The Everything Store is a must read for anyone in retail, doing business and more importantly dealing with consumers. Brad Stone takes you on Jeff Bezos’ journey and how he has built Amazon.com into one of the biggest retail organisations in the world. When you think of Bezos, some of the words that come to mind are focused, obsessed and relentless. For example, one just needs to go to www.relentless.com and it will redirect you to www.amazon.com.
Bezos’ view of business is refreshing. The five core values of Amazon.com are customer obsession, frugality, bias for action, ownership and high bar for talent. Furthermore, Bezos doesn’t see selling product as doing business. More importantly, helping customers make purchase decisions is doing business. If you get that formula right then the money will flow; an important lesson he learned from the CostCo model when it comes to customer loyalty. Since July 16, 1995 when Amazon.com went live you can see the theme of how customer loyalty, obsession and innovation is the centre of everything they do.
Three key takeaways from the book:
1. You must put the customer at the center of everything. This isn’t lip service from Jeff Bezos, and if you look at what Amazon has accomplished through this lens you will see how the customer was in fact at the center of everything that has occurred thus far. Think about Prime (i.e. 1 – 2 shipping), Prime Instant Video, and other initiatives over the years.
2. Amazon doesn’t use Powerpoint decks or slide presentations during meetings. Instead, Amazon employees must write six-page narratives and lay out points in prose because Jeff believes this drives improved critical thinking
3. This magnificent quote from Jeff Bezos during his Princeton University address in 2010: “When you are eighty years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices.”