Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

69 Of The Best Jeff Bezos Quotes, Sorted By Category

Jeff Bezos, valued at a net worth of $109 billion, is known as one of the world’s richest men.

The man drops some really inspirational lines too. Let’s peek into the brain of this demanding, brilliant, temperamental man, with his best quotes.

Who is Jeff Bezos again?

We sometimes forget that Bezos also started Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Blue Origin and acquired (among others) The Washington Post and Whole Foods.

Along the way, he found time to revolutionise eCommerce, logistics and the publishing industry (via closing bookstores and launching eBooks/Kindle publishing).

The man is almost a legend now, but can you tell Fact from Fiction in these Jeff Bezos Factoids?

All true. There’s no denying it, Jeff Bezos is an absolute badass.

Here are our favorite Jeff Bezos quotes to channel a little badassery into your work day.

1: “If you double the number of experiments you do per year you’re going to double your inventiveness.” – Jeff Bezos

2: “Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.” – Jeff Bezos

3: “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezos

4: “One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.” – Jeff Bezos

5: “What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you – what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind – you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.” – Jeff Bezos

The best Jeff Bezos quotes and Jeffisms you need

We got you covered. We trawled through all of the quotes we could find, eliminated duplicates, and sorted them out in a way that’s easier to swallow. Here we go:

 

Jeff Bezos quotes about Amazon:

On Amazon’s big ideas:

“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.”

On being different vs better:

“One of the things we don’t do very well at Amazon is a me-too product offering. So when I look at physical retail stores, it’s very well served, the people who operate physical retail stores are very good at it…the question we would always have before we would embark on such a thing is: What’s the idea? What would we do that would be different? How would it be better? We don’t want to just do things because we can do them…we don’t want to be redundant.”

On always charging less:

“There are two kinds of companies, those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second.”

On novelty:

“What we want to be is something completely new. There is no physical analog for what Amazon.com is becoming.”

On profitability:

“We expect all our businesses to have a positive impact on our top and bottom lines. Profitability is very important to us or we wouldn’t be in this business.”

On customer-focus:

“If there’s one reason we have done better than of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word-of-mouth is so very, very powerful.”

On baking for the future

“Friends congratulate me after a quarterly-earnings announcement and say, ‘Good job, great quarter … And I’ll say, ‘Thank you, but that quarter was baked three years ago. I’m working on a quarter that’ll happen in 2021 right now.'”

On the end of Amazon:

“Amazon is not too big to fail … If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end … We have to try and delay that day for as long as possible.”

On why Amazon forgoes profits for growth:

“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that.

“At Amazon we like things to work in five to seven years. We’re willing to plant seeds, let them grow and we’re very stubborn. We say we’re stubborn on vision and flexible on details.”

On patience:

In some cases, things are inevitable. The hard part is that you don’t know how long it might take, but you know it will happen if you’re patient enough. Ebooks had to happen. Infrastructure web services had to happen. So you can do these things with conviction if you are long-term-oriented and patient.

On ambition:

“Amazon today remains a small player in global retail. We represent a low single-digit percentage of the retail market, and there are much larger retailers in every country where we operate. And that’s largely because nearly 90% of retail remains offline, in brick and mortar stores.”

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Jeff Bezos quotes on business:

On humble origins:

“It’s hard to remember for you guys, but for me it’s like yesterday I was driving the packages to the post office myself, and hoping one day we could afford a forklift.”

On staying humble:

“I like treating things as if they’re small, you know Amazon even though it is a large company, I want it to have the heart and spirit of a small one.”

Jeff Bezos on Growth:

“Focus on cost improvement makes it possible for us to afford lower prices, which drives growth. Growth spreads fixed costs across more sales, reducing cost per unit, which makes possible more price reductions. Customers like this, and it’s good for shareholders. Please expect us to repeat this loop.”

On Efficiency vs Flexibility

“Wandering in business is not efficient … but it’s also not random. It’s guided…and powered by a deep conviction that the prize for customers is big enough that it’s worth being a little messy and tangential to find our way there. Wandering is an essential counterbalance to efficiency. You need to employ both. The outsized discoveries – the “non-linear” ones – are highly likely to require wandering.”

On competition:

“Your margin is my opportunity.”

On value creation vs advertising: 

“The balance of power is shifting toward consumers and away from companies… The right way to respond to this if you are a company is to put the vast majority of your energy, attention and dollars into building a great product or service and put a smaller amount into shouting about it, marketing it.”

On fact-based decision-making:

“The great thing about fact-based decisions is that they overrule the hierarchy.”

On the Benefits of Market Leadership:

“Market leadership can translate directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, greater capital velocity, and correspondingly stronger returns on invested capital.”

On culture:

“Part of company culture is path-dependent – it’s the lessons you learn along the way.”

