Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and brother Mark give a rare interview about growing up and secrets to successApr 06, 2020
oh yeah thank you very much so this gentleman certainly needs no introduction my name is Marc Bezos and everyone can call me like my friends usually just refer to me as Jeff's
brotherby the way just so you know which really does. go both ways my
brotherhas a TED talk on small acts of kindness as a volunteer firefighter and it has millions of views and every once in a while someone will stop me and say I love his TED talk on being a firefighter and small acts of kindness and i yeah I usually know how to say ok thank you but that's really my brother his TED talk but if I'm in a hurry I just say thank you thank you yes absolutely but if any of you get confused I'm the smallest bank account to your left so he's the big brother so
jeffbefore we start i think you know this is obviously a crowd of influencers people just starting out i think we might as well make the most of your time i'm just going to dive into this if you don't mind come on you're the captain of the industry
amazon.com private spaceflight with Blue Origin the Washington Post levels of you know Fame and wealth that are hard to comprehend I guess you know a question that probab ly be on everyone's mind If you had to choose one thing, what would you say is your favorite part of having me as a little brother?
I think I have taken the liberty of writing some thoughts. I know you answer this and there are so many things I love about having Mark. as a brother but what he just did is number one on top of who i am with my brother. He laughs at me continuously, yes, because he is the funniest guy in my life. an easy audience that's true he's me I'm fine so this is what we're going to do if y'all don't mind the fact that you know a fireside chat between siblings this isn't exclusive to us this is something that we do it quite often, it's
rarethat we get it, you know? a couple thousand closest friends with us yeah and also usually have a fire yeah and bourbon yeah which we don't have now but now and what are we going to talk about the things I'm going to chat about. with Jeff about or not the kind of stuff that you'd maybe hear in most
interviews because you know, I don't know, you know that 2v2 rules aren't really my thing, so we're not going to talk about that stuff, but you know we have a shared history, you know, so what I really want to focus on is you know the influences and the inspirations that have led to some of the things that are the foundation of you know what's a little intimidating he knows too much, is so and what I would like to do is invite all of you to join you, you know what some of our greatest
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amazon ceo jeff bezos and brother mark give a rare interview about growing up and secrets to success...
I suppose that from my point of view and because we have such a shared history, what I have done wants to gesticulate a smile like me. past and I took the liberty of putting together a bunch of family photos so I'm going to be throwing a few of those behind us and just so you guys can understand so if we start talking abbreviated you'll understand what we mean so it all sounds good so i will and i appreciate your page this is not the kind of thing i usually do so i appreciate your patience so let's dive right into it so when we were kids we would spend every summer at the ranch From our grandfather in South Texas, we called our grandfather pop, that's pop, there's pop right there, we were probably just fixing that windmill, yeah, always fixing windmills, yeah, before you scaled and broke them bottles on them, which he recently did in an Instagram video, so you know one of the things we'd do. you know every summer was truly a magical experience there's a little
jeffyeah that was my ultimate cuteness right there it's all downhill from there that's a 1962 international harvester scout we all learn to drive past that car what ca r once you can drive that car you can drive anything and then there's the two of us i mean jeff teaching me how to open or close the door which doesn't sound like it's that complicated but i was having trouble with space between wires. the doors are hard and then this is red well that's Christina or her sister Christina but the red horse that's red yeah so I guess one of the things we learn every summer yeah this is pop again , so there were like us, as we mentioned. with the windmills there was always work to do on the ranch and yes one of the things that you know I think we learned to value and you've talked about this in the past is the role that resourceful self reliance plays is certainly in a place like the ranch, but yeah, can you talk a little bit about that?
