Jeff Bezos and his inspiring speech to the US Congress

The CEO and founder of Amazon referred to his family and related what his adolescence was like and his arrival at the creation of the largest online store in the world.

The founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, told part of his story this Wednesday before the Antitrust Subcommittee of the United States Congress.

The executive sympathized like Tim Cook of Apple; Sundar Pichai, from Google, and Mark Zuckerberg, from Facebook, referring to possible abuses by his company from its dominant position in the digital market.

But that was not all he referred to. Before responding to the congressmen, the richest man in the world read a long statement where he referred to his life and humble origins, where he seeks to justify the founding ideology of the largest online store in the world in the face of suspicions of monopolistic practices.

Some of the passages in the text

“My father’s name is Miguel. He adopted me when I was four years old. He was 16 when he came to the United States from Cuba as part of Operation Peter Pan, shortly after Castro took power. My father was alone when he came to the United States. His parents thought that he would be safer here. Her mother imagined that it would be very cold in this country, so she knitted a jacket from cleaning cloths, the only material they had on hand. We still have that jacket; it’s hanging in my parents’ dining room. ”

“You learn different things from your grandparents than you do from your parents, and between the ages of 4 and 16, I was fortunate to spend my summers at my grandparents’ ranch in Texas. My grandfather was a public employee and peasant: he worked in space technology and defense missile systems in the 1950s and 1960s for the Atomic Energy Commission, and it was self-sufficient and skillful. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, you don’t pick up the phone and call someone when something breaks, fix it yourself. When I was a child, I had the opportunity to see him solve many problems by yourself that seemed impossible. Whether it was repairing a Caterpillar excavator or doing veterinary work. It taught me that one can face difficult problems. When you face a setback, you get up and try again. You can use your inventiveness to make your own way to a better situation

“I took these lessons when I was a teenager and became a garage inventor. I invented a device that automatically closed the fence from wheels filled with cement, an item that allowed me to use solar energy to cook from an umbrella and aluminum foil, and alarms made from baking sheets to catch my brothers. ”

From his adolescence, Bezos remembers his stage as inventor of garages

The birth of Amazon

“The concept of Amazon it occurred to me in 1994. The idea of ​​building a online bookstore With millions of titles – something that simply couldn’t exist in the physical world – I was thrilled. At the time, he was working in an investment fund in New York City. When I told my boss that I was leaving my job, he took me for a long walk in Central Park. After listening to me for a long time, he finally said, “You know what, Jeff? I think it’s a good idea. But I think it would be a better idea for someone who didn’t have a good job.” He convinced me to take two days to think before communicating my final decision to him. Was a decision I made with my heart and not my head. When I am 80 years old and reflect on my life, I want to have minimized the amount of things that I regret. And most of them are acts of omission, the things we don’t try, the roads we don’t travel. Those are the things that haunt us. And I decided that if at least I didn’t do my best, I was going to regret not participating in this thing called the internet that, I thought, was going to be great. ”

“The initial capital for It came mainly from my parents, who invested a significant portion of their life savings in something they did not understand. They weren’t betting on Amazon or the concept of an online bookstore. They were betting on their son. I told them that I believed there was a 70 percent chance that they might lose their investment, but they just kept going. It took me over 50 meetings to get $ 1 million from investors, and over the course of all those meetings, the most common question was ‘What is internet? ‘.

Amazon’s success

“Amazon’s success was far from foreordained. Investing in Amazon in its early stages was an extremely risky proposition. From the time of its founding to the end of 2001, our deal It had accumulated losses of almost $ 3 billion, and we did not have a profitable quarter until the last of that year. Smart analysts predicted that Barnes & Noble would override us, and rated us as ‘Amazon.toast.’ In 1999, having been active for five years, Barron’s published an article about our impending collapse under the title ‘Amazon.bomb’. My annual letter to the 2000 stockholders started with one word: ‘Ouch.’ At the top of the internet bubble our share price peaked at $ s116, and after it exploded it fell to $ s6. Experts and analysts thought that we would cease to exist. It required many smart people and with the will to take a risk with me and to remain firm in our convictions, so that Amazon will survive and eventually succeed. “

“And it wasn’t just in the early years. In addition to our good luck and great people, we have succeeded as a company only because we have continued to take great risks. To invent, one has to experiment, And if you know in advance that it will work, then it is not an experiment. Great returns come from betting against conventional wisdom, but conventional wisdom is usually correct. Many analysts characterized Amazon’s web services as a distraction when we started. ‘What does selling computer equipment and storage spaces have to do with selling books?’ They asked. No one asked for those services. But it turned out that the world had an appetite for cloud computing, only it didn’t know. We were right about the services, but the truth is that we have also taken many other risks that did not work. In fact, Amazon has made billions of dollars from failure. Failure inevitably brings inventions and risk taking. So we try to make Amazon the best place in the world to fail. ”


The initial investment of the platform was basically from his parents

Pass the tests

“The customer trust it is hard to win and easy to lose. When you let customers make the company what it is, they will be loyal to you, but only until the moment when someone else offers them a better service. We know that clients are perceptive and intelligent. We firmly believe that customers will realize when we work hard to do the right thing, and that doing it over and over again will earn their trust. ”

“As I have said since my first letter to shareholders in 1997, we make decisions based on the long-term value that we create by meeting customer needs. When they criticize us for those decisions, we listen and look in the mirror. When they have reason, we change. When we make mistakes, we apologize. But when you look in the mirror, you evaluate the criticism, and you still believe you are doing the right thing, no force in the world should be able to move us. ”

More than 80% of Amazon shares are owned by people outside the company, and in the last 26 years, starting from scratch, we have created more than a trillion dollars of wealth for those external shareholders. Who are those shareholders? They are pension funds for firefighters, police and school teachers. Others are retirement funds owned by parts of Amazon. College funds, too, and the list goes on. Many people will retire better because of the wealth we have created for so many, and we are extremely proud of it. ”

“At Amazon, our customer obsession has made us what we are, and has allowed us to do bigger and bigger things. I know what Amazon could do when we were 10 people. I know what we could do when we were 1,000 people, and when We were 10,000 people. And I know what we can do today when we are almost a million. garage entrepreneurs, I was one of them. But just as the world needs small businesses, it also needs big ones. There are things that small businesses simply cannot do. I don’t care how good of an entrepreneur you are, you’re not going to build a Boeing 787 in your garage. ”

“I think Amazon needs to be scrutinized. We should look at all the big institutions, whether they’re companies, government agencies, or nonprofits. Our responsibility is to make sure that we pass that scrutiny successfully

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