Cold-calling someone is stressful. Presumably it would be less so if you were Gwyneth Paltrow. But not if you're Paltrow cold-calling Jeff Bezos.
When asked about her mentors by The Wall Street Journal, Paltrow told the publication, "Oh sometimes I, like, cold call people," she told CNN's Poppy Harlow at the South by Southwest festival in Austin on Monday.
"They said, 'Well, has anyone not called you back?' And I said, 'Yes, Jeff Bezos.'"
When the world's richest person heard what Paltrow said, he made time to talk to her.
"I got an e-mail and the subject was 'Jeff Bezos.' And the sender was Jeff Bezos!" Paltrow, the founder of lifestyle brand Goop, said at SXSW.
"The body of the e-mail said, 'Hi there Gwyneth, The Wall Street Journal told me you wanna talk to me.'
"So, I wrote him back and then he wrote me," she told CNN at SXSW. "And then I said, 'I would die for the opportunity to sit down and ask you a bunch of questions' . . . and he never wrote me back.
"He's got a lot going on," she said.
If she had the chance to talk to Bezos, Paltrow said she would like to ask him about his willingness to charge into new markets. For example, the Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods has put Amazon into the grocery business and its purchase of PillPack puts the e-commerce behemoth in the healthcare arena.
"There are so many things I would want to ask him," Paltrow said. "But I guess fundamentally, like, he sort of gives himself license at every turn to go into every business and I would want to psychologically understand the why and the engine behind that. I am just fascinated by him."
Paltrow, 46, is not without business mentors.
There's the founder of Jet.com, Marc Lore, who became the CEO of Walmart e-commerce in the U.S. when Walmart bought his site in 2016. "He's an e-commerce wizard and so he is probably the person I reach out to most for specific questions," Paltrow said.
She also often talks with the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky. "He's been incredible too. He's just, the way that he thinks about business and marketing and culture. It's disruptive and it's exciting and he's full of energy and full of ideas," she said.
And the co-founders of Sweetgreen, Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru, and Jonathan Neman, talk with her "a lot," she said.
"[W]hen I can get ten minutes with him," Paltrow also picks the brain of Disney CEO Bob Iger. "He is my idol."
The best advice Iger has given Paltrow is to stay focused on the important stuff. "'Don't waste your time on anything that is not going to really move the needle,'" he told her, "and that really stayed with me," Paltrow said. "So I always run everything through that filter. And it doesn't mean it can't be a small thing, but it has to really ultimately move the needle."
As for Bezos, perhaps one day he could be more than a mentor for Paltrow: "Would I sell my company to Amazon? I mean, sure! Why not? " Paltrow said Monday.
A representative for Bezos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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