One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon by Richard Brandt

Summary
  1. Brandt allows the reader to get into Bezos’ head and his decision making process
Key Takeaways
  1. Bezos obsessed with customer service
  2. Was a huge tinkerer as a kid and always one of the smartest in his class
  3. Was very excited about the growth of the Internet and wanted to take advantage of it by trying to become the worlds largest online retailer. The huge amount of books and the ability to sort, search and organize them made it a logical choice as computers could do this very easily
  4. Whenever he had a difficult decision to make, he would write down the essentials and create a deal flow type analysis
  5. Had the mindset of launching everything before it’s ready and figuring it out as you go
  6. Despite his intelligence, confidence and focus, he was poor at getting this across to potential investors
  7. Set a standard where any new hire would have to be better than the people currently working there. Kept the quality of their people very high and ever increasing
  8. Since the beginning said that for Amazon to be profitable would be stupid as they were taking the money and building a moat and innovating
  9. Bezos started looking at acquiring and/or investing in companies – everything from Sotheby’s to IMDB in order to grow his market and customer base
  10. Made many acquisitions but wasn’t until 2007 that the nest major step was taken – the kindle. It forever changed the book publishing industry
  11. Amazon has kept acquiring and focusing fiercely on the customer experience, preferring to invest in the future and innovate than make a profit
What I got out of it
  1. Bezos’ focus and obsession with customer service is core to Amazon’s success and he will continue using this framework for future innovations and acquisitions. Interesting to get a peek into Bezos’ background, influences and thought processes
  • Amazon patented the one click to buy technology and this upset many people since it was so broad
  • Spent a lot of time with his grandfather on a ranch where the entrepreneurial spirit took hold. Learned to be self dependent and stubborn
  • Doesn’t know biological father
  • Bezos is a variation of “besos” as his step father was Cuban
  • His family invested early on and he was very honest with them – telling them not to invest if they weren’t ready to lose it all
  • Bezos set himself apart with his selection and customer service
  • The Amazon website launched in 1995
  • The idea of negative reviews confused many competitors but it was all a part of creating the most customer centric experience possible
  • Got VC money from Kleiner Perkins which valued the company at $60M and one year later (1997) took the company public. One year after that it was valued at $5B
  • He originally did not want to be part of the distribution side but as his orders free he couldn’t rely on third parties. He built some of the most advanced and efficient warehouses in the world
  • Soon turned to selling music as well as books
  • Amazon’s stock got crushed in the dot com crash but rebounded soon after when he showed that amazon could be profitable if that was the goal

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