I came across a more or less generic interview with Jeff Bezos, the founder of “amazon,” a few days ago. It took place in May this year; they chat about management questions, how to run a business, this and that, etc.

But at one point he uses the I-words: impossible and inconceivable.

It is impossible for me to imagine a scenario, where ten years from now a customer comes to me and says, “Jeff, I love amazon; I just wish you delivered a little more slowly.” This is so inconceivable, …

Here’s the link to the quote in the youtube video, jumping right ahead. The context is that the “leader” of a business should “identify” 2 or 3 “big ideas,” and “enforce great execution against these big ideas.” Here, since this scenario is so “impossible” it is easy to dedicate a lot of energy to working on fast delivery. At some other point in the interview he enumerates what he calls the big ideas at amazon, the “consumer business”: low prices, fast delivery, and vast selection. (On the other hand, he is quoted with a different set of 3 big ideas, as well.)

Such a strong conviction and judgement about what is not possible is not common in my world. I almost feel like I go out of my way to avoid talking like that, and so do my friends and colleagues and people I hang out with.

So this morning scenarios popped into my head, of what he deems impossible:

  1. Let’s say you’re at the other end of the world, and don’t want the delivery to happen until you have returned home. Then fast delivery would be undesirable.
  2. Or: your house is full, and that couch you are ordering will not fit until next week, you’re not ready till then.

So in these two cases (or call them “scenarios”), you would like amazon to deliver a bit more slowly.

Surely you can think of other scenarios?!

(Disclaimer: I don’t do any shopping at amazon, and encourage you to avoid them as well. No brown boxes in our house! I’m actually astounded how excited people are about them. You can find a few reasons starting from these search results for boycott amazon from duckduckgo.com)