CHAPTER 2JEFF BEZOS

ON EXPERIMENTATION AND PLATFORMS

There are certain overused expressions that I am fed up with. For example, every company should be “client centric.” This is hardly a new point of view; it has been around for decades. Back in the eighties, I remember the CEO of Auchan, one of Europe’s leading retail chains, claiming to “put the client at the center” of all the strategies he developed for his group. Another worn-out management cliché is “the right to make mistakes.” How many articles or books condescendingly exhort the importance of having courage and taking risks? As if businesspeople don’t already know! These two platitudes in particular were staples of management books and articles, but when the Internet arrived, they were suddenly given new life.

In the digital revolution, everything starts with consumers; the Internet has truly put them at the center. Additionally, like it or not, companies are condemned to be resolutely open to risk. The Internet is the catalyst for turbulence, leaving companies with no other choice than to constantly question themselves, to continually experiment, and to innovate at an accelerated pace. Otherwise, they run the risk of being left behind by competitors—and eventually disappearing.

Jeff Bezos is the person who best represents the resurgence of these two concepts, client centricity and risk-taking, in today’s world. He has brought them to a new level of significance, which can be seen in Amazon. Bezos is driven to always ...

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