So one of the best things you learn, first of all, we had a very lucky childhood. We were able to spend a lot of time with dad and our grandparents. and you learn different things from g grandparents than you learned from parents, it's just a very different relationship. I've spent all my summers on his ranch from the age of 4 to 16 and he was unbelievably soft on Lion, you know if you're in the middle of nowhere in a rural area you don't pick up the phone and call someone when something goes wrong, you figure out how to fix it yourself so as a kid you had to watch him solve all these problems and be a real problem solver he even made his own bed Neri's job would make his own needles to stitch the cattle he would like to have a drink with piece of wire use a torch to heat it flatten it sharpen it punch a hole through it make a needle and some of the cattle even survived and so you know but you did we learned a lot of things watching him because he would take on major projects that he didn't really know how to do and then I would figure out how to make them, you know, a good example of that is you. i know you guys built a house yeah i think i think he bought this from a sears catalog it was a kids house and we built this thing somebody came out everything turned up in big boxes and somebody a professional came and poured the foundation and then we did the rest but I'm pretty sure it was quite a project to go there some of it you can see some of the cows there that didn't survive the procedure so you know when I was going through this I certainly came across this photo, yeah, I'm not exactly sure what you were.
What we are doing here is almost positive. It seems that we were wrong. Maybe that vent really bothered me. You know here it's like you're making a spear I don't know what I'm doing yeah then and you know I think you know if you can talk a little I know there's a bulldozer in the back it's a crawler bulldozer my grandfather bought used for five grand , which is a massive bargain, you know this should cost a lot more than that, the reason it was so cheap is it was completely broken, the transmission was taken apart, the hydraulics didn't work, so we basically spent a whole summer fixing it and big giant gears would arrive in the mail from Caterpillar and we knew we couldn't even move the gear so Mike the first thing my grandfather did was build a crane to move the gear so that's the kind of self reliance and ingenuity and you know that there's also a story that you know is kind of legendary in our family one of the things that pop did one summer was a little out of place oh i know what story you're talking about so rea lmly he was a very careful conservative type of person who is not prone to crazy acts or anything that is a bit introspective and even very mischievous and introverted quiet person but one day he was alone he had driven to the ranch and was in the main g ate at the ranch and forgot to park the car so when he got to the gate he noticed the car rolling slowly downhill towards the gate he thought this is great i have just enough time to open the gate pull the gate open the car is going to pass and they will be wonderful, he almost got the gate open when the car hit the gate and caught his thumb between the gate and the fence post and ripped all the meat off his thumb that was hanging there by a tiny thread and it was so mad at himself he ripped that piece of meat off and threw it in the brush got back in the car headed to the ER in dili texas 16 miles away and when he got there he told him this is great we can go back to attach it where it is and he said i threw it in the weeds they went back to the nurses and everyone and everyone searched for hours for the thumb and never found that piece of meat he probably ate it so they take t I went back to the ER and they told me look, you have two options, you're going to have to get a skin graft for that and we can sew your thumb to your stomach and leave it there for six weeks, that's the best way to do it. or we can just cut a piece of skin graft from your butt and just stitch it up and it'll never be that good but the bonus is your thumb won't be sewn to your stomach for six weeks and he said I will I took the option of doing this skin graft from my butt and they did it it was very
successful it worked well and he but the funniest thing about this story is I have incredibly vivid memories when we all do him definitely his mornings were completely ritualized that he would wake up eating cereal for breakfast read the paper and shave with an electric razor for a long time like you shave with that electric razor for about 15 minutes and while you eat your cereal and when you finish shaving your face with that razor then it would take two flicks over his thumb because his group of thumbs but hair which by the way didn't bother him at all no he was completely unfazed e so thumb but hair aside you know the value of right wit and self reliance what how do you do it? you apply that to you know the work you do on a daily basis how you're doing well i think you know there are many entrepreneurs and people who chase dreams and passions in this car you know it's always you the point of moving things forward is that you run into problems you run into failures things don't work out you have to go back and try again every one of those times when you have a step back and you go back and try again you use the ingenuity you are using self reliance you are trying to invent your way out of the box and i have tons of examples on
amazonwhere we have had to do this we have failed so many times we have written iowa thought of us is a great place to feel because we are good at it we have a lot of practice and i can
giveyou an example many years ago years now that we started we wanted a third party selling business because we knew we could add selection to the store that way and we started Amazon auctions.
