Links for 19 April 2017 – It is always Day 1

In our links for today, we start with some takeaways from Amazon’s CEO and founder Jeff Bezos annual letter to his shareholders. He is an inspiring entrepreneur, not only building a company worth $430 billion, but Amazon has also expanded successfully beyond e-commerce to artificial intelligence development, brick and mortar stores that are redefining the retail experience and even an Oscar-winning film. Bezos is well-known for his long-term approach to innovation, assuring shareholders since the 1990s that Amazon would focus on investing in long-term market leadership rather than short-term profitability.

One of the most interesting concepts is his way of classifying companies. Bezos compares “Day 1” companies which are companies that are at the beginning of their potential with “Day 2” companies.

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

“Staying in Day 1 requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer delight. A customer-obsessed culture best creates the conditions where all of that can happen,” Bezos writes.

Customer-centric approach:

“There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here’s the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf. (…)

[Y]ou, the product or service owner, must understand the customer, have a vision, and love the offering. Then, beta testing and research can help you find your blind spots. A remarkable customer experience starts with heart, intuition, curiosity, play, guts, taste. You won’t find any of it in a survey. (…)

Good inventors and designers deeply understand their customer. They spend tremendous energy developing that intuition. They study and understand many anecdotes rather than only the averages you’ll find on surveys. They live with the design.”

Next, stay ahead of customer demands:

“No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it, and I could give you many such examples.”

On embracing external trends:

“The outside world can push you into Day 2 if you won’t or can’t embrace powerful trends quickly. If you fight them, you’re probably fighting the future. Embrace them and you have a tailwind.”

The entire letter is available here and is really worth a read.

As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest things you face is the fear of failure and all the anxiety that comes with taking risks. Here is a link to 7 tips to overcome anxiety and worry from an Islamic perspective.

If you need any more proof that collaborations work – cognitive science shows that humans are smarter as a group than they are on their own.

“The myth that we can do it all alone—that we can master the world solo in all its detail and complexity—may be comforting, but it is not only wrong: It is also counterproductive. Rather than hiding from our individual ignorance, we should accept it and celebrate our collective wisdom.”

Finally, why EQ matters more than IQ when it comes to success.

As always we would love to hear your comments and thoughts.

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