Jeff Bezos: ‘I guarantee that none of my ideas are guaranteed to work’
Amazon will celebrate its 27th birthday on July 5th by officially welcoming its new CEO – Andy Jassy.
“Andy is well known inside the company, and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have,” Bezos said during his final annual meeting as CEO. “Andy will never let the universe make us typical.”
Jassy is one of the most important executives in Amazon’s history, having led the hugely successful AWS — the cloud computing technology that underpins Netflix, Spotify, Fortnite, and other major services — to astronomical heights. He joined the company in the late ’90s and was tasked with exploring what would become AWS around 2003. Since then, it has become a massive revenue-driver for the company, earning $13.5 billion last quarter alone.
At the meeting, Bezos reassured investors that the company had a bright future under its new leader and it would continue to innovate aggressively, including investments in autonomous delivery vehicles and a satellite program to provide low-latency, high-speed broadband. “I can guarantee you that none of these ideas are guaranteed to work,” he said. “The only way to get above average returns is to take risks, and many of them will not fail.”
When Bezos first announced that he would be stepping down as CEO of Amazon, he promised to stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives, but he also shared that now he would have the time and energy to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and his other “passions”. So he is not retiring, he is just shifting his focus to more exciting adventures, like space travel.
The common thread through Amazon chief’s maxims has been the emphasis on staying relentlessly innovative, a philosophy that has fueled Amazon’s dominance across multiple industries. Innovate. Then innovate some more. Amazon outpaced other firms in patent applications, trademark registrations and spending on research and development. “If you get it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. And that yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive,” Bezos once wrote to employees.
Kris Bort, founding partner of Sakal Ventures, is convinced that the winning investment strategy is based on finding enterprises that revolutionize and disrupt with their breakthrough technology. He also strongly believes that it is better to fully understand fewer companies than randomly invest in 100+ businesses. Which resonates with another one of Bezos’ principles: make a small number of high-quality decisions.
Bezos frequently attributes Amazon’s success to the company’s obsession with giving customers what they want. This is also something investors should think about as they make decisions on capital deployment. What do people want? What will they want in the future? Companies that address those needs and meet those desires are the ones that reward you with the most incredible gains.
“When the stock is up 30% in a month, don’t feel 30% smarter, because when the stock is down 30% in a month, it’s not going to feel so good to feel 30% dumber and that’s what happens,” says Bezos. “Never spend any time thinking about the daily stock price. I never do.”
Kris Bort agrees that the long-term perspective and goals are key for a successful investment strategy. And, according to him, the best place to apply that energy is the private market, “The late stage private investing sector creates a long term mindset. It forces discipline that creates huge financial gain.”
When looking into private equity companies, it is crucial to have a proven specialist by your side.
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