Customers can write e-mails directly to Bezos, who frequently responds to comments or complaints. Nadia Shouraboura, who until recently worked closely with Bezos on Amazon’s senior executive team, also called the “S-Team” at the company, remembers getting an e-mail from Bezos on a Friday night about a customer whose package showed up a day late.
“To me, it’s one case — one of a million. But if you think about it the way Jeff thinks about it, if we missed one package, we probably missed others,” Shouraboura said. “So that would be a big deal.”
Her entire team worked through the night trying to figure out what went wrong. It turned out to be a package going on a truck half a minute late. Bezos expected a detailed e-mail afterward on exactly what went wrong and how to prevent the same mistake from happening again.
“He’s very detailed, down to the lowest level of detail,” Shouraboura said.
Bezos can often come across as gregarious and intensely focused — some employees have described him as “unblinking.” His infamous loud cackle of a laugh is often what signals his presence in the company’s new gleaming and sprawling campus headquarters outside downtown Seattle.
He also has an unusual style of running meetings: Instead of having someone give a PowerPoint presentation in typical corporate fashion, Bezos has the presenter write a paper that can be no longer than six pages outlining his or her ideas
“Like seriously, if it’s 61
2, you don’t go,” Shouraboura said.
Such meetings begin with everyone reading the paper in silence — for as long as 40 minutes. Afterward, people start asking questions and sharing their opinions.
The idea is that reading the paper first allows the discussion to go deeper.
“I think if you’re not prepared, or if you haven’t done your homework, or you didn’t think it through, you’re not going to survive,” said Shouraboura, who ran the company’s global supply chain. If faced with an Amazon employee who didn’t prepare well enough for a meeting, Bezos might walk out of the meeting, yell or simply ask the person to write the paper again.
Bezos, who ranks 11th on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest individuals in the United States, with a net worth of $25.2 billion, has given little indication of his political leanings over the years. He has not been a heavy contributor to political campaigns, although he and his wife have regularly donated to the campaigns of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). In years past, they have given modest contributions to a handful of Republican and Democratic senators.