Alberto's weekly email: Amazon, goalless goals and more! 🚀

Hi All,

What I am reading 📚

Last week I finally took the time to go through two long opinion pieces about Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s CEO), one from the Atlantic, the other from the New Yorker.

Both are well worth the read if you want to attempt to understand how Bezos thinks and what motivates him.

Management

On the management side, Bezos has created styles and procedures that enabled his company to become “America’s second-largest private employer”. His leadership principles, for example, should be a must-read for every entrepreneur. And there’s also his obsession with keeping a startup mentality:

“Everything Jeff does is to stop a big-company mentality from taking hold so that Amazon can continue behaving like a group of startups.”

In fact, Amazon has a rule of “two-pizza teams”, this is, teams should be small enough that they can be fed with two pizzas and they should be self-sufficient. This allows them to move fast and make their own decisions without needing to wait for other departments.

The thing that I find more interesting though is their policy of written memos for meetings:

Bezos insists that plans be pitched in six-page memos, written in full sentences, a form he describes as “narrative.” This practice emerged from a sense that PowerPoint had become a tool for disguising fuzzy thinking. Writing, Bezos surmised, demands a more linear type of reasoning.

This resonates very well with me. I always despise meetings and find presentations boring and mostly uninformative.

Space

Bezos —like Elon Musk— leads a company focused on making humans an interplanetary species, it is called Blue Origin (Bezos funds it by selling 1 billion dollars of his Amazon stock every year 🤑). This was not news to me, but I was surprised to read that getting to outer-space was a childhood dream that he is still pursuing:

Bezos used his graduation speech to unfurl his vision for humanity. He dreamed aloud of the day when millions of his fellow earthlings would relocate to colonies in space. A local newspaper reported that his intention was “to get all people off the Earth and see it turned into a huge national park.”

While there might be a lot of fantasy in his dream of conquering space —he’s a Star Trek fan—, there also is a more rational side to the story. Bezos believes that for humanity to keep progressing we need to find more resources, what Earth has to offer is not enough.

The danger, he says, “is not necessarily extinction,” but stasis: “We will have to stop growing, which I think is a very bad future.”

Nerd Corner 🤓

I’m happy to announce that I did some updates to my website!

I added a new Links page where I am collecting ideas, articles, and resources that I find interesting and useful.

I am also revamping my Books section as I am trying to write more comprehensive summaries and reviews.

On another note, I've been recently thinking a lot about goals and how to think about them. Inspired by Growth without Goals, I put my thought on (digital) paper. You can read it on my blog and also on Medium.

Also interesting 🤯

  • Speaking of Amazon, this article provides a glimpse of how the company indirectly affects the economy and creates jobs.

  • This Wired article provides a refreshing opinion on Blockchain technology.

  • Recently Tim Ferris posted this video featuring Uzbekistan’s marvels and food. Go check his other videos as well, it is one of the best food channels I’ve seen on YouTube!

Before you go 🚀


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Have an awesome week!