2016 – Day 2 & Decision Making

Jeff was asked at an employee all-hands meeting what Day 2 looks like. Stasis, irrelevance, decline, and eventual death. So if that’s the case, how do you keep it always Day 1, especially at a company the size of Amazon? If you’re reading the letters chronologically, I bet you can guess the next two words… Customer Obsession.

He also details talks about managing to proxies, which he describes as not managing the customer experience, but rather one step back such as processes or customer research. He goes on to talk about embracing external trends and high-velocity decision making.

I want to focus on high-velocity decision making, as I think it’s often lost in very large companies. Jeff talks about two-way door decisions, or decisions that can be reversed. Also, he talks about making decisions with around 70% of the information you had. We also have disagree and commit, or the concept of asking people who are against you to take note of their disagreement. It’s a challenge but take a gamble – do it anyway. Lastly we have misalignment issues and escalations. Escalate early and often. All four of these put together are a novel concept for big companies. Most want to get stuck in getting 110% of the information needed to make a small, VERY reversible decision.

“Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow. Plus, either way, you need to be good at quickly recognizing and correcting bad decisions. If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.” — Jeff Bezos