Today I was fortunate enough to attend a Business Lunch in Milan hosted by the BCCI.  The guest speaker was an inspiring woman who happens to be Amazon’s Country Manager for both Italy and Spain.  This knowledgeable professional has more than 10 years’ experience of working at Amazon in an impressive number of their international sites, and she shared some pretty impressive stats about the Company during her presentation. Here are just a few of the value nuggets I took away from the event;

  • She’s a woman! Yes an intelligent, strong, confident, inspiring and successful woman who has a family and doesn’t feel the need to work past 6pm in order to get her job done (For those who know me well, you know I’m a massive champion for supporting other women in business).
  • Amazon has more than 600,000 employees worldwide.
  • The Company has fairly low profits because much of what they make is reinvested into the business… it’s more about the customer experience for them than the bottom line.
  • Creativity is a team effort at Amazon and not reserved for those at the top of the pyramid.
  • As a company they pay for additional learning for their employees (love this!)
  • They are not afraid to admit failure – in fact they love it (I’ll explain why in a minute)
  • They always put the customer first, and work backwards from there.

There were so many fascinating pieces of information that I took away from her presentation, but the two that I will borrow for my own business are;

  • Fail big and fail fast!  The Amazon Phone may have been an expensive faux pas, but the technology developed for it was used to bring the Echo to life.  The project cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they see this as a total positive.
  • Dream big!  Every single big dream you have for your company (or in life in general) can be achieved through careful planning, calculated risk taking and focus.  Don’t hold your ideas back because you think other people won’t be on board with them, use that as a challenge to get them some legs.

I love attending presentations like this, the information learned is just solid gold and much of it can be taken back into my own business,  and used to inspire our students to make the very best of their Internship opportunities in the UK.  Thank you BCCI – I’ll see you soon.