Wandering is an essential counter-balance to efficiency

Got that from Amazon’s 2018 letter to shareholders.

Below is the full excerpt where Jeff Bezos emphasised the importance of intuition, curiosity and power of wandering in business. And I believe that it’s also important, in fact more so, for incumbents, large corporations who are struggling to avoid disruption, and of course, financial institutions such as sovereign wealth funds.

Sometimes (often actually) in business, you do know where you’re going, and when you do, you can be efficient. Put in place a plan and execute. In contrast, wandering in business is not efficient … but it’s also not random. It’s guided – by hunch, gut, intuition, curiosity, and powered by a deep conviction that the prize for customers is big enough that it’s worth being a little messy and tangential to find our way there. Wandering is an essential counter-balance to efficiency. You need to employ both. The outsized discoveries – the “non-linear” ones – are highly likely to require wandering.

I used to think that managing a project is as straightforward as having a good plan and just execute. But it’s beyond that. And I think employees shouldn’t be penalized if the road to completion of the project is messy and tangential. Straight, linear lines just don’t work anymore in this century.

Food for thought.

You can read the whole letter here.


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