Editor’s note: this letter consists entirely (well almost entirely, say 98.19%) of authentic Jeff Bezos quotes and tweets.
When the world changes around you and when it changes against you—what used to be a tail wind is now a headwind—you have to lean into that and figure out what to do. Because complaining isn’t a strategy. I don’t want to be eighty years old and in a quiet moment of reflection, thinking back over my life and cataloging a bunch of major regrets. What’s dangerous is to not evolve. That’s approaching evil.
Projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we’ve far exceeded them. We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other. And she’s just getting better. Doing mail and putting final touches on this year’s annual shareholder letter. I pay attention to what she likes to wear. Sometimes I say, “What’s your such-and-such size?” and she says, “Why?” and I say, “None of your business!” It delights her. We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.
You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you. Time horizons matter. They matter a lot. I’m not the kind of person where women say, “Oh, look how great he is.” I’m kind of goofy. I do the dishes every night: I’m pretty convinced it’s the sexiest thing I do. Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful. I want someone who could get me out of a Third World prison. With Alexa, I won the lottery.
In the end, we are our choices. Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. I’m taking the less safe path to follow my passion, and I’m proud of that choice. You have to be willing to be misunderstood. It’s not an experiment if you know it’s going to work.
Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History. Though the labels might be different, we remain a family. If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new!
Always want more,