Amazon's Innovation Principles

An article in Sunday’s NY Times about the tug of war between eBay and Amazon, which Amazon is currently winning, contains this great quote from Jeff Bezos

Our willingness to be misunderstood, our long-term orientation and our willingness to repeatedly fail are the three parts of our culture that make doing this kind of thing possible.

This crisply summarizes three key mindsets that are essential to thriving with innovation on a consistent basis: don’t listen to your customers literally, have strategic patience, and be willing to make mistakes (as long as you learn from them).

I’ve criticized Amazon in the past for loading too much stuff onto its pages, and that is still the case, and often it seems driven by a corporate case of attention-deficit-disorder. (Sergey Brin has realized that Google has some of the same problem, and is trying to create more focus.) But to its credit, Amazon has not given up trying to innovate, and has clearly embedded that drive into the organization.

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