Power Players

Jeff Bezos: This experience growing up 'really made a big impression on me'

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

"Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention," reads one of Amazon's famous core leadership principles delineated on its website.

This, one of the major tenets upon which Jeff Bezos built Amazon, is something he learned as a kid spending more than a dozen summers on working on his grandfather's ranch in Texas.

"I learned so much from my grandfather because he was – and I think this is true of many people in rural areas – very self-reliant [and] very resourceful," Bezos said during a fireside chat in India in January 14. "They can get things done on their own."

"That kind of self-reliance really made a big impression on me," Bezos said.

Bezos and his grandfather did everything from building fences to fixing equipment themselves.

His grandfather would even "suture up" the animals on the ranch with homemade needles. "He would take a piece of wire, heat it with a blowtorch to pound it until it's thin, drill a little hole in the end and sharpen it," Bezos said. "Some of the animals even survived – it was incredible."

The experience showed Bezos that "when things don't work, you have to back up and try again. Each time you back up and try again, you're using your resourcefulness, you're using self-reliance," Bezos said at a Summit conference in 2017. "You're trying to invent your way out of a box."

Those principles have served Bezos and Amazon well: on Monday, the company's stock price surpassed $3,000 for the first time, and Bezos, the richest man in the world, has a net worth of $178 billion, according to Bloomberg.

"It's that resourcefulness of trying new things, clearing things out and seeing what customers really want," he said in 2017. "It really pays off...."

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