In a Nutshell: Amazon is one of the most successful companies on the planet. Former executive Bill Carr, author of the new book, Working Backwards, shares the insights, stories, and secrets that propelled Amazon to the top. We discuss how to translate them to your business.

Guest: Bill Carr joined Amazon in 1999 and spent more than 15 years with the company. As Vice President of Digital Media, Bill launched and managed the company’s global digital music and video businesses, including Amazon Music, Prime Video, and Amazon Studios.


My Key Takeaways:

  1. Codify your leadership principles and use them to run your business. Amazon has 14 leadership principles that have become the bedrock for how Amazon runs as a company, how decisions get made and measured, and how new hires are assessed.
  2. Get better results by working backwards. “Working backwards is a systematic way to vet ideas and create new products. Its key tenet is to start by defining the customer experience, then iteratively work backwards from that point until the team achieves clarity of thought around what to build. Its principle tool is a written narrative called the PR/FAQ, short for press release/frequently asked questions.”
  3. Think big. Think big requires you to think really long-term, look out into the future and have a lot of courage to step off the cliff, and go chase that big dream. In Amazon’s case, that meant starting their own movie studio instead of buying shows from other producers.

Also Learn:

  1. How the “bar raiser” process ensures a virtuous circle in improving the quality of Amazon’s hires year after year.
  2. Why every founder needs to understand that everything that is important in the company can and should be distilled to a scalable, repeatable process.
  3. The importance of the business planning process and the reason why Amazon had 452 major goals in 2010.

Complementary Episode: Michael Nathanson is the CEO of Colony Capital, a multi-billion RIA firm. He shares some of his leadership strategies for running a fast-growing company. Listen/read here.

Resources Featured In This Episode

Values Clarification Toolkit Click here to download this FREE tool and start living your values.