The core function of a business leader is to develop and convey a vision of the organization. He should also inspire and empower the workforce achieve the business objectives. Nonetheless, the leader should contribute to the growth and development of the industry and society. The higher the self-esteem of a person, the more likely that he or she can achieve such goals effectively. As a result, the leaders must acknowledge their characters to business performance. They must understand operational dynamics such as communication, risk, and goal setting. Effective communication skills are essential at every level of the business. Secondly, a leader must also know how to assess risk making practical decisions. Thirdly, the team depends on the leader to direct actions and coordinate the process for result. Even though a manager can learn some of the skills, life experiences and personality traits can also shape an individual to be a great leader.
Early Life and Career
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1964, Jeffrey Bezos is a renowned business leader in the world of e-commerce. During the time, his mother was a teenager, and her marriage did not last for more than a year. When Jeffrey was four, she remarried to Mike Bezos. Mike was an immigrant from Cuba, where he escaped at the age of 15 working his way to the University of Albuquerque. The family moved to Houston, where Mike Bezos became an engineer at Exxon. However, Jeffrey spent most of the time at his grandfather’s ranch in Cotulla. His grandfather was a regional director for Atomic Energy Commission in Albuquerque (Rosa Parks Bibliography, 2010).
Since his formative years, Jeffery had an interest in mechanics. For example, even as a toddler he played with tools such as screwdriver dismantling items. He also develops an interest towards science. For example, he constructed an electronic alarm for his room and turned his parents’ garage into a laboratory to conduct projects. The family later moved to Miami where he joined high school. Jeffery developed an interest for computers and joined Princeton University and graduated with a degree in computer science. He found employment in Wall Street, where there was a high demand for such skills. During the time, he worked for Fitel, turning down offers from Intel among other companies (Krishnamurthy, 2002). Fitel was a start-up dealing with network development for Bankers Trust. At the company, he rose to a vice president. He also spearheaded a project developing applications for the stock market at D.E. Shaw (Rosa Parks Bibliography, 2010).
In early 1990’s, Jeffrey developed interest towards the Internet. Prior to that, the Internet was only used by the Defense Department to connect its computers during an emergency. However, over the years, the academia and the government adopted it to enhance the exchange of information. Jeffery’s idea was to use the Internet for commercial purposes. He reviewed mail order business and began to devise a mechanism to conduct the operations over the Internet. He realized that there were no mail-order catalogs for books because of their size limitations. He knew there was a market gap for the business where he could share a database with limitless number of clients (Krishnamurthy, 2002).
Jeffery traveled to Los Angeles to attend the American Booksellers’ Convention to learn about the book business. He found out that major booksellers had an electronic list of their inventory. As a result, he knew that all he needed was to develop a web portal where customers would search and place orders for delivery. Jeffery’s colleagues did not embrace the idea. As a result, he decided to venture alone (Stone, 2011). He later flew to Texas in search of the bookseller Ingram and a pool of computer skills for the business. He established an office where, along with a few personnel, he developed the software. He expanded into a two-bedroomed house, interconnecting the rooms with an extension cords to the garage. He also developed a Sun micro-station and requested colleagues to test, and fortunately it worked across different computers. He opened the website, and through referrals it had sales of more than $20 000 a week. The sales were from all the state and 45 different countries (Krishnamurthy, 2002).
Jeffery named the company Amazon.com which was publicly traded in 1997. However, analysts were skeptic about the business model. For example, they questioned the prospects of the business when traditional retailers launched own sites. However, the business grew more than anticipated. For example, in two years, the shares traded higher than those of his two competitors combined. Amazon later agreed with Boarder to handle the growing Internet traffic. During the negotiation, Jeffery told Amazon’s shareholders that there was only a 30% chance for the deal to succeed. They signed for a $300000 deal, which was s significant portion of their savings (Krishnamurthy, 2002).
Amazon.com diversified towards the end of 1990’s. It introduced CDs and videos in 1998, and later clothes, electronics, toys among others through retail partnerships. An important move was when it introduced Kindle in 2007. It is a handheld digital book for downloads. Secondly, it invested in Blue Original. It is an aerospace company that develops technologies for space travel. Its sales grew from $510000 to $17 billion between 1995 and 2011. It also developed the Kindle technology into the Kindle Fire and Fire HD in 2011 for tablets hence tapping into a new-generation customer. Such moves were successful since the company already incurred the fixed cost of developing the e-commerce sites. As a result, expanding into other products categories allowed the company to spread the fixed cost to a large pool of transactions leading to greater returns (Rosa Parks Bibliography, 2010; Stone, 2011).
Jeffery chose Seattle because of the large pool of technical skills and close to a large book wholesaler. Secondly, the sale tax law for online retailers depends on the state of the company’s residence. As a result, the prices would increase depending on the transactions, which is not good for business. Therefore, it was ideal to locate in a small state and be uncompetitive for a small number of transactions. Thirdly, he was one of the few people to understand the integration of technology and retail. For example, he knew that physical location consumed much of the business expenditure, and the price was regularly appreciated. On the other hand, technology gets cheaper every year and fast. Fourthly, he wanted a customer-centric company, where they would buy anything. He knew that the Internet would provide a platform to develop relationships with customers, get real-time feedback and observe the behavior over time (Krishnamurthy, 2002).
Amazon was a pioneer in innovating e-commerce models. For example, it recognized the need to reduce transaction burden on customers. As a result, it developed “one-cling shopping” where it would use past customers’ information to reduce transaction time and cost. Additionally, it uses collaborate filtering and other techniques to recommend items to users. It also pioneered “product review” where customers can analyze various products before purchasing. Customers can also rate such reviews against the product (Krishnamurthy, 2002).
Accomplishments and Awards
Jeffrey is a visionary leader. He not only kept his company competitive but also profitable. Times magazine named him 1999’s Man of the Year. In the 2008, he was among the America’s best leaders published by U.S. News & World Report. The article noted Amazon’s success through risky ventures. The same year, Carnegie Mellon University awarded him with an honorary doctorate. Bezos also attended the prestigious Bilderberg Group forum of 2011. The conference hosted120 guests from Western Europe and Northern America, with participants including presidents, kings and queens, MNC CEOs, military commanders among other influential positions. The same years, Time magazine published his achievement on the “People Who Mattered.” Forbes also ranked Bezos number 40 on the “World Most Powerful List,” and 13 on “The Richest People in America List (Rosa Parks Bibliography, 2010; Lac, n.d.).
Visionary leaders develop and convey an image of the organization and motivate followers to achieve the objectives. They must acknowledge the impact of their character to business performance. For example, Jeffrey Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, overcame all odds in life to become one of the most influential leaders of the time. Even though he did not have adequate capital star-big, he developed intuitive ideas to scale his business. For example, he started from a garage and later partnered with other experts to build a multinational company. The leader never stopped to generate innovative ideas that would challenge competitors.
Todays, Amazon’s share value is bigger than that of competitors and has diversified into various lines of business. It enabled the company to minimize business risk and also tap into different markets. Bezos won prestigious awards from various quarters rustling from his leadership skills and personality.