Nobody came. I think maybe our mother is the only one who buys. something I bought a cup of coffee you have a coffee I did it well so there were those who bought and and and that's a us so we said ok look we do it we open this thing called Z stores we trained that it was like fixed price auctions again no one came I didn't use that and finally and each of these failures is like a year that lasts half and we're trying to invent new things and we finally found this idea of putting third party selection in the same detail. the page is the same product detail page that we had our own inventory on our own retail inventory that we called this
marketplace and it went live right away and just that ingenuity of trying new things to discover things that customers really they wanted ant, yes, yes, it's worth it and everything and it's worth it even in your daily life, do you know how you help your children?
What is correct? it was 4 we would let him use our knives and by the time it was I don't know maybe 7 or 8 we would let him use certain power tools and my wife better to her credit she has this great fascia so she would do it a lot. I'd rather have a child with nine fingers than a child without resources and I think it's a fantastic attitude about life. Fortunately, you have resourceful children with 10 fingers. the selection of a spouse so this is yeah I did it when I was 20 this is you know you know you know pre cute pre game calm so I had this but at a certain point I decided I wanted getting married and me all my friends set me up and I had my list of criteria and from this it was like good old fashioned blind dates.
I went on dozens of blind dates and it turned out that I kept meeting people who were professional blind daters and I became a professional blind dater so we would sit down and most of the conversation was quickly about how yeah we're not right for each other but how you meet people and you know it actually became a right but when it was time my friends my criteria one I would list was I wanted a woman who could get me out of a third world prison and my friends asked me what your future plans are, you know, and I said no, it's just a visualization for someone really resourceful because I don't want to spend my life with teammates that you don't have resources and you want to spend your life with people who, if you needed to, could get you out of prison hypothetically speaking hypothetically speaking yeah so you know this is a recent photo that was last summer i think yes, we take that we were or were not a vacationfamily and I, you know, so this one caught my eye because you know you're doing Mackenzie curls there with your wife and you look kind of amateurish and of course you know it made me think of this now that internet memes are They go crazy.
Jeff is great, you know? excited but you know it was sent to me by a lot of people variations on this right oh my gosh your brother what a sauce your brother yeah and then you know but it confused me because in all honesty this is what it came with I grew up, yeah, I. I'm just saying okay so you know where, when you saw us, well, Jeff, I was surprised too, right? I mean Isis yeah this picture is sexy right? I remember that I am How old is your Halloween costume? I'm one of those who had some friends and we went like the foo no no no wait wait wait wait wait there you go here we go that's yeah yeah winners ladykillers girls love that they love that we were we were very successful in high school so as far as fitness goes and then and then you know there was a guy that's like what I Ate 90s Jeff right something like that and you know your eating habits at this point in your life. true when my wife and I got married i had been eating a whole can for a couple of years i had been eating a whole can of Pillsbury biscuits for breakfast every morning to wake up in the morning preheat the oven to 375 i would get the bacon out the baking sheet would open Pillsbury biscuits I would put there and butter and eat all the coke and I was skinny Ezreal and I was lonely and I am after seeing meat when then then we got married and she watched me do this every morning as my spouse for about three months and he finally stopped me one day and said, you know what's in that? there was something in the food that you know was there like i never read a nutrition label in my life.
I eat what tasted good to me, so she showed me the ingredient label and we had a very rudimentary little discussion about nutrition and I stopped eating the cookies. I am frankly very happy and somewhat surprised. that you survived all of that we're glad you're still with us so she was in disbelief so one of the things I want to talk about is a question that we've talked about before you were 30 in 1994 when you decided to start amazon.com you had a great job you had i remember you had a great apartment on the upper west side married for a year you had been married for you hadn't been eating cookies for nine months and i just know how you did it you go through making the decision to quitting was a really good job and take it take this chance it all seems so obvious right now so many years later it was worth it but at the time it wasn't obvious no it wasn't and and and I did a lot of soul searching I went to my boss at the time and i really liked my job and i told my boss i was going to do this open a bookstore on the internet and my wife had already told my wife and she's like cool come on and i said so i'm going to do this too he it is like this is a good idea so i think it's a good idea but it would be an even better idea for someone who didn't have a good job yet and that made some logical sense to me and it convinced me to think about it for a couple of days , so I left.
