Why Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hates meetings with tight agendas

Jeff Bezos
Asa Mathat | Vox Media

When Jeff Bezos runs a meeting, there are strict rules. And one of them is not having a strict agenda.

At this year's Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, the Amazon CEO gave a glimpse of how he runs meetings.

"I make sure all my meetings do not have tight agendas," Bezos said Tuesday evening in an interview with The Verge's Executive Editor and columnist Walt Mossberg. "Tight agendas assume you know where you're going, which for a certain kind of meeting is right, [like] if you're doing your weekly business review and going through your metrics. But most meetings should be used for mild brainstorming."

"Thinking you know exactly where you're going is a lack of humility that doesn't let you invent," he continued.

For Bezos, ditching a strict plan encourages innovation.

"I like to wander. I like to go down blind alleys," he said.

This isn't the first time Bezos has spoken out about how meetings should be run. He's previously said he doesn't like PowerPoint.

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"PowerPoint presentations somehow give permission to gloss over ideas, flatten out any sense of relative importance, and ignore the interconnectedness of ideas," Bezos wrote in an email to employees in 2004.

He said he preferred people present their ideas in four-page memos, so they are better thought out.

And if you're meeting with Bezos, you better abide by thetwo pizza rule: He's said you shouldn't invite more people to a meeting than you can feed with two pizzas — no more than about five to eight people.

For the tech billionaire, productive meetings result in better ideas and, ultimately, a more fun workplace.

"I tap dance into work," Bezos told Mossberg. "I love my job."