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USA Today this morning has an interview with CEO Jeff Bezos on the occasion of the company’s 10th birthday.

Among Bezos’ observations:

  • How – and why – Amazon grew: “It has gotten so much bigger, so much faster than I predicted 10 years ago — e-commerce has, and Amazon has. We didn't expect to build a company of this size 10 years ago…I think technology advanced faster than anticipated. In that whirlwind, a lot of companies didn't survive. The reason we have done well is because, even in that whirlwind, we kept heads-down focused on the customers. All the metrics that we can track about customers have improved every year.

  • Wall Street’s biggest misconception about Amazon: “I think one of the things people don't understand is we can build more shareholder value by lowering product prices than we can by trying to raise margins. It's a more patient approach, but we think it leads to a stronger, healthier company. It also serves customers much, much better.
    “We are dedicated to the notion of, year in and year out, lowering prices and getting more efficient so we can afford to do that.”

  • The future of e-commerce: “I think there'll be more change and opportunity in the next 10 years than over the last 10 years. Look at all the raw materials we use: computers, disk space and bandwidth. Every year, they get cheaper and more powerful. I love it that our raw materials keep getting cheaper and more plentiful. We have to say, ‘What kind of innovation can we layer on top of that, that will be meaningful for our customers?’

KC's View:
Notice that “the customer” is at the core of almost every sentence that Bezos utters. That’s more that just a rhetorical flourish – it reflects a consumer-centric approach to marketing that has allowed Amazon to survive and thrive even as naysayers predicted its demise (over and over and over).

We did a little checking, and found that our first order with Amazon was placed on March 17, 1997 – a little more than a year and a half after the company started. And we can say that while we know that not everyone has the same sentiments, we have never been disappointed by Not ever.

We remain both fans and believers.