Brian and Jeffrey Eisenberg

How to Be Like Amazon, Even if You’re Tiny

How to Be Like Amazon, Even if You're Tiny

Amazon is the company that every other company wants to be. They dominate ecommerce and are a serious player in every market they enter. And, their customers love them.

In this episode, my friends and fellow Austinites Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg share lessons from their new book, written with co-author Roy Williams, Be Like Amazon: Even Lemonade Stands Can Do It. They have a passion for learning from Amazon and applying their strategies to businesses big and small.

Bryan and Jeffrey are cofounders of a growth acceleration training company called They have been advising, training and strategizing for businesses since 1998 and are coauthors of two other WSJ and NYT bestselling books, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark? and Call To Action.

The duo touches on the unique style of their book and why they think it has been so popular. We thoroughly discuss Amazon’s 4 pillars of success and how any business can adopt them and put them into action. Customer centricity and the importance of making your message consistent from top to bottom is one of the main pillars we cover, as well as the corporate agility that allows businesses to continuously improve through optimization and innovation.

If you enjoy the show, please drop by iTunes and leave a review while you are still feeling the love! Reviews help others discover this podcast and I greatly appreciate them!

Listen in:

On Today’s Episode We’ll Learn:

  • What Amazon has been doing to stay on top of the game.
  • How focusing on customer centricity and obsessing over customer experience will benefit your business in the long run.
  • Why you should innovate with customers in mind – not solely the competition.
  • Why corporate agility is necessary to both business growth and staying relevant.
  • How Amazon is in constant “day one” mode, what that means, and how you can implement this practice too.
  • Using key optimization strategies to bring value to all areas of the business.
  • The importance of having a clear message that is reinforced in all areas of the business and not just talking the talk.

Key Resources for Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg and Be Like Amazon:

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Full Episode Transcript:

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Welcome to the Brainfluence Podcast with Roger Dooley, author, speaker and educator on neuromarketing and the psychology of persuasion. Every week, we talk with thought leaders that will help you improve your influence with factual evidence and concrete research. Introducing your host, Roger Dooley.

Roger:       Welcome to The Brainfluence podcast, I’m Roger Dooley. Our guests this week are both fellow Austinites and repeat visitors to the show. Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg exemplify the smart marketing community here in Austin. They’re thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and authors. Bryan and Jeffrey coauthored the Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestsellers “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark” and “Call to Action.”

Their newest book is coauthored with Roy. H. Williams and is titled “Be Like Amazon: Even A Lemonade Stand Can Do It.” They’re also co-founders of growth acceleration training company, It’s a particularly appropriate day for this conversation. A little more than a week ago, Amazon announced they were buying Whole Foods, which was founded here in Austin and is still headquartered here. Today, as we speak, it’s Amazon Prime Day. We’ll probably see a new all-time, one-day sales record set. Amazon is clearly doing some things right, and Bryan and Jeffrey are going to explain how even smaller organizations can use the same strategies that Amazon does.

Bryan and Jeffrey, welcome to the show.

Bryan:        Thank you so much, we’re excited to be here.

Jeff:           Yes, we are.

Roger:       Great. Well, by the time this airs, Prime Day will be in the history books. Any predictions now while we’re still just halfway through it?

Bryan:        Oh, that’s, easy one because it’s going to be phenomenal. They’re going to grow tremendously, but that’s not really the important thing. The important thing is how they’re feeding their ecosystem. They’ll get lots more Prime members, they’ll get lots of very happy Prime members, and they’ll sell lots of their devices.

Roger:       Yeah. I saw that they really dropped the price of their flagship device, the Echo. Of course, that’s the gateway to all the other Amazon stuff, or one gateway. They’ve got a lot of gateways, but, clearly, they are planning to dominate that space. Even though Google, I think, probably does a little bit better job on voice recognition, interpreting speech, Amazon makes some kinds of amusing errors that I think Google would catch, like they added Cheetahs, like the feline predator, to my shopping list the other day instead of Cheetos, which I’m 99% sure, in the context of shopping, Google would have figured out what I meant. Anyway, this is going to be awesome for them.

Bryan:        Oh, and I think it’s a key thing because one of the absolute future trends is going to be this voice commerce. By enabling so many more households with the Echo, and Dot, and the Echo Look, and all the different devices that they’re getting out there, and they’re promoting the fact of, “Use Alexa to order something, and you’ll get a discount.” I’m just hoping mine didn’t turn on when I said that. Who knows what I just ordered?

Roger:       She’s talking.

Jeff:  Mine didn’t, Bryan.

Roger:       I thought I was Amazon’s biggest fan, and, then, you guys wrote a book about them. You got the legendary Roy Williams onboard as coauthor. For those who haven’t already read “Be Like Amazon,” let me describe it. It’s a short book. It’s only 130 pages or so. It’s in the form of a fable. That is, rather than your typical business book that simple tells you what to do, it’s written as a fictional narrative. There’s some other good examples of this genre, books like “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and several of Ken Blanchard’s books, including “One Minute Manager.”

