“The world wants you to be typical. Don’t let it happen” – Jeff Bezos final letter as Amazon CEO

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After 27 years managing an organization he based, Jeff Bezos announced on February 2, 2021, that he would step down as the CEO of Amazon someday within the third quarter of 2021, and transition into the position of government chairman. He mentioned he would be changed as CEO by Andy Jassy, the chief of Amazon’s cloud computing division.

Bezos wrote his first letter in 1997 to shareholders as Amazon CEO and set a precedent for many years of startups after it. His first letter laid out a daring imaginative and prescient for the corporate: a relentless concentrate on clients above all else, and a prioritization of reinvestment over short-term shareholder returns.

Upon leaving in 2021, Bezos had reworked Amazon right into a multi-national multi-billion expertise firm. He gained a private wealth of greater than $200 billion and have become the richest individual within the world in accordance to each Forbes and Bloomberg’s Billionaires index.

In his last letter to shareholders in April as an outgoing CEO, Bezos, 57, felt “compelled” to depart readers with a final piece of recommendation: Keep your “distinctiveness.”

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“We all know that distinctiveness – originality – is valuable,” he wrote. “We are all taught to ‘be yourself.’ What I’m really asking you to do is to embrace and be realistic about how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness. The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways, it pulls at you. Don’t let it happen.”

To illustrate his level, Bezos included a passage from the non-fiction e-book “The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design” by Richard Dawkins.

The “extraordinary book [that’s] about a basic fact of biology” is a part of the “one last thing of utmost importance I feel compelled to teach,” Bezos wrote, including the next excerpt:

“Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at. Left to itself – and that is what it is when it dies – the body tends to revert to a state of equilibrium with its environment … Our bodies, for instance, are usually hotter than our surroundings, and in cold climates they have to work hard to maintain the differential. When we die the work stops…. …[I]f living things didn’t work actively to prevent it, they would eventually merge into their surroundings, and cease to exist as autonomous beings.”

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While the passage “is not intended as a metaphor,” Bezos notes, “it’s nevertheless a fantastic one, and very relevant to Amazon. I would argue that it’s relevant to all companies and all institutions and to each of our individual lives too.”

Although it takes “continuous hard work” to “maintain our distinctiveness,” he wrote, “it’s worth it.”

“The fairy tale version of [the advice] ‘be yourself’ is that all the pain stops as soon as you allow your distinctiveness to shine. That version is misleading. Being yourself is worth it, but don’t expect it to be easy or free,” Bezos wrote.

Connecting this recommendation with Amazon, Bezos added that “the world will always try to make Amazon more typical – to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort, but we can and must be better than that.”

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He highlighted a vital idea that guided his oversight of one of many world’s greatest corporations: “You have to create more than you consume,” Bezos says within the letter. “Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with.”

Photo: Getty Images, through Bloomberg

Bezos additionally defended Amazon as “Earth’s best employer and Earth’s safest place to work” — a direct refutation of repeated allegations from supply and warehouse staff who say they’re overworked, and are pressured to pee in bottles to save time. “The fact is, the large team of thousands of people who lead operations at Amazon have always cared deeply for our hourly employees, and we’re proud of the work environment we’ve created,” Bezos says.

Looking into the way forward for the multibillion-dollar enterprise that his named successor, Andy Jassy, will take over as CEO Bezos mentioned “It’s a hard job with a lot of responsibility.”

“Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical”, he added.

Read the total letter on Amazon.com