Learn and adapt. Cannibalize yourself. Just because something ain’t broke, doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.
These are some lessons learned from Jeff Bezos as the Amazon CEO helped launch the company’s groundbreaking Kindle device.
In 2004 I got the opportunity to work with Jeff Bezos to develop the original Kindle. It was Amazon’s first foray into hardware and I learned a ton from my interactions with Jeff. Here’s some of the stories and lessons that I took away from that experience:
— Dan Rose (@drose_999) July 28, 2020
Rose, who later spent 12 years at Facebook and now runs a VC firm called Coatue Management, said he learned “a ton” from his interactions with the Amazon founder. Rose tweeted about the lessons just days before Bezos testifies before Congress on antitrust issues.
A few of the takeaways:
- Rose noted how Amazon’s second-largest business — CD sales — was crushed by Apple. So Bezos took lessons from the iPod and iTunes and applied them to the Kindle.
- Even though books generated more than half of Amazon’s cash flow, Bezos moved Amazon media exec Steve Kessel to the Kindle team and assigned a mission: “destroy his old business.”
- Nothing was wrong with physical books. But Bezos insisted that the reading experience could be better — “just because it ain’t broke, doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.”
Rose also referenced Bezos’ near-death experience in a helicopter back in 2003. “If he hadn’t survived, the world would look very different,” Rose wrote.
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