Fact of the day: Billionaires Larry Ellison of Oracle, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon were all adopted.
Jobs met his biological mother and sister in his thirties. He would later meet his biological father once in passing at a restaurant, and they even shook hands, but they didn’t know they were father and son.
Bezos grew up with his biological mother. He says he doesn’t remember his father, who he last saw when he was three years old.
Ellison would meet his biological mother at age 48. (That’s all I know about him.)
It’s important to remember that even when successful people say things, they’re often just opinions, not facts. Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz once told Jeff Bezos of Amazon, “You have no physical presence. That is going to hold you back.” The reality was that not having a physical presence at that time is what propelled Amazon forward.
Motley Fool has an excellent collection of Jeff Bezos quotes going back to the 1990s.
Here’s a great 1999 interview with Jeff Bezos on YouTube. And here’s a transcript of an interview with James Comey, where he says, “so much of what I’ve tried to do as a leader is guardrail around what I think my weaknesses are. Really important to me that I avoid the danger — which I think all humans have, but I know I have — of falling in love with my own view of things, my own righteousness.”
“Complaining is not a strategy. You have to work with the world as you find it, not as you would have it be.”
~ Jeff Bezos
“People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary.’”
~ Jeff Bezos, Amazon, in his 2017 (2018?) letter to shareholders
In a slightly related note I find that work is easier when you have the attitude that what you’re working on is constantly changing, constantly evolving. If one day you think, “There it is, Product 1.0, I’m done,” you’ll find it mentally hard to come into the office tomorrow to work on the same product. The only constant is change, and if you accept that your job is to be in that process of change, life and work are easier.
“But the cloud came along. And one of the most extraordinary things I've ever seen in business is when an unrelated type company — a retailer, you can call Amazon of that type, goes into another big industry and sees the future in it, gets into it, and then they gave — and Jeff Bezos would say this, he said it on the Charlie Rose show, some time ago — he got this amazing runway. I mean, the other players — here are all these 200 IQ people, you know, in that business, and they gave him year, after year, after year. It wasn't a secret of what he was doing. And he was, in an important way, revolutionizing the industry, and the other people sat on their hands, basically.”
~ Warren Buffett talking about Amazon and “the cloud” in this Morningstar article
Here’s a link to Jeff Bezos’ letter to Amazon shareholders, circa April, 2017. Possibly one of the most important phrases to me personally is his concept of, “Disagree and commit.”
As a final post on Jeff Bezos and Amazon this morning, here’s a quote on something called the narrative fallacy. That term comes from the book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.
This image (and quote) comes from the book, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.