- Get Big Fast - Book Summary


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Book Summary on: Big Fast
Robert Spector

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  1. 1. Book Summary on: Big Fast -Robert Spector
  2. 2. Chapter 1: Who is Jeffrey Bezos?  Jeffery Bezos was born in New Mexico on January 12,1964.  Summer internship at Exxon Mobil and IBM.  He graduated in 1986 and was offered a job by Intel and various other companies but he ended up working for a telecommunication company named ‘Fitel’ as Manager of Administration.  In less than a year he went on to become associate director of technology and business development who than launched “Equinet”- a network that connects investor and brokers accross national boundaries.
  3. 3.  He displayed the evidence of success at an early age.  He was focused, adolescent, wilful and confident. Takeaway:  Focus on the task at hand.  Understand that heir is no problem without solution.  Think long term  View the inevitable obstacles as nothing more than opportunities.
  4. 4. Chapter2:I’ll Take Manhattan  In April 1988, at the age of 26 he went on to become the youngest Vice president of Bankers Trust Company.  By 1980, he came in contact with David Shaw the man who had created the $28 million (capital) company which was the most sophisticated firm on wall street.  Here he learned how a creative company is managed by a charismatic, iconoclastic leader who succeeds in his chosen field.  In 1993, he married Mackenzie Tuttle, a research associate at D.E Shaw & Co.
  5. 5.  With the Internet trying to establish its foot in early 90’s he was assigned the task the of analyzing the most profitable internet business possibilities.  He was astonished to see that the Web usage has a growth rate of 2300 % / year and made a list of 20 products that could be profitably sold on internet.  During this analysis he got the concept of selling books on internet.
  6. 6. Takeaway:  Be Extraordinarily selective in hiring and hire those people who are open, creative and able to think for themselves.  Find a business where entry barriers are low.  Offer product/service that is easily understandable.  “Follow your heart” . If you feel you will regret one day by not taking the chance, then take that chance .  Bezos calls it as ‘Regret Minimization’.  “I knew that if i had tried and failed, I would regret that”
  7. 7. Chapter 3: Seattle  ‘A sense of urgency becomes your most valuable asset.’  The book industry was large yet fragmented and there were not few dominant publishers with sufficient leverage to freeze out a new distributor (more than 3 million titles are in print).  Changes were already occurring with establishment of discounters (Crown books) and superstores (Barnes).  Online book store would be a competitive advantage which would serve the preferences of the customer and buy books on sale return basis from distributor and keep in the warehouse and selling with ‘satisfaction guaranteed’.
  8. 8.  Mail order industry was small but growing gradually.  By 1992 there were just two companies who were selling book over the internet and the process is just like buying from a physical store. Takeaway:  Be bold in your decision making.  Learn the basics of an industry.  Hire what you don't know.  Map out strategy, but be prepared to scrap it all if something more efficient comes along.
  9. 9. Chapter 4: Garage in, Garage out  His wife supported him and learnt ‘Peachtree’ a PC accounting software that helps in tracking revenue and expenses for a small business.  They also used ‘Perl’ that helped in formatting the text and making it look dirty work attractive.  Gathering database helped them selling books over the internet.  Kaphan and Barton-Davis were their database manager who looked after the database to meet customer requirement.  During first 6 months he himself funded the operations.
  10. 10. Takeaway:  Fully understand the available technology.  Tailor that technology to your own needs.  Create your own software if you can’t buy it off the shelf.  Take advantages of the availability of open-source software.  As you are strategizing , consider every `what if?’ scenario , so you will be able to make adjustments, when necessary.  Constantly look to the future to figure out what’s next.
  11. 11. Chapter 5:Out of launch  During late spring of 1995 the company began beta testing of the website with the help of several friends.  The software they had for managing the inventory was very effective as it helped maintaining little inventory as inventory holding cost money.  Out of the titles that it carried, 300,000 were discounted by 10%.  Amazon’s prices were competitive with deep discounts benificial for both company and customers.  It also had 15 days return back policy.
  12. 12.  UPS and Airborne helped them tracking customer delivery which reputed Amazon as a customer service oriented company.  All furniture required for office was bought from an auction or garage sales to keep overheads low. Takeaway:  Keep your website simple and have a beta testing.  Create community customers and wonderful customer experience.  Make your customer feel loyal and keep overheads low.
  13. 13. Chapter 6: Get Big Fast  He was ready to even wait for 5 years for the company to break even and what additional revenue was realized was ploughed back into the business.  They only had to reach the customers through their central website as the infrastructure was already there in form of PC’s, Internet etc.  In 1996, Ramanan Raghuvendran who was a senior associate at General Atlantic partners helped them to finance the business against the equity but it took a lot of pain to convince the company as it was a late stage investing company.
