11 Philosophies that created $1.7 trillion in value and… the richest man in the world

It wasn’t the work that created Amazon, it was the principle philosophies behind Amazon that created the work.  Big difference!

11 Philosophies that created $1.7 trillion in value and... the richest man in the world

Writen by Daniel J Bockman

How much can a few simple words, philosophies, and principles payout in value. How much value you might ask? Try $1.7 trillion! How does a few simple words, phrases and principals create such immense value?

We all think its the relentless subhuman level work ethic of particular individuals that creates such vast wealth and success and for the most part that is true. But keep in mind, many millions of people work just as relentlessly with very little measure of success in the end. Why then is there such a disparaging difference in results from one to another?

A steely mind, unbending focus, and the kind of mental toughness that shadows everything else is nothing without a success philosophy that can be believed in.

I will start out by telling you about my experience in doing a business presentation for a class of middle school 8th graders a few years ago. During the Q&A after my talk, a kid asked me what the secret to a successful business was. I said very straightforwardly, “Philosophy!” An awkward silence fell over the room and the kids and the teacher looked at me like a puppy looks at you when you make a squeaking noise!

I broke the silence and said, “You have to have a sound business philosophy that you authentically believe in and that your people will buy into if you ever hoped to be successful in business.” A girl then asked what college degree she should get to become a businesswoman. I said, “A Philosophy degree.”

I have never been asked to come back and do another business talk with the middle school since but that’s okay, $1.7 trillion in Amazon’s valuation proved my point! Amazon has given us a look at the recipe for supper levels of success. I think you will see that is wasn’t the work that created such a successful behemoth of retail but rather the principle philosophies that created the relentless work.

(Interesting fact) The concept of relentlessness is such a cornerstone concept at Amazon that the site was originally going to be called relentless.com

If you want to create something great with an amazing valuation, adopt these 11 philosophies into your business model. It will take a little time but if you begin to believe in it, you will see incredible results.  

11 company philosophies that created $1.7 trillion in value


1. Have a zero tolerance policy on regret

Build your mental framework that totally eliminates the concept of regret. You have to execute on your idea with the mindset that it is far riskier if you do not go after your dreams. You do not want to be old and wished you would have done more with your life. You do not want to end up being average because you were too afraid to risk. You have to have a mind that thinks it regrets will hurt a lot more than failure. Failing at something great is far better than succeeding at mediocrity. The Philosophy here is: “I don’t want to be in my 90s and look back and wished I would have done this, I don’t want to regret not trying.”

2. Opportunity is everywhere.

You have to find the opportunity that is best for you. If you can’t find the opportunity, go out and create the opportunity for yourself. Sheer repetition of opportunity creating will likely create more and different opportunities you never saw coming. You need to be doing work that you will be deliberate in doing and find joy in constantly challenging yourself to do even better each day in that opportunity. The Philosophy here is: Bezos wasn’t especially fond of books but the internet was new in 1997 and books where an easy gateway into internet retail sales that would lead to something much greater. You don’t have to love the work in the beginning, you just have to be insensible about the results in the end.

3. Become completely obsess about your customers

There are lots of secrets to Amazon’s success but above all is the idea of being obsessive compulsive about the customers. The customer is EVERYTHING! Do not obsess about the competition, they are not going to give you their money. The customers have the money! Obsess about the people who want to give you their money! The Philosophy here is: Concentrate all your efforts into the ones that what to do business with you and build a business that your customers cannot live without.

4. Value has to be paramount to all other costs

Amazon believes that if someone is going to take the time to shop at your site, it better be worth their time and see that there is no better option for them to go to! This is a principle holdover from the early days of the internet. Dialing up an internet connection and buying online in the late 1990s was a lot of work for the average buyer. Amazon believed that if the customer was going to do that work, then Amazon better be the very best option out there. This idea serves them very well even today- remove the pain of online shopping. Here’s the philosophy of this concept:


“Does your site (or business) make your customers’ lives easier or better in some tangible way? If so, they’ll probably buy just about anything from you”

Jeff Bezos

5. Fear your customers, not your competitors

Again, your customers have the money. Your competitors are not going to give you their money!