I have to admit that some of the fable books leave me a little bit cold. They seem too dumbed down, too simplistic, but I really liked “Be Like Amazon.” There’s a lot of information and real world examples in it. How did you guys decide to do this as a fable as opposed to a straight-up business book like your other ones?

Jeff:  I actually describe that process in the back of the book, “This is Jeff Eisenberg.” What’s kind of interesting is, people keep using the word, “fable.” It’s not at all a fable. If you’re not a fan of fables, please listen to this. It is a conversation between a mentor, an older gentleman, and a younger gentleman who’s a CEO of a company. It’s written as a road trip, but it’s really a device to be able to use that dialog. While there is a story, and the characters evolve, and there’s a small amount of plot, it’s not a fable. Fables are metaphors or about something else. They’re kind of cheesy. Forgive me, I know just this week, the gentleman who wrote “Who Moved My Cheese?” died.

It is not a fable. That’s why all these people who have said that … It’s a common refrain in the reviews on Amazon. As of right now, we have like 63 reviews and 4.9 stars, but people keep saying that, “We’re not usually fans of fables, and, yet, we like this book.” Well, that’s why, because it’s not a fable.

Roger:       Yeah. Well, I think it maybe resembles a little bit more Bob Burg’s “Go-Giver,” which is not … It follows the same kind of narrative. I think yours is, maybe, more dense with information. Anyway, it’s a great format. I mentioned that Roy Williams is a legend, but at the same time, he keeps kind of a low profile. Why don’t you explain to our listeners who he is for those that might not know him, and what it was like to write a book with him.

Jeff:  Bryan, you want me to take this?

Bryan:        Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. I think you’ll have a better shot at giving this justice.

Jeff:  Okay. Roy Williams is actually an advertising genius. Perhaps, the people in the mainstream advertising world wouldn’t agree, although they’ve all had him speak at their events. What he does is, he’s chosen to work only with owner-operated businesses because he only has contact with the owners. He works on a system where he takes an annual fee, and it grows with the top line. He makes no money from media buying or anything else. He is not interested in increasing the budget.

What he does is, he works with these companies. His tagline is “Making millionaires out of dreamers.” What he’s done is, he’s had dozens of huge successes, some very well-known companies, mostly in local markets. They’re all dominate in his class. When DeBeers did a study a few years ago and found that the top independent diamond dealers were mainly his customers. The top Rolex dealers, mainly his customers. That’s just because the jewelry industry does a lot of studies, but you’ll find that in many categories, he is a really dominant player. He wrote three New York Times, Wall Street Journal best sellers in the earlier part of this century. He’s a legend. He also happens to be a mentor to Bryan and I and a really good friend.

Roger:       That’s great. Getting back to the content of the book, saying, “Amazon is good at business” is like saying, “Apple is good at design. If you want to design products, you should do it like Apple.” The execution is often a lot more difficult than saying that. Also, of course, the resources required aren’t always there. Your whole concept is that businesses of any size can employ Amazon’s core strategies.

Why don’t you, or, maybe, Bryan, why don’t you explain why that is. What are those core principles?

Bryan:        Yeah. The way I like to explain it is, will every business have the kind of growth and dominance that Amazon, where they have 43% of all e-commerce dollars in the United States? No, but what Amazon has done, what Jeff Bezos has done, is true brilliance, has been in bringing this four-pillar operating system to all his businesses. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about his retail business, whether you’re talking about their web services, which is one of the fastest growing B2B business in the world, whether you look at it from his media business with the Washington Post, it’s still these same four pillars.

What’s happened is that all the other businesses out in the world, or most of them, it’s like they’ve been operating using BlackBerries. All of a sudden, the iPhone came out, and that operating system changed the way the whole world operated. Just the fact that we didn’t have a physical keyboard anymore, but we were to do it with a screen. Just think about how much that device has changed our lives in the last 10 years. This operating system, these four pillars of success that we talk about in the book, which we can elaborate on, I think, are really fundamental. They’re unifying business principles that any business, even if you’re a lemonade stand, needs to leverage today.

Roger:       Right. Why don’t you name the four principles? Then, I want to get into the first one, Customer Centricity.

Bryan:        Sure. The first one is exactly that, just an obsession over the customer, customers’ interest. I think that’s the foundational point of starting with the point of view of, “You have to benefit your customers. If you focus on their success, you’ll get yours over the long-term.” That’s what Jeff Bezos set out to do. From there you have to innovate on their behalf. Our job is to stay ahead of our customers, not necessarily worry about our competitors. You constantly have to have a culture of innovation. That comes throughout the whole organization.

