Jeff Bezos and Amazon's 10 Failed Attempts
Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, the world's largest e-commerce giant in 1994, started this venture in his garage in Seattle. Bezos, who previously worked in the financial sector on Wall Street, left his job for which he received a very good salary and devoted all of his time to Amazon.
In an interview he gave to Time magazine, Bezos said that he gave Amazon a 30% chance to be successful at that time, and that it was a relief to see this job as unsuccessful. Bezos, the richest person in the world today, has a net worth of 158 billion dollars. Amazon's value has exceeded $ 1 trillion according to 2019 data.
Even Jeff Bezos, who owns such an incredible fortune, has many failed attempts. So even Jeff Bezos is a person who has done a lot of work. Let's take a look at Jeff Bezos' failed attempts.
1. Pet.com and Kozmo.com
In 1999, Amazon bought half of Pet.com and invested $ 50 million in this pet supplies company. However, in 2002, pet.com went bankrupt.
Amazon also deposited $ 60 million in Kozmo.com. According to the New York Times, kozmo.com, known for delivering its orders in less than 1 hour, could survive for only a few years. However, the company continued its activities in 2018 with a new owner and a new model.
Jeff Bezos said in a statement to Business Insider:
“Thanks to my past failures, I made billions of dollars on Amazon. You will remember Pets.com and Kozmos.com. It was an experience like having root canal treatment without anesthesia. "
2. Amazon Destinations
A vacation and travel package purchasing site called Amazon Destinations was established in April 2015. However, the lifetime of this attempt was about 6 months.
Bezos did not explain the reasons for this situation to the media, but we can say that the main reason why Bezos did not see a future in this initiative because he is a person who likes to take risks.
In his speech at the 2010 Princeton University graduation ceremony, Bezos used the following words:
“I never regret trying and failing. The real regret is when I don't try an idea. "
3. Amazon Wallet
This initiative, named "Amazon Wallet", went into operation in June 2014. Amazon Wallet, which basically serves to organize gift cards and discount checks, was closed after 6 months. Because it was not possible to use this card as a credit or debit card. So it was a very dysfunctional card.
Bezos did not experience much stress from this situation, as he knows very well that business life is full of failures and that every failure brings one closer to success.
4. Amazon Fire Phone
In 2014, Amazon introduced the Amazon Fire Phone, the smartphone of its own production, but the price of the phone dropped from $ 199 to 99 cents within 2 months. So the phone was not even a dollar.
This initiative caused a loss of 170 million dollars to Bezos.
"I think if you see this as a major failure, let me warn you: we are working on bigger failures right now."
5. Books Deleted From Kindle
In 2009, Amazon deleted some books from its Kindle. Namely, the digital copy of George Orwell's novels 1984 and Animal Farm was deleted from the Kindle of the purchasers that were not approved by Amazon.
This situation caused censorship-focused discussions and the company was not able to manage the process very well.
Later, Bezos noticed his mistake and apologized to the public.
“We've developed a terrible and stupid solution to this problem. It was against our principles as Amazon. Unfortunately, people are very right about the criticisms we receive. We will learn from this mistake and act more in line with our mission from now on. "
6. Amazon Local Register
It was launched as a rival to startups such as Amazon Local Register, Paypal and Square, which basically served as a pos device, but it fell far behind the competition.
Amazon stopped selling this device in October 2015, and the program ended in February 2016. Bezos did not make a statement about this, but we can easily say that he wanted to try his luck at least once in mobile payment.
“When companies stop experimenting and don't learn from their mistakes, they end up in a hopeless spot. However, companies that try new things and do small experiments will survive throughout the process. "
7. Amazon Auctions and zShops
Amazon Auctions, which has an auction-style shopping system, also did not last long.
“We founded Amazon Auctions but only 7 people used it, including me. Then we turned it into zShops. Again, nobody showed any interest. "
Bezos and his team used the lessons they learned from Amazon Auctions and zShops to improve Amazon.com. In the report of the end of 2017, it is stated that more than 50% of the products sold for the first time in the history of Amazon.com were offered by individual sellers. In other words, Amazon.com has become an environment where people who wish, in any case, can also sell.
Amazon TestDrive was introduced in March 2011. Accordingly, people would have the opportunity to test a mobile application before purchasing it. However, this initiative was terminated in 2015 due to the high number of free applications and low demand.
Bezos did not have a statement about this situation, but the following words he said in 1997 beautifully summarize his relationship with failure:
“We make all the necessary measurements for our programs and investments to be effective. We cling more tightly to our best working initiatives by eliminating the programs that do not provide the necessary recycling.
In 2007, Amazon introduced Askville.com. Askville, an information sharing site where people can ask questions and write answers, had a huge information archive, but this was not enough for him to continue his activity and the site was closed in 2013.
Bezos does not view this attempt as a failure because he thinks they have benefited from this site.
“We never regret something we failed. I think all the things you regret at the age of 80 will be things you don't do. "
10. Amazon WebPay
In 2009, the desktop-based online payment service Amazon WebPay was introduced and this service was terminated in 2014.
Bezos thinks failure is part of the Amazon brand, and he cares about failure in corporate culture. In a letter to shareholders in 2015, Jeff Bezos says:
“The Amazon was slowly created by people and events. This includes successes and failures that we care about in corporate culture. "