In an interview at Summit LA17, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shared some of the decisions and habits that have contributed to his success.
- For example, he never multitasks. "If I'm reading my email I want to be reading my email," he said.
- He said he started Amazon because he knew he'd regret not trying for the rest of his life.
- Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world. The Amazon CEO also owns The Washington Post and an aerospace company called Blue Origin.
During an interview at the ideas festival Summit LA17, in Los Angeles in November, Bezos divulged some of the secrets to his insane fame and fortune. TechCrunch posted tidbits from the conversation; below, we've rounded up the highlights.
Choosing the right partner was important to Jeff Bezos' success
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have been married 24 years. They met when Bezos interviewed MacKenzie at investment management firm D.E. Shaw.
After a series of blind dates with other people, Bezos said he knew he'd found his life partner when he saw that MacKenzie was resourceful. "I wanted someone who could get me out of a third-world prison," he said at the conference.
Avoiding multitasking to be successful
“When I have dinner with friends or family, I like to be doing whatever I'm doing," Bezos said. "I don't like to multi-task. If I'm reading my email I want to be reading my email" with his full attention and energy.
Indeed, scientists say only about 2% of the population is capable of multitasking. As for the rest of us, trying to do too much at once generally backfires.
Knowing where your talents are
"I have this fantasy of being a bartender," Bezos said. "I pride myself on my craft cocktails." That said, Bezos admitted he's very slow. In his fantasy bar, there would be a sign saying, "Do you want it good or do you want it fast?"
Opting for adventure over ease
Bezos said everyone has two options for creating their "life story." Either you go for a life of "ease and comfort" or a life of "service and adventure." Bezos is clear about which is the right choice: He said you'll be prouder of living an adventurous life when you're 80 years old.
It goes back to Bezos' "regret minimization framework," which he mentioned at the Summit Series. In an oft-cited interview, which appears to have been conducted by the Academy of Achievement, Bezos described his decision to found Amazon:
"I knew that when I was 80, I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed, I wouldn't regret that.
"But I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day."