I was really trying to figure out how to think about this and I think it's the right way for me to make that kind of very personal decision because those decisions are personal, they're not like data-driven business decisions there they are, you know what your heart says. and for me it was that i could the best way to think about it was to project myself towards 80 years old and i said look when i'm 80 i want to have i minimized the number of regrets i have i don't want to be 80 in a quiet moment of ref lesson thinking in my life and cataloging you a lot of big regrets and i think regrets our biggest regrets in most cases you can murder someone well you would regret it but in most cases our biggest regrets result in acts of omission their paths are not taken and they chase us we wonder what would have happened I loved that person and I never told them and then they married someone else I knew I knew I didn't do this and that's the frame of mind I put myself in and I and once I did it once I thought that way it was immediately obvious to me I knew when I'm 80 I'll never regret having tried this that made me very excited and fail if i failed well i would be very proud of the fact that when i am 80 i tried and i also knew that it would always haunt me if i didn't try and that it would be a regret it would be a hundred percent chance of regret if I didn't try and basically zero percent chance of regret if I try and fail so I think This is a useful metric for any major life decision and this is: you know our sister took this photo but you know That she doesn't understand why she thought this was a momentous occasion for you and Mackenzie, yes, we're about to take off. driving across the country to start amazon go to seattle and that's a yellow lab kamala named after a star trek character we're so happy to have these family photos but we can't figure out why kristina even bothered take them. but we're so glad he did and then you know he was also smart enough to tell you to put the dog down yeah he probably saved us because we were going to drive across the country with the dog which probably wasn't a good idea, he said I keep the dog and when you guys settle in I'll send you the dog so what question I have is we just talked about the fact that you know there was certainly no guarantee Amazon was going to do it or not never. any kind of startup i think jeff
bezoswould be doing if this hadnt worked i think its a good question and no one really knows what life what twists and turns life takes my best guess is i would be very happy software engineer yes and working on something in particular today might be I don't know I'm very curious about machine learning and artificial intelligence and you know we're doing a lot of that I would probably be drawn to that field today and if you know I thought about this question I'm not sure exactly. how would you answer it but i'm curious you know it's your fantasy job not the one that would pay the bills well what i have is union and you know what it is i think he knows my guess is bartender I and I have by the way, I'm very glad to be wearing my honey badger. a bloody mary that is really a start what are brothers for an early start but yeah i gotta make a good cocktail i do i take pride in my craft cocktails and i am and i have this fantasy that i want to be a bartender and i know it's a fantasy like i'm actually a bartender right there fighting like i have glamor at work on my mind i know but i love people i like talking to people i love making cocktails, you're not very fast, I'm super slow, it would have to be a bar, we would have to. they charge a lot for the drink and they would and you would be Europe there would be a big sign behind the bar saying you can have a good one or you can have a quick one which is what but yeah I have I have kind of a fantasy. so if we could just change the subject a little bit I want to talk about Blue Origin yeah so Blue Origin is your private commercial spaceflight company and we'll talk in a minute about all the work you're doing in that regard but I guess what i want to focus on for a minute or two is the inspiration for it the passion behind it so you know i'm going to put a phone this is actually more embarrassing for me than it is for you but here we are it's like if you were about to block a football kick or something I'm auditioning for Alvin sorry right winger there's our dad that's Chico. in the man over there to the right is cuban and it's kind of you know it's one of those tricks in the universe it tells you my mom's name is Jackie and my name is Jeff and there's no J in Spanish and you still have to call her Jackie and me yeah but he sounds exactly like Ricky Ricardo lovely guy but yeah that's the whole team that's the whole team there so you were the jumping Torian from your high school in Miami and I got the chance to
givea speech, yeah, at your graduation and you I think the vast majority of your speech was about space colonization I think all of that I think it's all yeah right so I still remember your closing line I mean even then it caught my attention, yes, and it was enough, do you remember I remembered the closet that was something like space, the final frontier, meet me there, that was a that was, yes, and I have been passionate about space rockets and rocket engines since I was a 5 year old so you know what I want to talk about that a little bit because you know we've talked or you know, no doubt, the story you told about seeing the moon landing in 1969, so this is pop again, that's Christina, that's our sister on the ground, so this was a very familiar environment for us at any time. dad was watching tv yeah he had perfectly good furniture i can see it but yeah there is no place to lay on the floor to watch tv and you remember you saw it exactly like that when you were watching the moon landing yeah no he yes, and I, I think you. you never know exactly you know you don't choose your passions your grasses choose you how you how they are you're never completely sure but i think somehow you imprint yourself early on with certain things you just get excited and because you're excited you pay more attention and they grow and those it's spaces like that for me.
