“Be stubborn on vision, but flexible on details” – attitudes towards innovation and failure at Amazon

Image by Sunrise King

During a shareholder meeting in 2011, Jeff Bezos was asked a question: “If it’s still Amazon’s philosophy to make bold bets, I would expect that maybe some of them wouldn’t work out, but I am just not seeing that. So, my question is where are the losers?”

His reply is fascinating to read and gives insight into innovation at the company – specifically, his view that consistent innovation isn’t possible without acknowledging the possibility of failure.  AWS was starting to really take off at the time of that quote, but it hadn’t become as massive as it is today.  To put it in perspective, Microsoft Azure had just launched the year before – so even though most of us didn’t realize it at the time, the whole cloud thing was going to be a big deal.

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