A conversation between two brothers, Jeff & Mark Bezos
There is no shortage of online interviews. The best are often between good friends or siblings. This one between brothers Mark & Jeff Bezos is no exception.
Hosted at Summit 2017 Conference, below are a few thoughts that resonated. Mostly points not expanded on in other interviews.
Life Growing up
Interview starts with quite entertaining stories growing up age 4 to 15 on his grandfather’s ranch each summer, and the lesions learned in resourcefulness, self reliance, and problem solving.
He ate a whole can of Pillsbury Biscuits, with butter, each morning for breakfast (until he got married).
Bezos dislikes the expression “work-life balance” because it implies a tradeoff between these two domains.
Instead, he views it as “work-life harmony”. You want to create a situation where your work and your home life both give you energy, not drain you. This creates a flywheel effect where each domain improves your ability to be successful in the other.
Gifts & Choices
“You can never be proud of your gifts. Because they were given to you. You can only be proud of your choices.”
His toast: To Adventure & Fellowship
His routine toast is “To Adventure & Fellowship”
“One of the most important choices each of us has is to choose a life of ease an comfort, or you can choose a life of service and adventure.”
Fellowship: captures both the concepts of friendship and traveling the road together.
As Bezos has discussed before, his framework for important decisions is to mitigate against decision regret when he is 80. This was instrumental in helping him clearly see 100% regret for failing to try start Amazon, and 0% regret for trying.
His Valedictory Address & Obsession With Space
Space has been on his mind forever. In High School, the vast majority of his valedictory address discussed colonizing space. His closing line was, “Space, the final frontier. Meet me there”.
Like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos is concerned that the window humanity has to become a space bearing civilization is narrow. (Similar to Musk, he avoid getting into the details regarding why he believes this in public interviews). In this regard, he views his work with Blue Origin as the most important thing he is doing.
The popularization of the expression “all civilizations become space bearing, or extinct” dates back to Arthur C. Clarke in the 1950s.
Long Term Thinking
By thinking in longer term horizons (5-7 year business cycles), it provides more opportunity to succeed; because they have more opportunities to fail compared to a company that must produce returns in 2-3 years.
Multitasking & Cellphones
Even as a child, he has been super focused on single tasks and disliked multitasking. This predisposition makes him naturally inclined to not be attached to his cell phone. He (luckily) doesn’t need discipline to not check email.