Bezos Annual Letter

I just sent this note out to our CEO list. I was going to write a different post today about The Founder Wellness Pact: How Accelerators are Addressing Depression Among Founders but I’m going to save it for next week. After sending this note out, I decided it was the clearest thing I could add to your world today going into the weekend. 

Jeff Bezos’ annual letter is now up there with Warren Buffett’s annual letter as must reads for me. However, it is a lot shorter (5 minutes vs. 20 minutes).

You’ve probably seen lots of techy news, tweets, and medium posts about this. Don’t read them. Just read the letter. It won’t take long, and if you think about it while you are reading it, it will mean something that sticks.

Ask yourself several questions when you are finished:

1. Do you have a customer-obsessed culture?

2. Do you make decisions with 70% of the information?

3. Do you have a “disagree but commit” culture (especially when it’s you that is disagreeing)?

Also published on Medium.

  • This is awesome. I’m sending it to my executives at this “very large organization” I now work for….. see if we can ignite some of this energy. Very cool.

  • This was a great letter. Lots of food for thought-and hard to implement a lot of those concepts effectively.

  • jfjoyner3

    I have to submit a sour note here … on a regular basis I experience an avoidable shortcoming in Bezos’ commitment to customer service.

    I am a kindle app user. As an avid reader I have a couple of thousand kindle books. Did you know the Mac or Windows apps cannot sort “collections” of books alphabetically? This seems like a pretty basic functionality but resists offering this feature. I have requested it multiple times over several years. If you go online in any customer forum to comment about this missing feature three people will attack the post within minutes … as if they are waiting to pounce on any bad news posted to the forum (??).

    Certainly Bezos has made some remarkable innovations. But his words of commitment to customers rings a little hollow for me.

    • I’m an extremely long time Kindle user (from the beginning). As a customer, the product continues to delight me. I also have several thousand Kindle books.

      There are many features I would like. Many many many. Some seem obvious. And, while I have no idea how Amazon / Kindle prioritizes, as someone who is an investor in many companies, no matter how big you are, there are always many obvious features that simply don’t get to the top of the list for whatever reason.

      I don’t fault Amazon for this, given what does get to the top of the list. Could they be better – sure. Does this undermine what Bezos says? Not at all in my mind.

  • Drew V

    TFW Brad’s “5 minute” read is my 15 minute read…

  • Jeff Swaim

    The most valuable take-away for me in his letter is simply the Day One principle focused on customer bliss. Hard to go wrong if you can pull it off.