Amazon’s Prime service is estimated to hit 164 million subscribers by 2020, bringing in over $18 billion in annual revenues. These numbers are only indicative of sales resulting from subscription fees. Prime service also incentivizes buyers to purchase from Amazon and add more products to their shopping cart, generating an additional $11.5 billion in revenues.
Some buyers are probably paying more for Amazon prime subscription than they would’ve ever paid for shipping costs. But the idea that they wouldn’t struggle to make a decision over shipping costs as well as wait for days and weeks before their products arrive is appealing. Shipping costs and shipping period are the two most irritating things for buyers in online shopping. Amazon Prime solves both problems and makes a lot of money by doing it. So who thought of this genius idea?
Not Jeff Bezos.
It was an Amazon employee who pitched it to a digital-suggestion box, floating this idea of a buying club for quick shipping that would incentivize customers to purchase even more. Bezos liked the idea and seized on it.
Today, Amazon’s Prime Subscription Service is one of the most celebrated business innovations — simple but smart. It took Amazon ten years to come up with this ingenuity — a perfect example of how right decisions are born.
Most successful people you see around are sitting on top of genius ideas because they started with a mission to do something good. Failures, shortcomings and thousands of wrong decisions refined to become what we call “the right decision.” There is no shortcut to the right decision. It takes years and years of painstakingly hard work. And of course, craving for learning.
The best way to make the right decision is to accept that your decision might not be the right one. It isn’t indicative of your self-doubt or of being unsure of what kind of decision you need to make. It is the state of mind that is open to other alternatives, just in case a better one is presented.
Organizations, entities, and movements survive because they are open to learning. They innovate. They change. They adapt. Almost every successful person would admit that they wouldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams where they’re now. Because “the right” decisions they made to become successful today have been perfected as a result of years of hard work. And a lot of failures. I mean whole damn a lot.
Today, we laugh at the dial-up Internet and the eerie noise it made. You literally couldn’t talk on the phone when you connected to the Internet. The same goes for mobile phones just 30 years ago — their sheer size, range and how “dumb” they were. But without them, we wouldn’t have fiber optic connections and super smartphones today. Perspective is important.
And this is true when we analyze many historical figures and events. Denouncing a leader who ruled in the 1920s or 30s for not being a Democrat might be misleading. After all, we had a world where colored people in America were second-class citizens and Europe was engulfed with fascist regimes. Democracy wasn’t fashionable back then.
The single most important gift that distinguishes humans from other living things is the ability to pass on innovations from one generation into another. It enables us to learn from each other and make improvements.
When we are making a decision, we are constrained with limited resources, limited experience, and limited vision. This is what makes us human. Decisions we make under these circumstances would be the best we can come up with at the time. Most of these decisions will be obsolete and “wrong” in just a few years. But going through them is the only way to perfect the “right decision.”
Accepting that your “right decision” today might not be the right one is the most effective way to move forward, improve and get ahead. The difference between successful people and the rest is that accomplished people didn’t bother to obsess with the right decision before making a move. Not knowing or being indecisive is the single most important factor that creates inertia. Perhaps the right decision is to get moving.
When I procrastinated at the college, one of my professors told me this: The most difficult part is the start.