It Remains Day 1

Apr 23, 2021


Jeff Bezos wrote a final letter to his employees, what were his parting words and how can his Day 1 Mindset inspire you toward your Amazon?

What do Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have in common? They were incubated in a garage, ranked in the top 25 US companies for revenue according to the Fortune 500 (second, fourth, eleventh, and twenty-first, respectively), and rated as the world’s four most valuable brands.1, 2, 3 Visual Capitalist reports Amazon, the planet’s largest online marketplace, grew 18% last year increasing its brand value to $220 billion “towering over Google and Apple’s brand valuations” (only $160 billion and $140 billion, respectively).4

Earlier this year, founder Jeff Bezos announced his transition from Amazon’s CEO to Executive Chairman of the Board. The man who negotiated the first Amazon contracts in a Barnes & Noble (because his garage sported a potbelly stove and proved in appropriate for business meetings) is now bidding farewell to over one million employees.5, 6 Twenty-seven years after developing software to leverage online opportunities in the book industry, Bezos wrote to employees, “I've never had more energy, and this isn't about retiring” but about refocusing passion. He concluded with this:

“Keep inventing, and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1.” ~ Jeff Bezos, Letter to Employees (02/2021)5

Jeff Bezos’ final reminders to his staff were:6

  1. Keep Inventing: Bezos ticked off many innovations including online customer reviews, Just Walk Out shopping (without a checkout or cashier), The Climate Pledge (net zero carbon business by 2040), and Alexa. --Suggesting anything is possible.
  2. Remember to Wander: To wander is to walk or move in a leisurely, casual, or aimless way, this is in stark contrast to what Bezos called Prime's “insanely-fast” shipping. --Suggesting we must go slow before we go fast.
  3. Follow Curiosity: Bezos writes “I find my work meaningful and fun. I get to work with the smartest, most talented, most ingenious teammates.” --Suggesting discovery and wonder is as important as it is energizing.
  4. It Remains Day 1: In his founding letter of the Day 1 Fund, Bezos wrote of his Day 1 mindset, “It’s always Day 1. …We humans never stop looking for (and finding!) ways to improve things.”--Suggesting we are never done.

I read the whole letter and was riveted by the words: It Remains Day 1. I sighed with relief, as I realized we still have time! We have time to fix, improve, design, create, establish, and most importantly, BEGIN AGAIN. What are you doing with your Day 1? What needs your focused passion? What are you inventing? How often do you take time to wander? Where is your curiosity leading you? …Makes me want to move my business into the garage, just to see what happens. 

Sources: 1 American Express: 6 Incredible Companies That Started in a Garage; 2 Fortune: Fortune 100, (2020); 3, 4 Visual Capitalist: RANKED: The Most Valuable Brands in the World, (2020); 5 American Express: 6 Incredible Companies That Started in a Garage; 6 Washington Post: Amazon now employs more than 1 million people; 7, 8 Fortune: Jeff Bezos pays homage to Amazon’s roots in goodbye letter to employees; 9 Day 1 Fund: Founding Letter.

by Michelle Sugerman • Leading Synergies, LLC • © All Rights Reserved

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