#Innovation: The Jeff Bezos Recipe for Disruption

Image representing Jeff Bezos as depicted in C...

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Don’t want to be Kodak? Be willing to murder your business.

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Jeff Bezos may be a visionary, but when it comes to his business, it seems he also has a bit of a murderous streak. He won’t let competitors beat him, even if it means killing his core business.

Brad Stone’s new book, The Everything Store, describes how Bezos developed this strategy after reading another book called The Innovator’s Dilemma by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen. In it, the professor explained why big companies fail: They avoid disruptive change even though it might save them. “Sears, for example, failed to move from department stores to discount retailing,” writes Stone. “IBM couldn’t shift from mainframe to minicomputers.”

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One day, Bezos marched into Steve Kessel’s office and gave an order: “I want you to proceed as if your goal is to put everyone selling physical books out of a job,” he said. Kessel’s role up until then had been assuaging book publishers so that they’d feel comfortable selling their used books on Amazon. Now those days were over.

It was obvious to Bezos that if Amazon didn’t go digital, then Apple and Google would. Already, Apple had introduced the iPod, which was upending the music business. “We didn’t want to be Kodak,” said Amazon’s senior vice president Diego Piacentini in a speech at Stanfords Graduate School of Business years later. Chimed in director John Doerr: “We were freaking out over what the iPod had done to Amazon’s music business. We feared that there would be another kind of device from Apple or someone else that would go after the core business: books.”

Read more via The Jeff Bezos Recipe for Disruption | Inc.com.

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Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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