6. Focus hardcore on the long range strategy

Many times Amazon did things that would upset Wall Street. They refused to make short sided, knee jerk actions for quick gain. This resulted in Amazon stock prices to fluctuate and be unstable. Amazon would rather lose money on a short sided action for a long term strategy that would pay a king’s ransom later. They didn’t care about quarterly earnings and never posted amazing gains on the short side because taking over the online retail world in the end was the overall objective. And it worked! Prime and 2 day free shipping is the perfect example. The Philosophy here is: Do not get hung up on the small details and little failures along the way. Believe that the fundamental measure of success will be the value you create for your shareholders and yourself over the long term. Be willing to lose a few small battles in order to win the war.

7. Feed the momentum

The one nut Amazon cracked incredibly well was building on the momentum, or as a lot of companies call it, “The Flywheel.” Once this train is moving and building steam, you must continue to feed and fuel it to get it bigger and hotter. As you build this momentum, you will also attract the right kind of attention you need to keep building foundations under it. Amazon started with books, and now, there is virtually nothing you can’t purchase on Amazon. This is the results of letting other people and companies use Amazons immense platform and reach to do their own business. The Philosophy here is: As you experience more success, build on that success. Carbon copy what you did on your last win and add to it again with new products or services. When you’re on top, keep reaching higher with each win!

8. Hire for purposeful working employee

There is nothing worse than having employees that are only working for a paycheck and just going through the motions of their job. Not only are you as the owner using deliberate practice to get better at your job, you want employees that believe in your philosophy and will also be deliberately practicing their work. Like an evangelist, you must get them to believe the work they do has a greater purpose for a mission, that they are a part of a culture that is changing the world. The Philosophy here is: You what employees that are just as screwed up as you are. The intrepreneurs (entrepreneur minded employees) that really believe in your philosophy and will work as long and hard as you do.

9. Protect your philosophy

It’s no secret that Amazon’s shrewdness and cunning created much of the company’s unparalleled success. But nothing can compare to the company’s 1000’s of devoted employees and staff that believed in the mission and played an instrumental role in protecting the company’s culture and business philosophies. It’s one thing to be one man standing alone lifting the whole company on your back to drag it across the finish line, and I have no doubt that Bezos would have done it! But it’s completely another thing when you have an army of believers on you payroll backing your every move with belief. The mission and philosophies that are working must be protected. The Philosophy here is: Never make the claim that your approach to success is the right one. But claim your approach it is yours and own it! If it’s working, it has to be the bedrock of what you stand for.

10. You make decision, not suggestions

When your mission in life is to create the biggest retail empire the world has ever known, you don’t waffle on the decision making process. You have to be incredibly proficient in making swift, decisive decisions and not change your mind easily. This requires blistering discipline and confidence in one’s self to not knee jerk or go back and forth on decisions. Some decision are a two-way door. You can work a decision as needed and adjust your responses to the outcomes as they play out. Others are a one-way door. These are the “no turning back now” type decisions. When facing a one-way door decision you have to be steadfast in your resolve to change your mind. The philosophy here is: If you are the boss, you don’t make suggestion. You have to be looked at like you will make the final decision and stand by it for a very long time. You have to ooze confidence and poise around your people.

11. Embrace your hater’s and learn from them.

To be successful you needs 3 things, 1) someone wants to learn from you, 2) someone wants to be in business with you, and 3) you have to have some haters. If you are not being hated for you actions, then you are not significant enough,- you haven’t done enough. Haters can teach you a lot as long as you don’t go down the hate hole with them. Learn what you can from them, use discretion in what they are telling you, and then walk away. Haters can also be a huge source of free marketing. You are not paying them to talk about you but they insist on talking about you. Even if its negative talk, they are still talking about you. The Philosophy here is: If you can’t afford to be misunderstood, don’t do anything new or innovative.                 

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One Reply to “11 Philosophies that created $1.7 trillion in value and… the richest man in the world”

  1. Thanks Dan, providing value, whether product, service or time is the key to happy customers. If a customer feels they got great value for their money they will be back along with their friends and family.

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