Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on the ‘meaning’ of failure – Times of India

NEW DELHI: There’s ‘good failure’ and ‘unhealthy failure‘ as per world’s richest man and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “There’s experimental failure — that’s the kind of failure you should be happy with. And there’s operational failure. We’ve built hundreds of fulfillment centers at Amazon over the years, and we know how to do that. If we build a new fulfillment center and it’s a disaster, that’s just bad execution. That’s not good failure. But when we are developing a new product or service or experimenting in some way, and it doesn’t work, that’s okay. That’s great failure. And you need to distinguish between those two types of failure and really be seeking invention and innovation,” says Bezos whereas speaking about enterprise failure in the e-book titled ‘Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos‘.
The e-book is a group of writings and public statements by Bezos, with an introduction by journalist and biographer Walter Isaacson. The excerpts of the e-book have been revealed in Business Insider.
In the e-book Bezos talks about how Amazon has had a lot follow of failure, “We’ve failed so many times — I think of this as a great place to fail. We’re good at it. We’ve had so much practice.” He goes on to listing a number of failures that Amazon has seen over the years. These embrace Amazon Auctions, Amazon Fire cellphone and zShops.
“We started Amazon Auctions. Nobody came. Then we opened zShops, which was fixed-price auctions. Again nobody came. Each one of these failures was like a year or a year and a half long. We finally came across this idea of putting the third-party selection on the same product-detail pages as our own retail inventory. We called this Marketplace, and it started working right away. That resourcefulness of trying new things to figure out what customers really want? It pays off and it is core to everything we do…,” writes Bezos.
Amazon CEO goes on so as to add how failure is solely a matter of perspective and conserving religion. But at the similar time, he cautions that tolerance for failure too has its limits.
The e-book additionally talks about how the CEO of the world’s largest e-commerce firm tries to learn emails that clients from throughout the globe ship him. Though Bezos accepts that he’s not in a position to learn all emails he will get, however he nonetheless sees loads of them. He considers the issues highlighted by clients in these emails as a chance to enhance. And as to how he picks which e-mail to learn? “…I use my curiosity to pick out certain emails,” says Bezos in the e-book.
Giving an instance he writes that normally clients write to him about issues or defects in the orders they’ve obtained from Amazon. “Whenever something may seem a little odd about the problem, I’ll ask the Amazon team to do a case study and find the real root cause or causes — and then do real root fixes. So then, when you fix it, you’re not just fixing it for that one customer. You’re fixing it for every customer, and that process is a gigantic part of what we do. So if I have a failed order or a bad customer experience, I treat it just like that,” he explains.

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