Jeff Bezos, the ultimate disrupter
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Jeff Bezos
Fortune just named Bezos businessman of the year:
The comparisons to Apple and Jobs go only so far, of course, and in some ways the two companies and their celebrated founders are polar opposites. Amazon, unlike Apple, has a low-price, low-margin strategy almost across the board. A favorite Bezos aphorism is "Your margin is my opportunity." In fact, whereas Apple has long prided itself for premium prices -- with the operating margins to show for it: 31% in 2011, vs. 2% for Amazon -- Amazon sells at the bare minimum needed to break even, on the assumption it will make money elsewhere. It's a completely different approach. Apple uses its platform to sell high-profit devices; Amazon sells low- or no-profit devices to pump ever more volume onto its platform.
Amazon also tolerates businesses under its roof that are unconnected to one another. Amazon Web Services, for example, has nothing in common with Kindles, and that's just fine with Bezos. He allows each to operate independently as long as they adhere to Amazon's overall values. He calls this "distributed innovation," and it contributes to a nimble corporate mindset that allows Amazon to branch out into new areas.
A strong strain of pragmatism, or practicality, runs through Bezos's decision-making. Sure, he has his credos, and he cites them frequently. "The three big ideas at Amazon are long-term thinking, customer obsession, and a willingness to invent," he says.
Bezos favors 30 minutes of silence reading 6-page printed memos to start meetings.
Remembering 2000, when Henry Ford was named Fortune's Businessman of the Century.
Making affordable products for the masses is a tried-and-true business strategy. Comparing the transformative impact of Ford and Amazon products would be a cool grad study.