The Everything Store, Brad Stone

Ci-dessous, retrouvez les citations et passages du célèbre livre de Brad Stone, racontant l’histoire d’Amazon et les début de Jeff Bezos, The Everything Store.

Bonne lecture !

  • “When you are eighty years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices.” Jeff Bezos
  • “There is so much stuff that has yet to be invented. There’s so much new that’s going to happen. People don’t have any idea yet how impactful the Internet is going to be and that this is still Day 1 in such a big way. Jeff Bezos
  • “Amazon isn’t happening to the book business. The future is happening to the book business.” Jeff Bezos
  • “If you want to get to the truth about what makes us different, it’s this: We are genuinely customer-centric, we are genuinely long-term oriented and we genuinely like to invent. Most companies are not those things. They are focused on the competitor, rather than the customer. They want to work on things that will pay dividends in two or three years, and if they don’t work in two or three years they prefer to be close-followers they will move on to something else. And they prefer to be close-followers rather than inventors, because it’s safer. So if you want to capture the truth about Amazon, that is why we are different. Very few companies have all those three elements.” Jeff Bezos
  • At the time Bezos was newly married, with a comfortable apartment on the Upper West Side and a well-paying job. While MacKenzie said she would be supportive if he decided to strike out on his own, the decision was not an easy one. Bezos would later describe his thinking process in unusually geeky terms. He says he came up with what he called a “regret-minimization framework” to decide the next step to take at this juncture of his career: “when you are in the thick of things, you can get confused by small stuff. I knew when I was eighty that I would never, for example, think about why I walked away from my 1994 Wall Street bonus right in the middle of the year at the worst possible time. That kind of thing just isn’t something you worry about when you’re eighty years old. At the same time, I knew that I might sincerely regret not having participated in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a revolutionizing event. When I thought about it that way… it was incredibly easy to make the decision.”
  • “It’s easier to invent the future than predict it.” Alan Kay
  • “We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.” Jeff Bezos
  • When Amazon had its first five-thousand-dollar-order day and Lovejoy wanted to throw a party, Bezos rejected the idea. “There are a lot of mile stones coming and that’s not the way I want to run things.”
  • “Look, you should wake up worried, terrified every morning,” Bezos told his employees. “But don’t be worried about our competitors because they’re never going to send us any money anyway. Let’s be worried about our customers and stay heads-down focused.”
  • Bezos used that word a lot: bold. In the company’s first letter to its public shareholders, written collaboratively by Bezos and Joy Covey and typed up by treasurer Russ Grandinetti in early 1998, the word bold was used repeatedly. 

“We will make bold rather than timid investment decisions where we see a sufficient probability of gaining market leadership advantages. Some of these investments will pay off, others will not, and we will have learned another valuable lesson in either case.” 

The letter also stated that the company would make decisions based on long-term prospects of boosting free cash flow and growing market share rather than on short term profitability, and one section in particular served as a guidepost for the unorthodox way the company planned to approach Wall Street.

“We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term. This value will be a direct result of our ability to extend and solidify our current market leadership position. The stronger our market leadership, the more powerful our economic model. Market leadership can translate directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, greater capital velocity, and correspondingly stronger returns on invested capital. 

Our decisions have consistently reflected this focus. We first measure ourselves in terms of the metrics most indicative of our market leadership: customer and revenue growth, the degree to which our customers continue to purchase from us on a repeat basis, and the strength of our brand. We have invested and will continue to invest aggressively to expand and leverage our customer base, brand, and infrastructure as we move to establish an enduring franchise.”

