Product Marty Cagan

Lessons from Amazon

Several people pointed me to this great little talk by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.  If you haven’t watched this yet you should.   I thought his talk did a great job highlighting a few key points that pertain to my current theme of product portfolio planning and I wanted to emphasize them here:

First, he talks about how important it is to “obsess over your customers.”  That really is the basis for everything and I loved how he pointed out that it’s not about obsessing over competitors or pundits, it’s about providing great solutions for customers.

Second, he had some great comments about “inventing on behalf of your customers” and how it’s “not a customer’s job to invent.”  Those of you that have been reading my articles and book know that I consider this to be the core of great product – you must innovate and invent, but a) you won’t get the solutions from just doing what your customers tell you to do, and b) you must innovate for a purpose, which is to provide real value for your customers.

Third, he talks about the importance of “thinking long-term” and he explains that if you really want to focus on customers, and invent on behalf of customers, then you must have the discipline to think long-term, where projects might take 5-7 years before they pay dividends for the company.  This ability to think strategically and persist is a tremendous competitive advantage for a product company.

Finally, he emphasizes that “it is always Day 1” in that there will always be more innovation on behalf of customers and that it’s never too late to try to do something great.  What a great summary of why I love working on product.

So share this video with the execs in your company, and maybe tomorrow you can start working on something great.