12 Quotes By Jeff Bezos That Reveal How He Grew The Amazon Empire

After founding the company in July 1994, Jeff Bezos has grown Amazon into a web-enabled behemoth.

The Everything Store has 88,400 employees around the world, a reported 244 million customer base, and a market cap of $US150 billion.

Along the way, he’s become a billionaire.

Bezos has an understanding of contemporary business like few other people. To better understand his genius, we rounded up quotes from interviews, shareholder letters, and other sources.

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

On starting Amazon

'This is Day 1 for the Internet and, if we execute well, for Amazon.com. Today, online commerce saves customers money and precious time.

'Tomorrow, through personalisation, online commerce will accelerate the very process of discovery. Amazon.com uses the Internet to create real value for its customers and, by doing so, hopes to create an enduring franchise, even in established and large markets.'

(Shareholder letter, 1997)

On margins

'Your margin is my opportunity.'

(Inc., May 2014)

On complacency

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

(Wired, November 2011)

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.'

(Businessweek, April 2008)

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.'

(US News, November 2008)

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.'

(Inc., May 2014)

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.'

(Forbes, April 2013)

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.'

(Fortune, June 2010)

On 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.'

(Motley Fool, September 2013)

On growth

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

(Washington Post, September 2013)

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.'

(BBC, August 2013)

On failure

'Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It's not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right. When this process works, it means our failures are relatively small in size (most experiments can start small), and when we hit on something that is really working for customers, we double-down on it with hopes to turn it into an even bigger success.'

(Shareholder letter, April 2014)

Now see the man who rivals Bezos' braininess

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