Got a chance to read the SEC filing made by Amazon, with Jeff Bezos’ annual letter to the shareholders attached in it.

It is a very well thought out letter. The humble representation of hard facts, especially the four points for high standards is remarkable . Helped me learn something new today.

The statement on high standards given in the letter was:

“the four elements of high standards as we see it: they are teachable, they are domain specific, you must recognize them, and you must explicitly coach realistic scope.”

  1. Teachable: Jeff Bezos says that high standards can be taught.
  2. Domain Specific: High standards in one domain does not automatically mean you will also have high standards in other domains. The good news is, they can be learnt.
  3. Recognise: This is very important as it is not possible to go after high standards, if we do not recognise what they are.
  4. Realistic Scope: This is the most important reason why many organisations fail in reaching high standards, as they usually set a unrealistic time frame to achieve high standards.

So if you are planning to introduce high standards in your organisation, it is very important that you recognise what they are for your domain, set realistic scope for accomplishing it and teach people to go after it.

I also liked the fact that he also attached the 1997 letter. One sentence in it sounds funny when read at this point in time : We established long-term relationships with many important strategic partners, including America Online, Yahoo!, Excite, Netscape, GeoCities, AltaVista, @Home, and Prodigy. All those “important strategic partners” are insignificant at this point in time 🙂 .

If you run an organisation or intend to build one that you intend to focus on being remarkable, I highly recommend you read this letter as there are many valuable lessons to be learnt from this one. Thank you Jeff Bezos for this.

The full letter is available at