"Day 2 is stasis, followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death."

How Bezos’ “Day 1 Thinking” can save your company’s life.

For Bezos, Day 1 Thinking is a startup mentality. It means rejecting stagnancy and embracing change.

Everything from day-to-day details to company values has to be changeable, dynamic, and fast.

“Day 1 is both a culture and an operating model that puts the customer at the center of everything Amazon does … Day 1 is about being constantly curious, nimble, and experimental.”

Daniel Slater, Worldwide Head of Culture of Innovation at AWS

It started with his 1997 shareholder letter and is now the company culture at Amazon.

The 3 Tenants of Day 1 Thinking

1 - Customer Obsession

Bezos puts customer needs first. AWS claims that ≈90% of the new features come directly from customer feedback.

Bezos: “We are internally driven to improve our services, adding benefits and features, before we have to … We invent before we have to."

2 - High Velocity Decision-Making

All companies want to make the best decisions, but speed matters too. This becomes increasingly more difficult as companies scale.

Bezos’s 2 tricks to high-velocity decision-making:

  • “Two-pizza teams” - teams that are small enough to be fed with two pizzas are dynamic and single-minded. They avoid needless bureaucracy and make decisions quickly.

  • “Two-door decisions” - decisions that can be easily walked back shouldn’t be endlessly deliberated on. Make quick decisions with the knowledge they can be changed later.

3 - Embrace External Trends

Day 1 Thinking encourages constant iteration, innovation, and experimentation.

Bezos: “Staying in Day 1 requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer delight.”

This external awareness helps the company remain adaptable and responsive to changing landscapes. But it’s important to avoid proxies - metrics that sound positive but lack real meaning.

Dangers of Day 2 Thinking

As decision-making slows, a company becomes less agile.

It moves away from a customer-centric mentality and towards internal pressures and metrics. It’s stagnation and complacency.

And it leaves you completely unprepared for industry disruption. It’s the difference between Nikon and Netflix adapting to the internet age.

Adaptability is priceless.

In the news…

Elon Musk has some serious competition (and no amount of ketamine will make it go away…)

Elon’s polarizing presence both on- and off-line have kept his ventures in the headlines for years – from Tesla and SpaceX to Twitter/X and Grok. But that publicity doesn’t always paint an accurate picture of the true bleeding edge.

In particular, we’re talking Neuralink, Elon’s neural implant company that recently started their first human trial.

But the real front-runners in brain chips? Australia.

Melbourne’s Synchron has had people emailing and online shopping from a chip in the brain’s blood vessels… since 2019. (And they don’t even need open brain surgery or fancy robots to do it.)

Australia is also pioneering military tech, with soldiers using assisted reality glasses to control robotic dogs. And University of Technology Sydney is reconstructing dreams from brain signals with the DreamMachine.

So where does that leave Musk?

Well, his surgical robots are still super important for the commercial future of neural implants. And more research (and competition) is never a bad thing.

But would Neuralink still be making waves if it weren’t for its celebrity founder?

I’m not convinced.

Meme of the week

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