Chamath Palihapitiya, the CEO of venture capital firm Social Capital, says he's a big fan of Bezos' letters because they serve as a reminder to keep a long-term view, while keeping things simple. Too many leaders, he notes, tend to be short-sighted and over-complicate the process of building a business, often leading to failure.
"Bezos is the smartest, longest long-term thinking public CEO out there," Palihapitiya said. "His letters are a strict reminder to stick to the basics and that you need to keep things simple, but long-term."
In this year's letter published Wednesday, Bezos again stressed the idea of long-term thinking, using an anecdote about a friend who visited a handstand coach who told her it would take six months to master the skill:
In the very first lesson, the coach gave her some wonderful advice. "Most people," he said, "think that if they work hard, they should be able to master a handstand in about two weeks. The reality is that it takes about six months of daily practice. If you think you should be able to do it in two weeks, you're just going to end up quitting." Unrealistic beliefs on scope – often hidden and undiscussed – kill high standards.