Jeff Bezos work life balance: How the richest man in the world spends his time

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is the richest person on the planet, with an estimated net worth of over $100 billion.

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, is the richest person on the planet, with an estimated net worth of over $100 billion.

Since founding Amazon in 1994, Bezos has steered the company through hyper-growth to become the most valuable retailer on the planet.

During the same time, however, Bezos has maintained a relatively light workload, and only recently took on the title of CEO. In fact, Bezos says he still spends around 80% of his time on, what he calls, “the core mission” of the company.

Bezos divides his time into five distinct categories:

  • 1). Customers
  • 2). Employees
  • 3). Shareholders
  • 4). Strategy

1). Jeff Bezos work life balance Personal time

Jeff Bezos work life balance

Bezos’ focus on the customer is perhaps his most important distinction, as he believes that a company’s only sustainable competitive advantage comes directly from its customers.

By putting the customer first, Bezos argues that the company’s long-term vision, rather than quarterly profits, become the most important metric for success.

The importance of the customer is also apparent in Bezos’ list of favourite books, which includes two books by legendary management guru Peter Drucker.

“It is easy to start a company, but hard to make it successful. Success comes from making customers happy,” Bezos writes.

“That is as true for large companies as it is for small companies,” he continues. “If large companies lose their customer focus, they will lose ground to small companies. If small companies lose their customer focus, they will lose everything.”

Bezos’ emphasis on the customer is also evident in his financial philosophy, which dictates that a company should only spend money on the customer or things that directly benefit the customer.

“We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term,” Bezos writes. “This value will be a direct result of our ability to extend and solidify our current market leadership position. The stronger our market leadership, the more powerful our economic model. Market leadership can translate directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, greater capital velocity, and correspondingly stronger returns on invested capital.”

This focus on the customer is also reflected in Bezos’ thoughts on investment, which he describes as “a process of laying out money now in the expectation of receiving more money in the future.”

“When you’re thinking about making an investment, you’re actually thinking about making a series of investments,” Bezos writes. “Each investment is an experiment. You start with some ideas about what will work, you test those ideas, and then you learn and iterate.”

Bezos defines capital allocation as “the process of laying out money now in the expectation of receiving more money in the future.”

2). Jeff Bezos work life balance: Employees

Jeff Bezos work life balance

“Our approach emphasizes long-term thinking, decentralized decision-making, and risk-taking,” Bezos writes. “We encourage creativity and prudent risk-taking, and we make a point of hiring and holding on to people who are resourceful, curious, and inventive.

“The goal,” he adds, “is to build a company with enduring value, rather than to maximize profits in any single period.”

3). Jeff Bezos work life balance: Shareholders

Jeff Bezos.

“We believe that our primary responsibility is to our employees, our customers, and our suppliers. Our second responsibility is to shareholders.

“In our view, the interests of employees and shareholders are fundamentally aligned,” Bezos writes. “We believe that over time, we will be better served by a company that is managed for the long run than by one that is managed to maximize earnings for a given quarter.

“We believe that our primary responsibility is to our employees, our customers, and our suppliers. Our second responsibility is to shareholders.

“In our view, the interests of employees and shareholders are fundamentally aligned,” Bezos writes. “We believe that over time, we will be better served by a company that is managed for the long run than by one that is managed to maximize earnings for a given quarter.

“We will work hard on behalf of current and prospective shareholders,” he adds, “but any investment we make must be consistent with long-term, sustainable free cash flow.”

4). Jeff Bezos work life balance: Strategy

Jeff Bezos work life balance

Bezos begins his discussion of strategy by outlining his core belief, that the “purpose of business is to create a customer.”

“Our approach is to start with the outcome we want to achieve and then work backwards,” he writes. “We start by asking: ‘What business are we really in?’ We then ask what capabilities are required to win in the market, and what capabilities we need to build.

“We also ask what resources are required,” he adds, “and whether those resources should come from inside or outside the company.

“Ultimately,” Bezos concludes, “we want to have an organization that is so excellent that customers are automatically attracted to it.

“That is our ultimate goal – to become so strong, so valuable, so distinctive, that customers can’t live without us.

“That is,” he asserts, “to become ‘the need they can’t live without.’”

Bezos begins his discussion of strategy by outlining his core belief, that the “purpose of business is to create a customer.”

“Our approach is to start with the outcome we want to achieve and then work backwards,” he writes. “We start by asking: ‘What business are we really in?’ We then ask what capabilities are required to win in the market, and what capabilities we need to build.

“We also ask what resources are required,” he adds, “and whether those resources should come from inside or outside the company.

“Ultimately,” Bezos concludes, “we want to have an organization that is so excellent that customers are automatically attracted to it.

“That is our ultimate goal – to become so strong, so valuable, so distinctive, that customers can’t live without us.

“That is,” he asserts, “to become ‘the need they can’t live without.’”

5). Jeff Bezos work life balance: Personal Time

Jeff Bezos with his wife MacKenzie.

“My time is my most valuable asset,” Bezos writes. “I have two luxuries that few others enjoy: time and money.

Jeff Bezos work life balance

“I prefer to spend my energy on things that matter,” he continues. “I like things to be sparkly and clear. I don’t like fussiness, and I detest bureaucracy.

“Those who set out to use people, systems, or assets to create unnecessary friction are not my friends,” Bezos adds. “They drain energy away from me. They aren’t growing my base of goodwill.

“In fact,” he adds, “they often reduce my energy levels and make me less productive. It’s time for me to apply the lessons I’ve learned about people, systems, and assets that create unnecessary friction.

“If I’m going to spend my time and money creating problems for others, then I should invest that energy creating solutions for others.”


lewis-anderson
lewis-anderson

Lewis Anderson is a parent of 3 children and has been an IT Technician since 2013. He has been practicing spiritual teachings since 2008 and is on a path of personal growth. His other interests include A.I, Advanced Robotics, astrology, autonomy, quantum mechanics, and anything related to consciousness and human experience. He writes about, blogging, parenting, marketing, online business, and all his other interests on his personal blog. You can find him on Twitter and on his other social media platforms. Lewis is always happy to help other parents and people with IT needs, so feel free to reach out to him with any questions or comments.

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