29 September, 2014

Amazing India energizes me: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

If there's anything that energizes Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, it's his trademark loud laugh. Used variously to galvanize employees or send them a tough message, the laugh defines the confidence Bezos brings to his e-commerce business.

But something galvanizes him even more. "My first visit to India five years ago, which included Varanasi, left me energetic and energized," says Bezos. "Amazon is little over a year old in India. But the local team here has blown past the initial set of goals." To make his business intentions in India clear, Bezos put up a maverick show in Bangalore on Sunday: he was on top of a truck flashing a big $2-billion cheque and an even bigger smile. "Amazon has unveiled a $2-billion investment in the country, we'll work to better what Indians love most in shopping — vast selection, competitive pricing and fast delivery."

Despite the truck theatrics, Bezos does not hide his intent. His conversations were loaded with "customercentric", a term he mentioned at least 30 times in our interview. Bezos's sole principle: "We stay focused on the customer, not the competition. It's the customer who pays us, not our rivals."

If he's unfazed by competition, he's unfazed by policy too — at least for now. "Every country has its unique set of rules, and it's our job to adapt to them," Bezos said, responding to India's rules on FDI in e-commerce.

"So, we are currently focused on bringing an incredibly large number of (local) small and medium enterprises online. That's a big shift."

After many laughs, it's time for Bezos wit. Asked about his visit to India, particularly New Delhi, at a time when the Prime Minister is in the US, Bezos quipped: "We are doing a balancing act. The world is in balance now."

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