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“Everything Jeff Bezos Knows”

Here’s an interesting video by Jeff Bezos, the CEO of; today his company entered into a definitive agreement to purchase

I believe that this video is an effective example of a leader using storytelling, a little humor and an informal setting to frame an important message. Bezos presents himself not as the “Imperial CEO” seated behind a mahogany desk in a coat and tie but rather as a guy with rolled up shirts sleeves who started with nothing, worked very hard, and made and learned from a lot of mistakes along the way. Instead of a flashy PowerPoint in a conference room, he uses a flip chart with barely legible handwriting. Humbly, he states here is “everything I know and it’s a very short list.”

  1. Obsess over customers.Jeff Bezos
  2. Invent.
  3. Think long term.
  4. It’s always day one.

Finally, 6 minutes into the 8 minute video, we learn who this is really intended for: Zappos employees. On a number of occasions Bezos mentions that Zappos has a truly unique culture and an incredible group of leaders in “Fred, Alfred and Tony.” Bezos understands that  Zappos’ culture requires a unique message to be delivered to employees at a very critical time. While Amazon is clearly in the driver’s seat for this transaction, Bezos left me feeling that he’s looking forward to learning more about and having Amazon benefiting from Zappos’ unique culture. Of course, he takes the opportunity to present Zappos employees with a few Amazon historical and cultural lessons too.

Bezos closes with “I’m super excited about Zappos, Thank you.”

I believe that Bezos, as a leader, has done a good job in communicating his intended message to the community but I think that Jeff knows a few more things than what appears on his flip chart. What do you think?

About the author

Peter A. Mello, Founder/Editor Founder of Weekly Leader and Sea-Fever Consulting, LLC, a leadership development and strategic communications consultancy. Previously, CEO of an international nonprofit organization and COO of a national insurance/risk management services firm. Peter has been leading people and managing organizations for over 30 years, writes a leadership column for MarineNews magazine and blogs about maritime culture at Sea-Fever. Follow him on Twitter.

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