About history: 

“The killer app that got the world ready for appliances was the light bulb. So the light bulb is what wired the world. And they weren’t thinking about appliances when they wired the world. They were really thinking about – they weren’t putting electricity into the home. They were putting lighting into the home.”

On inverting questions:

“The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?'”

On online scale:

“On the Internet, companies are scale businesses, characterized by high fixed costs and relatively low variable costs. You can be two sizes: You can be big, or you can be small. It’s very hard to be medium. A lot of medium-sized companies had the financing rug pulled out from under them before they could get big.”

Jeff Bezos’ secrets for Running a Business:

On knowledge:

“If you don’t understand the details of your business you are going to fail.”

On advertising (industry):

“I’m skeptical of any mission that has advertisers at its centerpiece.”

On advertising (your business):

“In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.”

On Long-termism:

“My own view is that every company requires a long-term view.”

On novelty:

“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.”

On cultural evolution:

“A word about corporate cultures: for better or worse, they are enduring, stable, hard to change. They can be a source of advantage or disadvantage. You can write down your corporate culture, but when you do so, you’re discovering it, uncovering it — not creating it…..The reason cultures are so stable in time is because people self-select.”

On Impact & Legacy:

“… seek to build a community–to make better choices in the people with whom you partner–that’s the only way to have greater long-term impact on the world.”

On hiring:

“I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.”

On hiring superstars:

“During our hiring meetings, we ask people to consider three questions before making a decision…Will you admire this person?…Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?….Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?”

On failure:

“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

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Jeff Bezos quotes about being customer-focused:

On predicting customer needs for the future:

“It is difficult for us to imagine that ten years from now, customers will want higher prices, less selection, or slower delivery. Our belief in the durability of these pillars gives us the confidence required to invest in strengthening them.”

Jeff Bezos On Customer Obsession:

”The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be earth’s most customer-centric company.”

On building for Customer Needs

“Working backwards” from customer needs can be contrasted with a “skills-forward” approach where existing skills and competencies are used to drive business opportunities. The skills-forward approach says, “We are really good at X. What else can we do with X?”. However, if used exclusively, the company employing it will never be driven to develop fresh skills. Eventually the existing skills will become outmoded. …

Working backwards from customer needs often demands that we acquire new competencies and exercise new muscles, never mind how uncomfortable and awkward-feeling those first steps might be.”

On being Proactive

“One advantage — perhaps a somewhat subtle one — of a customer-driven focus is that it aids a certain type of proactivity. When we’re at our best, we don’t wait for external pressures. We are internally driven to improve our services, adding benefits and features, before we have to.”

On hosting customers daily:

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

On customer service:

“The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works.”

On aging customers:

“If your customer base is aging with you, then eventually you are going to become obsolete or irrelevant. You need to be constantly figuring out who are your new customers and what are you doing to stay forever young.”

On being competitor-focused vs customer-focused: 

“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.

On pricing:

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Jeff Bezos quotes about Evil:

On banks:

“The one thing that offends me the most is when I walk by a bank and see ads trying to convince people to take out second mortgages on their home so they can go on vacation. That’s approaching evil.”

 

Jeff Bezos quotes about Making Decisions:

On banks:

“The one thing that offends me the most is when I walk by a bank and see ads trying to convince people to take out second mortgages on their home so they can go on vacation. That’s approaching evil.”

On change:

“If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think. Whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.”

On intuition and analysis:

“All of my best decisions in business and in life have been made with heart, intuition, guts… not analysis.

“If you can make a decision with analysis, you should do so. But it turns out in life that your most important decisions are always made with instinct and intuition, taste, heart.”

On scaling failures:

“As a company grows, everything needs to scale, including the size of your failed experiments. If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle. Amazon will be experimenting at the right scale for a company of our size if we occasionally have multibillion-dollar failures.

“The good news for shareowners is that a single big winning bet can more than cover the cost of many losers.”

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Jeff Bezos quotes about Innovation:

On the anti-fragility of innovation:

“Because, you know, resilience – if you think of it in terms of the Gold Rush, then you’d be pretty depressed right now because the last nugget of gold would be gone. But the good thing is, with innovation, there isn’t a last nugget. Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities.”

On being misunderstood:

“I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.”

On being disruptive:

“Invention is by its very nature disruptive. If you want to be understood at all times, then don’t do anything new.”

On stubbornness and flexibility:

“If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”

On balancing stubbornness and flexibility:

“The thing about inventing is you have to be both stubborn and flexible. The hard part is figuring out when to be which.”

On evolving:

“What’s dangerous is not to evolve, not to invent, not to improve the customer experience.”

On frugality:

“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.”

On being misunderstood:

“I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.”

On growing a business: 

“There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you’re good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills. Kindle is an example of working backward.”

On experiments:

“It’s not an experiment if you know it’s going to work.”

On uncertainty:

“If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table.”

On serendipity:

“There’ll always be serendipity involved in discovery.”

