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Friday, August 20, 2004

Jeff Bezos: "Blind-Alley" Explorer via Bweek

The CEO says Amazon is so innovative because it's always probing, unafraid to make mistakes until it finds a "huge, broad avenue".After going from Internet poster boy in the late 1990s to Internet piƱata by 2000, Amazon.com founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Bezos has survived, and then some.Thanks in large part to the e-tailer's constant innovations, from permanent free-shipping offers that recharged sales growth to features such as Search Inside the Book, which lets people do Google-like searches of the full texts of thousands of books. And customers like the changes. On Aug. 17, a survey of 20 e-commerce sites by market researcher Vividence put Amazon on top in customer satisfaction.Now, Bezos, 40, wants to accelerate Amazon's rate of innovation As much as the theme -Innovation that this interview focusses on, the interview is filled with pearls of wisdom - typical Bezos style- " If you look at our corporate culture, we've always had a customer obsession, and we've always been pioneering. We've always been focused on customers rather than competitors,I think if you want to have an innovative organization, you need to do at least a couple of things. One is it's a lot about selection of people. Some people love a rapid rate of change. They love going down alleys, many of which turn out to be dead ends. They like inventing. And other people like a more stable environment where you know more what tomorrow's going to be like. Those people, of course, flee Amazon.com in hordes.It's just the way we started. Corporate cultures tend to be very stable over time. If you have a very competitive-focused culture, then people who like that kind of culture are attracted to that organization and they thrive there.The world is getting to be a smaller and smaller place. The world is so highly interconnected. No country has a monopoly on smart people. That's not how it works. To me, to try and pretend that there's a monopoly on smart people is fighting physics. It's just not the reality. In fact, if everybody could be prosperous and creative and trading with one another, they're much more likely to be friendly to one another, too".
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