Amazon’s first smartphone, Fire Phone, was a major flop that cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.
But according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Fire Phone is a “tiny little blip” compared to some of the larger experiments his company is working on now.
“If you think that’s a big failure, we’re working on much bigger failures right now. And I am not kidding. And some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip,” Bezos said in an interview with the Washington Post’s executive editor Martin Baron on Wednesday.
Bezos is famous for his knack of taking experiments and accepting failure as a learning experience. He reitereated his thinking during the interview.
“The size of your mistakes needs to grow along with [the company],” Bezos said. “If it doesn’t, you’re not going to be inventing at scale that can actually move the needle.”
And to do so, you need to make “big, noticeable” mistakes. He continued:
“The great thing is when you take this approach, a small number of winners pay for dozens, hundreds of failures. And so every single important thing that we have done has taken a lot of risk taking, perseverance, guts, and some of them have worked out, most of them have not.
That has to happen at every scale level, all the way down, and you have to take shots…you always learn something and you move on.”
This approach has led to a number of failed projects, like its hotel-booking site Amazon Destinations and auction site Amazon Auction. But it’s also led to massive successes, such as its Amazon Web Services and the Amazon Echo, which is why Bezos likes to call Amazon “the best place in the world to fail.”
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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