10 Pieces of Advice From Jeff Bezos, the World’s New Richest Man

You need to use your shower time better, for starters

July 27, 2017 9:00 am

Update July 28: As of this morning, Bill Gates had reclaimed the title of world’s richest man from Bezos, though the Amazon founder is expected to take the reins on a more permanent basis in the next couple weeks

Who knew the key to getting rich was free shipping and fake Romanian ’80s cop dramas?

Jeff Bezos did.

When Amazon’s share hit $1,066 on Thursday, the e-tailer’s newly buff CEO passed Bill Gates as the richest man on Earth — his 80 million shares in his own company are now worth $86-$89 billion (that’s not counting his other, non-Amazon assets). This also marks the twentieth year that Bezos has been a billionaire.

How’d he do it? Let’s look at a few prescient words the man has dished out throughout his career.

Think big picture: “We will continue to make investment decisions in light of long-term market leadership considerations rather than short-term profitability considerations or short-term Wall Street reactions.” (1997)

Be frugal: “I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.” (2008)

Go bold: “As a company, one of our greatest cultural strengths is accepting the fact that if you’re going to invent, you’re going to disrupt.” (2011)

Don’t fall for fads: “There are always shiny things. A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last. You really want something that’s much deeper-keeled. You want your customers to value your service. And there are companies that haven’t gone through tough times, so they’re not really tested.” (2011)

Think about others (in the, um, shower): “When [our competitors are] in the shower in the morning, they’re thinking about how they’re going to get ahead of one of their top competitors. Here in the shower, we’re thinking about how we are going to invent something on behalf of a customer.” (2012)

It’s about your product, not somebody else’s: “I’m skeptical of any mission that has advertisers as its centerpiece.” (2013)

Go big but simple: “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.” (2013)

Stay young at heart: “All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworth’s. The number one rule has to be: Don’t be boring.” (2013)

Get a thick skin: “If you can’t tolerate critics, don’t do anything new or interesting.” (2016)

Speed counts, even if you’re wrong: “Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow. Plus, either way, you need to be good at quickly recognizing and correcting bad decisions.” (2016)

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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