of CEO-at-a-Distance: JEFF BEZOS

Always attaches 1997 letter
- “it’s still day one”

Career History
Leadership Philosophy
Leadership Vision
Personalized experience

Metrics tell stories

Service, not gadgets


Laura, Jose
& Jason
Leadership Style
Inventive Ideas
Belittled/Overruled Employees
"The Question Mark"
Straight talking
Shareholder Letters
Core Principles
Letters (continued)
Aim to impress shareholders
•Letter = peptalk, instills confidence
• Details of new development - “aim
to impress customers rather
than zeal best of competitors”

for Amazon
Fundamental Truth
Sell more products and services.

Bezos’ version: “We don’t make $$ when we sell things; we make $$ when we help customers make purchase decisions.”

Investment strategy: “Proactively delighting customers earns trust, which earns more business from those customers”.

Birth date:
January 12, 1964

Birth place:
Albuquerque, NM

Birth name:
Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen

Ted Jorgensen

Jackie (Gise) Bezos

He was adopted at a young age by
his stepfather, Miguel "Mike" Bezos,
an engineer at Exxon.
Wife: MacKenzie (Tuttle) Bezos

Children: An adopted daughter
and 3 sons

Amazon spends $1.6 m/yr on
security for Bezos and family.

His wife, a respected novelist,
still drives him to work in their Honda after dropping kids off at school.

Bezos’ values are closely tied to
his company’s:

1. Customer obsession
2. Frugality
3. Bias for Action
4. Ownership
5. High bar for talent
6. Innovation

“The Empty Chair”

Have a Backbone

Reinvent everything

Tough love

When to meddle/intervene
Has changed over time
Organizational Outcomes
Company’s Mission:
to be Earth’s most customer
-centric company, where
customers can find and discover
anything they might want to buy
online, and endeavors to offer
its customers the lowest possible

Bezos’ version: “to develop
premium products at
non-premium prices.”

Core Principles

of Best CEOS
Shareholder returns of

Market cap increase by

$111 B
Sales increase


in 2011,

n 2013

"...I care very much about our long-term share price. I do not follow the stock on a daily basis, because I don't think there's any information in it."
Technology on Fire: Kindle, Phone, and TV

Media Services
HBO Deal “Everything but Game of Thrones”
Amazon Originals

Prioritizes Customer Service/Relations

jeff@amazon.com for complaints

Leadership Presence
Attempted to contact w/ 8 email addresses, 4 worked
Brad Stone, author of "The Everything Store"
Business Book of the Year

Senior Writer for Bloomberg Businessweek

Native of Cleveland


3 Next Big Things From Amazon: What Customers Can Expect This Year, By Carol Kopp Apr 25, 2014

"Amazon.com Investor Relations: Annual Reports and Proxies." Amazon.com Investor Relations: Annual Reports and Proxies. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Sept. 2014.

Anders, George. "Jeff Bezos Top 10 Leadership Lessons." Forbes. N.p., 4 Apr. 2012. Web. 9 Sept. 2014.

Deutschman, Alan. "Inside the Mind of Jeff Bezos." Fast Company. N.p., 1 Aug. 2004. Web. 14 Sept. 2014.

How Jeff Bezos Makes Decisions." Harvard Business Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Sept. 2014.

"How Jeff Bezos Rules His Amazonian Empire." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 1 Sept. 2014.

"Jeff Bezos Reveals His No. 1 Leadership Secret." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 1 Sept. 2014.

"Leadership Qualities of Jeff Bezos, Leadership Tips, Business Leaders."Center For Work Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Sept. 2014.

McGinn, Dan. "How Jeff Bezos Makes Decisions." Web log post. Harvard Business Review. Harvard University, 18 Oct. 2013.
Web. 9 Sept. 2014.

Stone, Brad. "The Secrets of Bezos: How Amazon Became the Everything Store.” Bloomberg Business Week. Bloomberg, 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 06 Sept. 2014.

"The Amazon Fire TV Is Getting Better" by Michael Comeau Apr 24, 2014

"The Everything Store Jeff Bezos And The Age Of Amazon." Mmr 31.13 (2014): 69-82. Business Source Complete. Web. 14 Sept. 2014.

"The HR Capitalist: CASE STUDY: The Management Style of Amazon's Jeff Bezos..." 'The HR Capitalist' N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Sept. 2014.

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