August 21: An interview with Jeff Wilke

A look at how failing big can lead to some of the greatest successes.

Source: Wall Street Journal
Published: October 2017

An interview with Jeff Wilke

Question: Amazon encourages employees to fail big. Tell us about a big, fall-on-your-face failure.

Answer: When we were deciding whether to do Kindle, Jeff Bezos presented his idea to Amazon’s board of directors. I thought that we should not do it because we were a software company that did not know anything about hardware. At the time, Jeff Bezos said it is the right thing to do for customers. I disagreed and committed, and I’m very glad I did.

Question: What would you say to people who say that Amazon is too big?

Answer: I think there’s a big difference between horizontally breadth and vertical depth. Across our businesses we face incredible competition. We think our job is to keep inventing for customers.

How he works:

  • How many unread emails are in your inbox? Probably 70.

  • The one trait you look for in a hire is? Competence.

  • What is your favorite email list? Fact of the Day 1 (… okay we may have added this one. #aspirational)


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