Jeff Bezos Became a Billionaire by Focusing on People

Jameson Steward
5 min readJul 23, 2021

5 fundamental ways Jeff Bezos built a customer-focused company

Jeff Bezos speaking in front of a backdrop of green plants
Seattle City Council from Seattle, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

A lot can happen in 20 years.

In the summer of 2000, Amazon’s stock price was around $30. Today, it’s well over $3,000.

A $10,000 investment into Amazon in the summer of 2000, would be worth around $1 million today.

Jeff Bezos’ net worth has skyrocketed.

Whatever Jeff Bezos did worked extraordinarily well.

What did he do? He built a company that focused on the customer.

Below are five lessons how to focus on people like Jeff Bezos.

The quotes come from Jeff Bezos’ interview with Charlie Rose during the summer of 2000.

Make the Customer the Star

Most companies give lip service to the customer being their focus. Their lips are as far as that message goes sometimes.

Not so with Jeff Bezos and Amazon.

“We want to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, so we think of ourselves as a customer company. We want our brand to be known for this abstract notion of starting with the customer and working backwards.”

His comment seems so simple and obvious to me — and yet, most entrepreneurs and companies end up losing sight of this idea. This is easy to say but not easy to do.

Amazon did this.

Think about how easy it is to buy something on Amazon with just one click — they have focused on us, the customer.

Do not underestimate how critical this point is to Amazon’s success.

Acquire Your Customers Sustainably

Can you sustain the way you are acquiring customers long-term? This was one way Jeff Bezos set Amazon apart from other internet companies during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“So in 1999, a lot of Internet companies used what I would say are unsustainable customer acquisition…

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