17 quotes that show how Jeff Bezos turned Amazon into a $200 billion company over 20 years

Happy birthday, Amazon!

The “Everything Store” went live 20 years ago today, though back then it only sold books.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, has built a company with a $US200+ billion market cap by being incredibly smart and business savvy, so we rounded up some quotes that show his genius.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

On complacency: 'A company shouldn't get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn't last.'

On innovation: 'I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.'

On progress: 'If you're competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.'

On developing company culture: 'Part of company culture is path-dependent -- it's the lessons you learn along the way.'

On new ideas: 'There'll always be serendipity involved in discovery.'

On haters: 'If you never want to be criticised, for goodness' sake don't do anything new.'

On motivation: 'I strongly believe that missionaries make better products. They care more. For a missionary, it's not just about the business. There has to be a business, and the business has to make sense, but that's not why you do it. You do it because you have something meaningful that motivates you.'

On choosing friends: 'Life's too short to hang out with people who aren't resourceful.'

Bezos with his wife.


On morals: 'The one thing that offends me the most is when I walk by a bank and see ads trying to convince people to take out second mortgages on their home so they can go on vacation. That's approaching evil.'

One strategy: 'We've had three big ideas at Amazon that we've stuck with for 18 years, and they're the reason we're successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.'

On growth: 'All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you're Woolworth's.'

On pivoting: 'If you're not stubborn, you'll give up on experiments too soon. And if you're not flexible, you'll pound your head against the wall and you won't see a different solution to a problem you're trying to solve.'

On marketing: 'In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.'

On pricing: 'There are two kinds of companies, those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second.'

On empowering a team: 'I would never say no to something the team wanted to do, but I might say yes to something the team didn't want to do. You want there to be multiple ways to get to 'yes' because you want to encourage risk-taking.'

On making people pay attention: 'You can have the best technology, you can have the best business model, but if the storytelling isn't amazing, it won't matter. Nobody will watch.'

On choosing slim profits: 'Your margin is my opportunity.'

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