Was reading the post “Jeff Bezos Owns the Web in More Ways Than You Think” on Wired Magazine today. One comment by Jeff Bezos really stands out for me:
Levy: You’ve also given $42 million to the Long Now Foundation for the development of a giant clock designed to last for 10,000 years. Does that project relate at all to what you’re doing at Amazon?
Bezos: It does fit into my view. Our first shareholder letter, in 1997, was entitled, “It’s all about the long term.” If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue. At Amazon we like things to work in five to seven years. We’re willing to plant seeds, let them grow—and we’re very stubborn. We say we’re stubborn on vision and flexible on details.
In these days of booming and lean startups in the internet tech industry, there are only handful of companies that think about long term, 2 to 5 years in to the future. Clearly, Amazon is one of them.