  • If someone searched for ski vacations, he would see a link to books about skiing on Amazon.
  • Bezos had imbibed Walton’s book thoroughly and wove the Walmart founder’s credo about frugality and a bias for action into the cultural fabric of Amazon. In the copy he brought to Kathryn Dalzell, he had underlined one particular passage in which Walton described borrowing the best ideas of his competitors. Bezos’s point was that every company in retail stands on the shoulders of the giants that came before it.
  • “Could a Wal-Mart-type story still occur in this day and age? My answer is of course it could happen again. Somewhere out there right now there’s someone — probably hundreds of thousands of someones — with good enough ideas to go all the way. It will be done again, over and over, providing that someone wants it badly enough to do what it takes to get there. It’s all a matter of attitude and the capacity to constantly study and question the management of the business.” Sam Walton
  • Six core values of Amazon: customer, obsession, frugality, bias for action, ownership, high bar for talent and innovation.
  • Looking for a way to reinforce Walton’s notion of a bias for action, Bezos instituted the Just Do it award — an acknowledgment of an employee who did something notable on his own initiative, typically outside his primary job responsibilities. Even if the action turned out to be an egregious mistake, an employee could still earn the prize as long as he or she had taken risks and shown resourcefulness in the process.
  • Bezos never showed anxiety or appeared to worry about the wild swings in public sentiment. “We were all running around the halls with our hair on fire thinking, What are we going to do?” says Mark Britto, a senior vice president. But not Jeff. “I have never seen anyone so calm in the eye of the storm. ice water runs through his veins”.
  • Bezos scrawled “I am not my stock price” on the whiteboard in his office and instructed everyone to ignore the mounting pessimism. “You don’t feel thirty percent smarter when the stock goes up by thirty percent, so when the stock goes down you shouldn’t feel thirty percent dumber.” 
  • “In the short term, the stock market is a voting machine. In the long run, it’s a weighing machine” that measures a company’s true value. Benjamin Graham
  • If Amazon stayed focused on the customer, the company would be fine.
  • That either-or mentality, that if you are doing something good for customers it must be bad for shareholders, is very amateurish.” Bezos
  • Scott (Lee Scott, the third CEO in Walmart history) also talked about how Walmart viewed advertising and pricing as two ends on the same spectrum. “We spend only forty basis points on marketing. Go look at our shareholder statement, most of that goes to newspapers to inform people about what is in our stores. The rest of our marketing dollars we pour into reducing prices. Our marketing strategy is our pricing strategy, which is everyday low pricing”
  • In january 2002, Amazon reported its first profitable quarter, posting net income of $5 million, a meager but symbolic penny per share.
  • “It’s harder to be kind than clever.” Bezos grandfather
  • He absolutely thinks he’s going to space”, Hanauer says. “It’s always been one of his goals. It’s why he started working out every morning. He’s been ridiculously disciplined about it.”
  • “Slow steady progress can erode any challenge over time.” Bezos
  • Like other great entrepreneurs, including Walt Disney, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs, Bezos was turning imagination into reality, the fancies of his youth into actual physical things. “Space for Jeff is not a year 2000 or a year 2010 opportunity, says Hillis. “it’s been a dream of humanity’s for centuries and it will continue to be one for centuries. Jeff sees himself and Blue Origin as part of that bigger story. It’s the next step in what Jules Verne was writing about and <hat the Apollo missions accomplished.”
  • Gradatim Ferociter: “Step by step, Ferociously”
  • Steady progress toward seemingly impossible goals will win the day. Setbacks are temporary. Naysayers are best ignored.
  • Tightly controlling distribution allowed the company to make specific promises to customers on when they could expect their purchases to arrive. Amazon’s operating all of its own technology, from the supply chain to the website, allowed Amazon to create algorithms that modeled countless scenarios for each order so systems could pick the one that would yield the quickest and cheapest delivery. Millions of those decisions could be made every hour, helping Amazon reduce its costs — and thus lower prices and increase volume of sales. The challenge was getting good enough to do this well.
  • “Treat Google like a mountain. You can climb the mountain, but you can’t move it. Use them, but don’t make them smarter.” Bezos
  • There’s only one way out of this predicament and that is to invent our way out.
  • Like a lot of other technology companies at the time, Amazon got an education in the wisdom of moving to a simpler and more flexible technology infrastructure, called service-oriented architecture. In this kind of framework, every feature and service is treated as an independent piece and each can easily be updated or replaced without breaking the whole.
  • “Great companies fail not because they want to avoid disruptive change but because they are reluctant to embrace promising new markets that might undermine their traditional businesses and that do not appear to satisfy their short-term growth requirements.” Clayton Christensen
  • Concerning Kiddle Bezos said: “Your job is to kill your own business. I want you to proceed as if your goal is to put everyone selling physical books out of a job.”
  • Bezos perfected an attitude of bemused perplexity when addressing criticisms. Bezos often said that Amazon had a willingness to be misunderstood, which was an impressive piece of rhetorical jujitsu — the implication being that its opponents just didn’t understand the company. Bezos also deflected attacks by claiming that Amazon was a missionary company, not a mercenary one.
  • “In a world where consumers have limited choice, you needed to compete for locations. But in a world where consumers have unlimited choice, you need to compete for attention.” Mickael Ross
  • “When a platform is self-service, even the improbable ideas can get tried because there’s no expert gate-keeper ready to say “that will never work!” And guess what — many of those improbable ideas do work, and society is the beneficiary of that diversity.” Bezos
  • “Every anecdote from a customer matters. We research each of them because they tell us something about our metrics and processes. It’s an audit that is done for us by our customers. We treat them as precious sources of information.” Jeff Wilke
  • Frugality: We try not to spend money on things that don’t matter to customers. Frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for headcount, budget size or fixed expense.
  • Once a week, usually on Tuesday, various departments at Amazon meet with their managers to review long spreadsheets of the data important to their business. Customer anecdotes have no place at these meetings. The numbers alone are a proxy for what is working and what is broken, how customers are behaving, and, ultimately, how well the company overall is performing. The meetings can be intense and intimidating. The executive team force you to look at the numbers and answer every single question about why specific things happened. because Amazon has so much volume, it’s a way to make very quick decisions and not get into subjective debates. The data doesn’t lie.
  • “If humans think long term, we can accomplish things that we wouldn’t otherwise accomplish. Time horizons matter, they matter a lot. The other thing I would point out is that we humans are getting awfully sophisticated in technological ways and have a lot of potential to be very dangerous to ourselves. It seems to me that we, as a species, have to start thinking longer term.” Bezos
  • “It is almost like he (Bezos) fired an arrow and then followed that arc.” Joy Covey
  • “You know, people can complain about that, but complaining is not a strategie.” Bezos
  • Amazon’s fourteen leadership principle: Think Big: Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.

Si vous souhaitez l’acheter pour le lire en entier, cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous (il vous redirigera vers Amazon et me permettra de gagner un pourcentage de votre achat si vous passez par mon lien) : The Everything Store, Brad Stone

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