Comfortable being misunderstood

Jeff Bezos is about my age, 44.  So he would be to many of you too.  What sets him apart? 

Achievement. 

His company Amazon.com first changed the way we bought, read or reviewed books. In 2007, his business pulled in revenue of nearly $15 billion, up 38 percent from the previous year. Amazon’s stock keeps rising, and Bezos becomes ever richer. His estimated worth is about $8 billion.  The 13-year-old company is the biggest online retailer in the world, but recently Bezos has taken Amazon beyond retailing; it now sells its computing, warehousing, and delivery services to other companies. Even tiny startups can rent just about anything Amazon does. And the company made news with its debut of the Kindle, a slim electronic book reader with iPhone-like cachet.

I bring in a small nugget here.  Amazon was incorporated by a divorce attorney!  Here he comes clean on several such interesting stuff.

Thanks to Ben Casnocha, I read that interview. But what I liked most was his reply to two specific questions [by Conde Nast Portfolio.com] –

“One of your big initiatives, a search engine called A9, fell flat. What happened?

If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table. Companies are rarely criticized for the things that they failed to try. But they are, many times, criticized for things they tried and failed at.

Did you ever get criticized for some­thing you tried that worked out?

When we pioneered customer reviews, it was incredibly controversial. I got letters from publishers saying, “You don’t understand your business. You make money when you sell things. Take down those negative customer reviews.” We’ve never done anything of real value that wasn’t at least a little bit controversial when we did it. But if you want to be a pioneer, you have to be comfortable being misunderstood.”

Are you comfortable being misunderstood?

Here is my little take on pioneering where I said “So much of the pioneer’s time is preparation, so much is routine, and so much retrospect, that the path of her genius contracts itself to a very few hours.”

For more, just click the tag “Life” under the title `Categories’ to your right.

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