I saw Neil Armstrong stepping under the moon when he was five years old and you know what I wonder. I know Pop was a big fan of the Watergate trials. I'm sitting like this, he was kind of a news junkie anyway, religiously, you obsessively watched the Watergate hearings. post because I think it's an important institution and you know I told the team at the time how do you know the post at the time had that it was financially backwards it had a lot of work to do nothing on its own the internet had really taken my breath away the newspaper companies and I said, look, you know I wouldn't buy a financially upside down salty snack company, but publishing is really institutional, I think it's important and needs some hint, so that's why I did it.
You know the guy I had it for so many years, yeah Don Graham, who's just an amazing person, and it all worked out, but watching the Watergate hearings pop on the carpet has played into that, probably on some level, you know, so going back to Blue Origin I means you know that space has been such a big part of your life for so long and certainly every memory that has been induced in you and we lived in Houston those
marks not too far from our house I think you know that it's sci fi sci fi movies books you know me my passion for those things no doubt comes from you know you enjoy it so much but you know I look at this photo and you know I thought to myself well I've seen that face recently haha and is and this so is you standing on the landing pad yes in west texas the launch and landing site in west texas where a new shepherd vehicle for blue origin is launching and landing so what So if you could take a minute or two and help us understand what Blue Origin is. top - w Ell Blue Origin is the vision of Blue Origin is for millions of people to live and work in space and the bottom line is we have to drastically reduce the cost of access to space right now space travel is very expensive and the The reason why it is expensive is not difficult to understand. it's because we throw away the hardware after every use so we need reusable rocket vehicles and that's what Laura John is working on, we're working to make sure we don't have to throw the plane every time you fly. know that your vacation destination would definitely increase the cost of your vacation and that's what we need to do and we can do it's totally possible and I think it's important yes that's right that's what the booster looks like when it comes back down yeah on this cowboy hat it still has champagne stains that's right your head still has stains on it so you know i guess you know if we could a bunch of my favorite pictures this is the booster and pin and that's W est Texas is a beautiful country so if you could talk a little bit about you know you've been passionate about space your whole life well I mean no actually this is an important way my opinion is like Minh a credibly important work that needs to be done and done as quickly as possible and I have my own reasons why which I think can be explained quite simply and it's not for me it's not like there's a common kind of argument that's been around for a long time time it was actually first popularized by arthur c clarke so in all civilizations go space or die out and this is kind of a plan b argument you know when earth is destroyed in some way it will be we better make sure we don't have all our eggs in one basket and i hate the plan b argument. robotic professional envoy kisses everyplanet in this solar system believe me this is the best we know it's not even close you know my friends who say they want to move to mars or something i still like it why don't you go live in antarctica for a year first because it's a garden paradise compared to Mars and So really this is that this planet is so amazing that it's a jewel in our solar system and we have that if you take the baseline energy use on Earth and compound it into a small percentage per year for just a few few hundred years you have to cover the entire surface of the earth in solar cells so that's not going to happen so we have two choices we go out into space or we switch to a stasis civilization and personally i don't like it the idea of stasis that we have, is our grandchildren and your grandchildren will live in a much better world if they can continue to move forward and develop and use more energy and all the things that we have enjoyed for hundreds of years as a growth civilization I don't even really believe in stasis I think things are either
growingor shrinking I don't think so I think stasis is very unusual and in real life it doesn't exist I don't even think Liberty is consistent with the idea of stasis I mean if you have real stasis someone is going to have to tell you how many kids you can have how much energy you can use there will be all sorts of things that just aren't consistent with freedom but in space we have for all practical purposes unlimited resources, we could have a billion humans in the sewer system and it still wouldn't be overcrowded and so if you had a billion humans you would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and a thousand DaVincis and how cool would that be but we have to go into space and we have to going into space to save earth that's why this job is so important and we don't have forever to do it now we've grown as much as a civilization on earth we have to hurry and so I think the you know the really kind of a long time frame the most important The important work I'm doing is Blue Origin and pushing forward for humanity to settle in the solar system, so what kind of time frame are we talking about?