  14. 14.  $8 Million funding was nothing as compared to what people do it today and these was all that they faced as a part of overlooking the problems of ‘Early adopters’. Takeaway:  Be ready to loose some money if u believe in the project.  Find ways to improve the business model.  The personal charisma of the entrepreneur is sometimes more important than idea.  Keep open line of communication with the investors.  “Get Big Fast”
  15. 15. Chapter7: Raise the Bar  ‘Take my assets-but leave me my organization and in five years I'll have it all back’ – Alfred Sloan.  Barton and kaphan feared that they will be able to attaract the type of employees Bezos wanted who should be intense, hardworking and smart.  Bezos’s classmate David Risher went on to become senior vice president on Amazon in early 1997.  Bezos personally interviewed the employees to make sure he gets the best of employees in his organization.  It is very important to know what a brand promises to its customers.
  16. 16.  He believed that an entrepreneur starts his company with an idea of what he wants the culture to be, and then the early employees carry the torch of what that culture represents.  All the major recruitment took place between 1996-1997. Takeaway:  Dont settle for less, hire right and motivated employees.  Begin early on to establish the brand.  Leader is the soul of the corporation.  Sharpen communication skills to motivate employees.  Employees are the mirror of your corporate culture.
  17. 17. Chapter8: ‘Anal-Retentive’ about customer service  Word of mouth is better than online publicity.  ‘The Internet is this big, huge hurricane’.  Greeting the customers when they log into the website, making text and the website look more attractive and customer friendly.  In the beginning the shipping time was four days which was planned to reduce to 24 hours as customers weren't ready to wait for more than 2 days.  Soon there was alteration in the business model and the top 250 books were bulked in the warehouse.
  18. 18.  The ordering process was made simple for better customer experience.  The customer service department was backbone of Amazon who consisted of bright and educated men and women with soft communication skills.  Customer feedback was given importance and changes were made accordingly to suit the customer needs and meet them effectively. Takeaway:  Commit 100% to customer service and save their time and money.  Invest maximum in creating better customer experience.  Make ordering as easy as possible and listen to your customers.
  19. 19. Chapter9: Toast of the town...or Amazon.toast?  In 1997, the company felt the need of launching the IPO for its expansion with the help of covey who took the proposal to Goldman Sachs.  DMG was selected to be the lead manager for IPO.  The main aim behind raising funds was to increased customer experience and faster growth.  The war started heating up and began offering 30% off on Hardcover's and 20% on paperbacks.  Further Amazon surpassed the discount offered by Barnes and noble.
  20. 20.  In august, Amazon filled a lawsuit for unfair competition on Barnes and Noble for not charging sales tax to reduce the cost.  The law suit was settled by October in a neutral situation.  Publishers soon realized that Amazon returned on 4% books they bought as compared to 30% by the local players. Takeaway:  Always brace yourself for competition and be ready to strike back.  Fight the price war if you have got financial ammunitions.  Use major portion of investment to help build global brand.  Continually add new and fresh features.
  21. 21. Chapter 10: Poster child for Internet Commerce  Fewer the people more confident the CEO is.  16th may 1996 was the rising sun in the life of Bezos and Amazon as its story was published in Wall Street Journal.  In 1998, he expanded into European market with the help of Bertelsmann AG, German media colossus.  By 1999, he was getting the publicity of the level of Bill Gates, Jack Welsh and Michael Dell.  European expansion was logical and soon Amazon was able to ship books into 160 countries.
  22. 22.  On 10th June 1997, the diversified into Music selling by offering 1,30,000 titles.  The Christmas of 1998 will be remembered as the first true Internet Christmas making US retail sales exceeding $3.5 billion ( almost 44% of yearly sales). Takeaway:  Great leaders and great communicators and great recruiters.  Public relations is a valuable tool-learn to use it.  is a story of one’s vision, intelligence, technology, money, timing and most of all the personality.  Expand and diversify products and territory.
  23. 23. Chapter 11: Get Bigger Faster  Throughout 1999, the was barely a day when there wasnt any mention of Amazon in The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal.  One strategy that Bezos learnt from Microsoft was to buy what he couldn't create.  Soon, Amazon was up with its online mall by the name ‘zShops’.  In 1998, Amazon was accused to be asking for additional money from publishers to put their titles on website for sale but with the ‘customer centric image’ it was able to flee away the charges by The New York Times.
  24. 24.  The brand was so famous that in September 1999, the brand started selling bags with its own logo.  By now, Bezos was so famous that he was compared with the likes of Bill Gates and Jack Welsh. Takeaway:  Get Bigger faster to stay ahead of the competition.  Buy what you cant create internally.  When you get a bad news kill it quickly.  Bring the type of management that can take you to the next level.  ‘Work Hard, Have Fun and Make History’
  25. 25. Thank You