A good ten years ago, at Amazon re:Invent 2012, Jeff Bezos cracked a joke on stage while being interviewed by Werner Vogels (Amazon’s CTO):
“It is impossible to imagine a future, ten years from now, where a customer comes up to me and says, ‘Jeff, I love Amazon. I just wish the prices were a little higher.’”
The joke followed a discussion Jeff had with Werner about the importance of understanding that the things you build your business on frequently are not the new things but the ones which stay the same.
“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next ten years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next ten years?’ And I submit to you the second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. […] When you have something you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
This insight is one of the most commonly overlooked essences of creating and maintaining a successful business. Figuring out what doesn’t change and making those things the core of your business inevitably gives you a strong foundation on which to build empires on.
So… What doesn’t change?