Well, the big vision, you know, billions of humans in the solar system, etc., that's what I mean. that's hundreds of years, but you know, and we can have in just a couple of decades, I think we can have much lower cost space travel and then we can start to really have a dynamic business explosion in space, you know you can really I don't have a lot of business in the space these days because the basic price of admission is too expensive. I mean doing anything, even something relatively small in space, is still very, very expensive. We need to lower the cost of admission so that thousands of entrepreneurs can have companies in space like we've seen on the internet right now it can't be two kids in a bedroom they can do Facebook but they can't do a space company it's not practical we want I want to make it practical, yeah, just so you know and you know that leads me to think about some of the conversations we've had.
This is another view of those mountains in West Texas, you know, sitting around that fire pit and some of the deeper conversations. for me, anyway, what we've had is on the topic of long-term thinking, yeah, which is something that you've really embraced and you know that you've brought to the businesses that you run and you know if you just talk a little bit, I don't think most people who are running businesses or know they're doing even starting a company like Blue Origin allow themselves to think centuries even visions for a vision of what they're creating or know Amazon I know you said that you know five to seven year time frames for the experiments you're running where does he talk to me about long term thinking? and your point of view on long-term thinking is a lever that allows you to do things that you couldn't or couldn't e We could conceive of doing it if you were thinking in the short term, so if you know that, that's why you know that I have a project where I am helping a group of people to build the 10,000 year clock. century and the cuckoo comes out once a millennium it's a big thing 500 feet tall inside a mountain right here inside one of those mountain ranges and ten thousand your watch is a symbol I don't think it's any good for the first hundred of years, but after a few years, once he's old, he'll start paying attention to the older symbols, and so, a few hundred years from now, I hope people think of that as a symbol for thought long-term.
I collaborated with someone here at this hearing and I said look I want you to solve world hunger and I want you to do it in five years, you would rightly turn down the opportunity, you would say, look, it's not possible, it's not practical, but if I said look I i want you to solve world hunger in a hun dred years that is a job you would take because it is a much more manageable problem, first you can create the conditions, you have time to create the conditions in which you can then solve the problem and that is one way very important to think about and I think it is and it works with everything I mean you have to back it up and find the right time horizon for what you're trying to do but you know at Amazon we probably do most of our things and we expect to get some results in sort of five six seven eight years but we find a lot of our other companies competing against us in various ways often they're trying to do things and you know two or three years and we can do things you know if you if you if everything has to work out in two or three years then that limits what you can do if you take a breather to say, okay , I'll be fine, if it takes seven years, suddenly he has a lot more opportunities than one of the things I want to change here is when when we're raising a glass around a fire and you usually do a toast the standard toast a standard toast that usually you start the night with a yawn it's to adventure and fellowship to adventure in fellowship and literally that's it he starts it's about every dinner right every dinner every night and you know it's interesting to me because I know that you're someone who pays attention to the words you use well you're careful with the words you use and those seem like very specific words so I was wondering if we could talk a little bit about why the adventure and why the com and as I was thinking about this, you know, it occurred to me that you've been having some flings, you know, throughout your life here, your nanny grandmother, yes. that's babysitter and you know when you were a kid you used to take road trips with Danny and Wally yeah on armed Caravan Club road trips you had 300 Airstream trailers here yeah all driving down the highway to together that we parked so before that they were big wagon wheel formations cool hipster yeah there was no avocado toast on this and and and you know me and you had the good fun opportunity to drive across the country yeah yeah and the defender there who was cool he was a amazing ride it was so exciting and we also spent three days horseback riding it was a 50 mile ride in west texas yeah every day is super fun my butt hurt yeah sorry for the quality like I said that this is not what i do so this is the best i could do here but i took this photo which is jeff sleeping on that walk down the trail it was cold this is that ring of yours you can see how im keeping that pillow away of me here is cu ando you know it's really cool to be a mammal you provide your own heat you provide your own body heat you keep the frost off your face i guess i guess you know all these adventures go down into a cave yeah rappel down that was so much fun. you were on that trip i was on that trip too you know but just so you know people have asked me this you know because they know we go on a lot of adventures together and they are a bit incredulous when i answered the question but they asked me you know if he is on his phone all the time?
