As I've mentioned before, I have some serious issues with the way Jeff Bezos manages Amazon. I believe he's too ready to sacrifice his employees and his values to his ambitions.
Nevertheless, he's successful because he's committed to his customers, and there is much we can learn from him. We all compete with Amazon at one level or another, and if we want to survive we have to be realistic about what drives Amazon success. Neil Perkin has digested the best parts of Bezos' annual letter to shareholders, and Neil's analysis is quoted below.
Like Amazon, we have to be attuned to what's dissatisfying our customers, not what's satisfying them. We have to help them succeed when they don't even recognize their problems.
Only Dead Fish: Avoiding Day Two, 2071-Apr-24 by Neil Perkin
There are many ways to centre a business, says Bezos – competitor, technology, product or business model focused, but ‘obsessive customer focus’ is in his view the most useful since customers are always ‘beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great’, and a desire to delight customers will therefore drive continuous invention and progression. He uses the example of Amazon Prime, as being something which customers didn’t ask for directly, but which has been built around an understanding of customer need and which has been enormously successful (they reportedly now have 66 million Prime customers)...
Great customer experience, he says, doesn’t only come from surveys and research but ‘starts with heart, intuition, curiosity, play, guts, taste’.
Embrace external trends:- he talks about the importance of getting on to the big, powerful trends quickly, where many large companies resist change: ‘If you fight them, you’re probably fighting the future. Embrace them and you have a tailwind’.