Its Still Day 1 at Amazon

May 1, 2017

-years-AdobeStock62292003Jeffrey P. Bezos Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Inc. recently sent a letter to Amazon Shareholders.  The letter says a lot about why Amazon share price is trading at about $925 at a Price / Earnings ratio of approx. 174 (TTM), creating a current market cap of about $442 Billion.  This letter also provides us all with some lessons to learn about how and why our role as project managers is continuing to evolve so rapidly (see: presentation by Dr. Harold Kerzner at the PMINEO 2017 Kerzner awards dinner). 

A complete copy of the letter can be downloaded in the PDF found at the end of the abstract, below.    

The retail sector is important to our analysis of the trends affecting the PM profession because as everyone knows retail most often feels the effects of changes in the economy.  For those of you wanting more insights in to how quickly the retail market is shifting, also see 


Its Still Day 1 at Amazon


“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?”

That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic.

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

To be sure, this kind of decline would happen in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.

I’m interested in the question, how do you fend off Day 2? What are the techniques and tactics? How do you keep the vitality of Day 1, even inside a large organization?

Amazon-Logo-5117Such a question can’t have a simple answer. There will be many elements, multiple paths, and many traps. I don’t know the whole answer, but I may know bits of it. Here’s a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.

There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.

  1. True Customer Obsession
  2. Resist Proxies
  3. Embrace External Trends and use High-Velocity Decision Making
  4. Fourth, recognize true misalignment issues early and escalate them immediately

So, have you settled only for decision quality, or are you mindful of decision velocity too? Are the world’s trends tailwinds for you? Are you falling prey to proxies, or do they serve you? And most important of all, are you delighting customers? We can have the scope and capabilities of a large company and the spirit and heart of a small one. But we have to choose it.

A huge thank you to each and every customer for allowing us to serve you, to our shareowners for your support, and to Amazonians everywhere for your hard work, your ingenuity, and your passion.


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