Can he ever disconnect himself? and they're incredulous when I say, honestly, he's not on his phone that much. country and you know it's not that you didn't do the work but most of the time it was this and I see the same thing when you're with your kids and you know it's how I don't have a fraction of the responsibility that you do and I find I'm always wrestling with you you know my phone I'm just curious what kind of discipline or what kind of you know how do you compartmentalize the way I know I don't like it that much when I have dinner I have dinner either with friends or with my family and I like to I do like talking to the people I'm with I like doing whatever I'm doing I don't like multitasking it bothers me if I'm reading my email I really want to be reading my email when my mom tells a story about me at the Montessori School and then they couldn't get me to switch tasks so the teacher at the Montessori School would have to literally pick up my chair and just move me to the next station tasks so I don't know it's not like it's unintentional it's not cool I don't need discipline to not be checking my email for me it's very natural I love being present and whatever I'm doing it serial you know I'll spin around and then and you don't honestly know if something really important is going on someone will find me you know it's not like I have to check my texts every five minutes or something that's not that it's not a big deal and usually when they find you, it's
rarely to give you good news oh yeah no or if someone comes along and says they need to check their texts right now that's got to be bad news usually actually honestly you know it usually is a family thing it's like a medical thing or something but it's not me I think it's probably just a very personal decision I think some people are really good at multitasking so they can do two things, an arena you know i'm at a restaurant with my wife or something and we'll see a couple text messages but every time they show why they show that their phones and it looks like they're having a really nice date so no i'm sure there's nothing wrong with that it's just not how i'm wired i got it so you know back to you know the sense of adventure you know what.
Can you tell me a bit about the role that adventure plays in your life and do you know what it brings you? It's more than just a distraction. The adventure is one you can choose, we can all choose our life stories and it is the choices that define us, not our gifts. Everyone in this room has many gifts. I have many gifts. You can never be proud of your gifts because they are gifts given to you. tall or you can be very good at math or you can be extremely beautiful or handsome or you know that there are many gifts and you can only be proud of your choices because those are the things that you are that you are acting on and one of the most important choices that every one of us has and you know this as well as I do is that you can choose a life of ease and comfort or you can choose a life of service and adventure and when you're 80 which of those things do you think you'll be most proud of you'll be most proud to have chosen a life of service or adventure this you see in your firefighting job and everything else you do robin hood and so on and i feel like that's a you know to me adventure sucks orthhand's way of thinking about He got that, and I think one of the other things we've talked about when we're talking about adventure is that you know how to expose yourself to new things, right? and you know how to keep that childlike sense of wonder totally and you know, I know you know that this is important to you certainly in our personal lives, that's why we do all these fun things, but it also plays a big part in knowing how you approach people. businesses you are involved in if you want to be an inventor of any kind inventing a new customer service offering or a new product or anything that requires being an inventor because the world is so complicated you have to be a domain expert i want say somehow even if even if you're not at the beginning, you have to learn learn learn learn enough to become a domain expert, but the danger is that once you've become a domain expert, you can get caught up in that knowledge and therefore inventors have this paradox. abs Ability to have that thing you know 10,000 hours of practice and be a real expert in the domain and have that beginner's mind have that fresh look even though they know a lot about the domain and that's the key to inventing you have to have both and I think it's intentional I think we all have that inside of us and we all could do it but you have to be intentional about it you have to say yes I'm going to become an expert and I'm going to keep my beginner's mind but I know I want to say that this it's so important you're always you know it's a regular refrain even on amazon so far it's still the dayone so you know one of these so I guess the other half of that toast is you I know there is camaraderie yes right to adventure and camaraderie and again camaraderie is a very specific word you know?
