Jeff Bezos, Amazon and the Next 10 years
In November 2012, at a ReInvent fireside chat, Jeff Bezos said something very insightful.
“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years? And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one.
I almost never get the question: What’s not going to change in the next 10 years? And I submit to you that the second question is actually the more important of the two – because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time…
In our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, “Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher or I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible.
And so, the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put in today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
Our industry /profession is very different from the pure retail business of low prices and faster delivery. There is an audience that would just want this, but as I wrote in the previous Nano, we are in the Expertise Business. We are not in the Transaction Business; We are in the Transformation Business. We are not in the Investment Management Business; We are in the Investor Construction and Management Business. In fact, we are not in the Finance Business. We are in the Personal Business. Like I have said several times before, “Personal Finance is more about Personal than it is about Finance.” So, the first thing to understand is the Business that we are in.
Coming back to our industry/ profession, “what’s not going to change in the next 10 years?”
Here are a few things that I believe will not change over the next 10 years:
- A huge section of the population (millions of people – bigger than most countries) will continue to need the care and counsel of a real financial professional.
- They will need guidance on their financial lives and help with many of the transitions that they are likely to go through – living longer, retirement, birth, death, changing careers, and 55+ other ones.
- They will need someone to come between them and their costly mistakes. The chances of expensive behavioural mistakes happening has gone up substantially with the convergence of entertainment, social media, trading, and gambling.
- They will continue to need a process to make sound financial decisions.
- Complexity will increase and with this give rise to even more uncertainty. There will be a need to have someone who will make things simple.
- They will want to maintain their lifestyle or better it. Even if they might not want to upgrade it, no one will truly want to downgrade it either.
- They will have a strong desire for financial independence. They will never ever want to worry about money.
- Finally, this is one industry where people run away when things are on sale. Can you imagine someone running away from the store because the car is marked down by 50%? Chances are you might say “Give me 2.” This is the only industry where people flee when things are on Sale. Thus, there will be a need for professionals to help people navigate through such times and to display wise behaviour.
There are many more things that will not change but the above list is comprehensive enough to get your creative juices going.
We have focused on building a world class client experience simply based on these fundamental truths that are going to remain stable for a long period of time.
What about you? How are you looking at the Future?