Jeff Bezos Talks Amazon, Blue Origin, Family, And Wealth

Full video here.

  • How did you know that you should move from investment banking to launching a company? I always wanted to do it since I was a kid. I was always looking for ways to improve things. Entrepreneurs and inventors follow their curiosity and their passions. They figure something out and how to make it better. (1:15)

  • I see entrepreneurs go awry when they start to pay more attention to their competition than they do to their customers. (2:45) 

  • My grandfather was important to me. I spent an unusual amount of time with him. He created the illusion for me that I was helping him on the ranch (at age 4). I believed it. By the time I was 16 I was actually helping him. What was so interesting about my grandfather is he did everything himself. He figured it out. If there is a problem then there is a solution. He taught me to be resourceful. (6:15)

  • When I told her (his wife) I wanted to quit my job and start this internet bookstore. Her first question (like everyone I explained this to) was what is the Internet? (10:43)

  • My dad was a Cuban immigrant who came to the United State at 16 and lived in a refugee camp. When you have a loving family you end up being able to take risks. You know someone has your back. (11:27)

  • When you think about the things that you will regret when you are 80, they are almost always the things you did not do. They are acts of omission. Very rarely are you going to regret something you tried and failed at. (12:00) 

  • The reason Amazon started with books is because there were more items in the book category than any other category so you could build universal selection. There were 3 million different books in 1994 but the largest physical books stores only had about 150,000 titles. (14:00)

  • We only had 125 employees and $60 million in sales when Barnes and Noble opened their online site to compete against us. Barnes and Noble had 30,000 employees and they had $3 billion in sales. They were giant. We were tiny and had limited resources. I called a meeting and told everyone don't be focused on our competitor because they won’t send us any money anyway. I believe the response to any crisis is to stay focused on the customer. (16:15)

  • If you are going to do anything new or innovative you have to be willing to be misunderstood. (22:43)

  • In the last 8 years, we have gone from 30,000 employees to 560,000. In my mind, I am still delivering the packages to the post office myself. I still have all the memories like I hope one day we can afford a forklift. (25:00)

  • The Internet is this powerful horizontal technology that affects every industry. At scale, the Internet has only been around for 10 or 15 years. As a species, we have not learned how to operate it yet. We are still figuring that out. (27:55) 

  • You can explain things to people but you can’t understand things to people. (33:00)

  • Blue Origin is the most important work I do. We think in the longest time frame: a couple of hundred years. I am pursuing this work because I believe if we don’t we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis. (38:08)

  • The solar system could easily support a trillion humans. If we had a trillion humans we would have 1,000 Mozarts and 1,000 Einsteins. That is the world I want my great grandchildren’s great-grandchildren to live in. (40:31)

  • What does money mean for you? The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. I am currently liquidating a billion dollars a year to fund Blue Origin. I have a mission-driven purpose that is important to civilization. (45:00)