Friendship is much more common so why did you like it traveling together down the road is a is a has more travel yes I'm in French so my friendship would be great it would be great to roar the ship capture friendship and travel that way together this is so this is down on down but there we are yeah there's our brother and there's McKenzie our brother in law Steve yeah man Danny no I'm great great trip that was it that was quite, you don't have to worry about checking your phone, no, no, no, radio. Signs there for you to know another adventure.
I guess an opportunity for adventure and a fun fellowship trip was this trip and you know we were at sea for 30 days young and we did this when you've been at sea for 30 days this seems like it's in focus but why not you know? Can you talk a bit about what we learned? Excuse me, by the way, where am I? The R game is very strong. Are you crushing me in the beard game? It doesn't even test the beard my beard thing doesn't work at all I have that shitty beard but th This is the recovery expedition.
We went and recovered the Apollo 11 Saturn V F1 engines from the bottom of the Atlantic under 14,000 feet of water. They had been resting there peacefully for over four decades and we made it. It was an amazing adventure the captain had 60 people on the boat including our mom Jackie and she was the only woman on the boat so there were 59 men and my mom and when I first got on the boat the captain came and found me and this is a big 300 foot boat with a moon pool and diving submersibles very high tech remote operated vehicles the captain came over a very nice norwegian guy and said we have never had a woman on the boat before and I Me I took the liberty of removing all the porn from the common areas and I just wanted to make sure it's okay for you and I said yeah that sounds good that's good.
I never found that stash, so we were successful in getting them back. engines and we're so where ar one of them is at the smithsonian and one of them is at the seattle museum of flight well i hope there's another five year old that meets them and inspired like you you know they're objects amazing engineering. I mean still today there probably isn't a rocket engine that's been more successful than the Saturn 5 f1 so you know one of the while I was putting this together and looking at all these pictures and you know thinking about the adventures we've been on. together and you know i again you know how much time and effort you put into amazon at the washington post and blue origin and you know i also know you are a devoted husband and loving father to your children you have a fantastic relationship
bezoshave many children we have four I have four my sister has three I have is you know how you do an envelope establish that work/life balance that everyone you meet talks about and thinks you have I mean you live a great life right ? leadership classes at Amazon for our most senior executives and I also teach or I don't teach but I also talk to interns across the spectrum and I get this work life balance question all the time from both ends of the spectrum and My opinion I just don't even like the phrase work-life balance.
I think it's misleading. I like the phrase work-life harmony because I know that if I have energy at work, I am happy at work and I feel like I am adding value. team whatever energizes you that makes me better at home makes me a better husband a better father and also if i'm happy at home makes me a better employee a better boss all things not about not about mostly that there may be critical periods where it's about the number of hours and the week but that's not that's not the real thing usually it's about do you have energy and is your work depriving you of energy or is your work generating energy for you and you know there are people everyone in this room notices you you fall into these two camps you are in a meeting and the person walks into the room some people walk into the meeting and add energy to the meeting other people walk into the meeting and the whole meeting just deflates and those people just drain energy from the meeting and you have to decide which of those types of people you're going to be you're going to add energy and the same at home and the same at home and it's a wheel it's a cycle it's a steering wheel is a circle is not a balance because of the balance that is why that metaphor is so dangerous because it implies that there is a strict compensation and you could be out of a job have all the time for your family in the world but really depressed and demoralized by your work situation and your family wouldn't want to be around you they would want you to take a vacation with them so it's not about the number of hours not mainly i guess if you went crazy with 100 hours a week or something yeah, maybe there are limits and probably, but I've never had a problem and I think it's because both sides of my life give me energy and that's what I would recommend, that's what I recommend to interns and executives, so we're out of time, I just want to say first of all thank you all for joining us around the proverbial campfire, it's not lost on me that I am incredibly, I am so glad to have the opportunity to have conversations like this. with you often and I appreciate those opportunities and there's only one more so thank you very much thank you all I guess there's just one more thing to say we should toast yes to adventure.
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