February 3rd, 2021
This is my favorite part of Jeff Bezos’ goodbye letter to Amazon:
How did that happen? Invention. Invention is the root of our success.
We’ve done crazy things together, and then made them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalized recommendations, Prime’s insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more.
If you get it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. And that yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive.
“Invention” is also my favorite part about being an entrepreneur and starting businesses.
When you think of an “inventor”, you might think of someone who creates gizmos, or electric cars, or the light bulb.
Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:
invention - noun - a unique or novel device, method, composition or process.
I’m also an inventor. I invent features, processes, strategies, new business models, and new ideas.
One of Amazon’s mentioned inventions was “1-click check out”. That doesn’t sound like an invention!
But that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it was a new idea.
All that matters is they came up with the idea, experimented and executed, and eventually had success.
They probably had thousands of ideas that didn’t work out. That’s all part of being an inventor.
I have a new respect for Jeff Bezos after reading this email. Even though he’s the richest man, he’s still reminiscing about the cool, small, fun inventions that collectively built the Amazon empire.
A lot of people ask me questions about how I built Starter Story. “How did you do XYZ?”
My answer? We invented it. We went through the painful process of research, experimenting, executing, trial and error, failure, and learning from my mistakes.
Just like Amazon, we came up with new ideas and we turned them into reality.
I’m not sure if you can be successful as an entrepreneur without the ability to invent.
And even more importantly, inventing is the most fun part about being an entrepreneur, for me. If I didn’t get to invent, I’m not sure I’d still be here...
At Starter Story, we are inventing:
- An automated UGC interview process (2,500+ interviews)
- More transparency in entrepreneurship than mostly anywhere else
- An SEO machine and scalable backend (the ideas behind Lean SEO)
- The biggest database of business ideas in the world
- A new style of running a business with freelancers
- Tons of automations
- And more...
To you, these may sound silly and not that inventive. But for me, I obsess over these things.
Maybe you can show me some other people doing similar things. But what you don’t see is the nuance.
There is nobody else doing these things in the same way that we are, therefore, we invented them. We are inventors.
From now on, I might start calling myself an inventor.
Because it’s fucking awesome to be an inventor. This is why I do it. To create new valuable things out of nothing that people use.
That is the greatest feeling in starting a business - that you invented something new.