A tale of Jeff Bezos: an explosive character leads Amazon to its explosive growth

A tale of Jeff Bezos: an explosive character leads Amazon to its explosive growth
After a thorough writeup on Twitter’s Jack Dorsey yesterday, now it’s Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos’ turn to get into the limelight in a huge piece running on Bloomberg.

The focus seems to be on the double-personality of Bezos, a compassionate person who can quickly radically transform into an abrasive executive that instills fear and respect in his employees.

Those seem to be qualities a good manager needs to balance when trying to manage one of the largest Internet companies nowadays. Amazon.com has transformed itself from a book-seller into a store that rivals Wal-Mart in size, Apple with its devices and IBM as a provider of Internet and cloud based services.

Bezos manages to run it all while still reading customers’ emails. The chief executive has a public email addres: jeff@amazon.com, and personally reads feedback from customers. And when something is truly wrong, the consequences can be tough on the responsible employees. Jeff would forward the complaint email adding a simple question mark that would have managers and engineers sweat at just the sight of it.

“We research each of them because they tell us something about our processes. It’s an audit that is done for us by our customers. We treat them as precious sources of information,” senior Amazon VP Jeff Wilke explains.

That attitude did not appear by itself. Like Steve Jobs that was so abrupt as to fire people in the elevator, and Bill Gates that would throw a tantrum, Jeff Bezos is also known for his short temper, especially when he faces lazy or stupid ideas and people. There’s even a collection of his signature one-liners, that would shut employees off:

“Are you lazy or just incompetent?”
“I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”

However that does not mean there is no confrontation between Bezos and his sub-ordinates. Quite the opposite, Bezos has built the whole Amazon culture around an interesting concept he calls a rebellion against “social cohesion,” something the founder truly despises.

It’s actually written down in one of Amazon’s 14 leadership principles:

“Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.”

That’s not the only thing that Bezos is well known for, though. A brilliant mind, he is still uneducated in some areas, but tales of his capability to quickly get oriented and harshly criticize new spotty ideas in that area has surprised his employees not once. He’s also an aggressive deal-maker, and so much more. Make sure the check out the source below for a full picture, and share our thoughts about the portrayal of Amazon’s most important person.

source: Business Week

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