Weirdness and the Empty Chair – The 200 words project

Many entrepreneurs who were attempting to create the next big telecommunication startup in the past decade brought out ideas to simplify international calling. But, as technology analyst Ben Evans points out, we tend to over-estimate how many people know enough people (or any people) in another country – outside very specific groups such as immigrants. That violates the first rule of marketing – you are weird. Don’t assume your customers are like you.

Once we get that, how do we make sure we really understand our customer and keep them top of mind? Jeff Bezos offers an interesting approach.

Even during the fledgling days of Amazon, Jeff Bezos worked hard to establish the philosophy of a company that obsesses over their customers.  An overwhelming figure that used to always set the tone of his meetings was “the empty chair.” Bezos brought an empty chair into meetings and informed his top executives that they should consider that seat occupied by their customer, “the most important person in the room.” Throughout these meetings, a different weight was held on all decisions as the invisible but clear presence of the customer was always accounted for.

“We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.” | Jeff Bezos


Source and thanks to: The Everything Store by Brad Stone, Ben Evans’ blog, Prof Moran Cerf @ Kellogg

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