On stubbornness and flexibility:

“If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”

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Jeff Bezos quotes about life (and prioritization):

On resourcefulness:

“Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.”

On working for others:

“I don’t want to use my creative energy on somebody else’s user interface.”

On regrets:

“The framework I found which made the decision incredibly easy was what I called – which only a nerd would call – a ‘regret minimization framework’.

So I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, ‘Okay, now I’m looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have.”

Jeff Bezos quotes about Thinking Long-Term:

On long-term thinking and invention:

“I don’t think that you can invent on behalf of customers unless you’re willing to think long-term, because a lot of invention doesn’t work. If you’re going to invent, it means you’re going to experiment, and if you’re going to experiment, you’re going to fail, and if you’re going to fail, you have to think long term.”

On making money in the long-term:

“You can do the math 15 different ways, and every time the math tells you that you shouldn’t lower prices because you’re going to make less money. That’s undoubtedly true in the current quarter, in the current year.

But it’s probably not true over a 10-year period, when the benefit is going to increase the frequency with which your customers shop with you, the fraction of their purchases they do with you as opposed to other places. Their overall satisfaction is going to go up.”

On long-termism in life:

“Another thing that I would recommend to people is that they always take a long-term point of view. I think this is something about which there’s a lot of controversy. A lot of people — and I’m just not one of them — believe that you should live for the now.

I think what you do is think about the great expanse of time ahead of you and try to make sure that you’re planning for that in a way that’s going to leave you ultimately satisfied. This is the way it works for me. There are a lot of paths to satisfaction and you need to find one that works for you.”

On long-termism in company culture:

“You need a culture that high-fives small and innovative ideas and senior executives [that] encourage ideas. In order for innovative ideas to bear fruit, companies need to be willing to “wait for 5-7 years, and most companies don’t take that time horizon.”

On getting long-term minded people: 

“If you’re very clear to the outside world that you’re taking a long-term approach, then people can self-select in.”

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Jeff Bezos quotes about Motivation:

On product missionaries:

“I strongly believe that missionaries make better products. They care more. For a missionary, it’s not just about the business. There has to be a business, and the business has to make sense, but that’s not why you do it. You do it because you have something meaningful that motivates you.”

On being counted on:

“I think one thing I find very motivating — and I think this is probably a very common form of motivation or cause of motivation — is… I love people counting on me, and so, you know, today it’s so easy to be motivated, because we have millions of customers counting on us at Amazon.com. We’ve got thousands of investors counting on us. And we’re a team of thousands of employees all counting on each other. That’s fun.”

On success:

“The keys to success are patience, persistence, and obsessive attention to detail.”

On changing the world:

“I want to see good financial returns, but also to me there’s the extra psychic return of having my creativity and technological vision bear fruit and change the world in a positive way.”

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Jeff Bezos quotes about Word-of-Mouth:

On great experiences:

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word-of-mouth is very powerful.”

On customer happiness:

“You know if you make a customer unhappy, they won’t tell five friends, they’ll tell 5,000 friends. So we are at a point now where we have all of the things we need to build an important and lasting company, and if we don’t, it will be shame on us.”

On physical vs internet comments:

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”

Jeff Bezos quotes about branding:

On reputation:

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

On earning reputation

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

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Special Bonus:

Jeff Bezos’ Favourite Quotes

Via Jeff Bezos’ fridge

Jeff Bezos’ favourite Emerson quote

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jeff Bezos’ favourite quote on doing hard things: 

“We choose to [do these things], not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” – John F Kennedy, Rice Stadium Moon Speech

Jeff Bezos’ favourite quote about education: 

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats.

Special Bonus:

Our Favourite Jeff Bezos Memes

As a living legend himself, Jeff is also subject to teasing. Some people have noticed Jeff looks like a movie star…

Via KnowYourMeme

Another has taken a spin on #TenYearChallenge to show how things have changed

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Quotes about Jeff Bezos:

“Perhaps it is his goofy laugh and silly grin that made people underestimate him; certainly his playfulness contributed to that perception. At their wedding reception, Jeff [Bezos] and MacKenzie provided an outdoor adult play area that included water balloons.”

— Richard L. Brandt , One Click: Jeff Bezos and the rise of Amazon.com

“Is there anyone out there who is the next Steve Jobs? I think Jeff Bezos is pretty close. He is very smart. He is extremely creative. He has completely reinvented the way in which commerce is done online.”

— John Sculley (Ex-Apple CEO)

“As Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, says: “In the old world, you devoted 30 percent of your time to building a great service and 70 percent of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.”16”

— Eric Schmidt (Ex-Google CEO)

“I’m always open to new, innovative stuff and people trying to do stuff in a different way. I knew that the theatrical release would be like getting on the launch pad for Amazon Prime but I was okay with that because I think what Jeff Bezos and Ted Hope are doing is innovative.”

— Spike Lee (Director)

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