Innovation is great, like we find out in the book about Kodak. Kodak invented the digital camera in the 1970’s, but they never brought it to market because they didn’t have the third pillar, which was the corporate agility to be able to respond to that innovation, to make the changes in their organization. You have to have an organization that can act like the world’s oldest startup, like Amazon. It never grows up. It’s constantly in new businesses and doing new things. In fact, just yesterday they announced they’re launching a new Geek Squad alternative, one more business that they’re attacking.

Lastly, and probably most important one, which is, obviously, where we entered our focus on Amazon early days, their focus on continuous optimization. It’s not must marketing optimization or conversion rate optimization, it’s optimization of all business processes to continue to bring value, bring it full circle in this flywheel to the customer centricity. From boardroom to stockroom, you have to find ways to constantly optimize things. That’s how you, basically, grow your business today.

Roger:       Starting with Customer Centricity, it seems like if you look at just about any larger than small company, they say they are customer centric. If you read their mission statement, if you read the letter to the shareholders, if they’re a public company, they all talk about it, but it doesn’t really seem like it’s in their DNA in many cases. Why do you think this disconnect exists when everybody says they’re customer centric, but not everybody is, certainly not to the extent that Amazon is?

Bryan:        Jeff, why don’t you go ahead and answer that one?

Jeff:  Well, there’s a couple of reasons. You know how everybody knows that if you exercise and eat healthy, that’s always a good thing. Let’s not fool ourselves. Knowing something and doing it is a lot different. There are like … The way there are with the virtues. Back in Greek mythology, people talk about the virtues and the seven deadly sins. Well, there are four factors that keep us from focusing in on Amazon’s four pillars of success. The first one is Organization Focus. Organization Focus keeps you focused on the things that are internal. “That’s not my job. That’s not my division. That’s my territory.” All of that, so that’s a hard thing to get over.

The next one is Maintaining Status Quo. We’re human beings. We don’t like change despite the cheeses and whatever it is. People like to do what they’ve done before. Being in day-one mode, and Jeff Bezos always talks about being in day one. It’s day one. We’re out to compete. We’re ready to do this. That’s not something that mature organizations do well. It’s not even something that startups do exceptionally well.

The third one is a Competitor Focus. A Competitor Focus is, people look at their own categories. They’re fixated on what they do, and they don’t realize that customers’ expectations don’t change just based on their category, they also change based on what’s happening around them. In the past few years, people have looked at Amazon as a lightweight competitor in grocery. They were very comfortable in what they’re doing. Now, they figured out that, not just because of the acquisition, but because the time is right in terms of technology, in terms of shipping, in terms of their infrastructure, that it’s not just the competitors that they need to keep up with, it’s their customers. In the 1970’s, it was McDonald’s clean bathrooms made everybody up their game. Nobody knew about overnight until FedEx started saying, “When things absolutely have to be there overnight.” Overnight feels kind of slow to us today.

The last one is kind of interesting too. It’s the fourth one, is Misplaced Accountability. Misplaced Accountability is something nearer and dearer to Bryan and I. We spent a lot of time in the analytics community. I don’t know if you know that Bryan is the chairman emeritus and founder of the Digital Analytics Association. Lots of metrics. We’re very keen on metrics, but what happens is that people focus on some very interesting metrics. For instance, people will focus on a popup to get an email subscription, but, very often, they won’t actually look at what that does to the customer in the long term and how that erodes confidence. Where salespeople will say, “We’re making our numbers,” and they’re making their numbers, but they could be exceeding their numbers easily. Misplaced Accountability is that because you measure it, you’re actually doing it, or doing the right job. People usually measure in the outputs of things, not the inputs, the important components that actually make up the overall experience.

Roger:       Makes a lot of sense. One thing I really loved was that you bring the famous marshmallow test into the book and talk about that in the context of business decision making. I’m sure, probably, most of our listeners know the marshmallow test is given to small children. They’re left alone in a room, and they’re observed to see how long they can avoid eating a marshmallow that’s on the table in front of them. Those kids that had the most will power then, later in life, scored higher on tests and appeared to be more successful. Explain how you use that as shorthand for business decision makers?

Jeff:  Yeah. It’s funny because as you talked about in the last question, so many companies think they’re customer centric, but their challenge is that they’re focused in on the quarterly report and making sure the numbers line up. The same way that they did a study several years ago that showed 80% of executives believed they were customer centric, yet when they asked those same customers, only 8% were. The reason, it comes right back to this one, it’s marshmallow eating. They’re focused in on short-term results, quick gains. Unfortunately, one of the things that Jeff Bezos is well-quoted saying is that, whenever they have to make a decision, they make a faith-based decision about what will be best for the customer in the long term and, then, proceed that way.

Unfortunately, when everyone is looking for instant gratification as opposed to delayed gratification because, in fact, everyone’s going to think about Amazon as being an overnight success, but think about how many … It took Jeff Bezos 60 meetings to raise million dollars to get the business even started. It took him years to gain any kind of traction. It took him years before they started getting any kind of profit. Now, they have the ability to invest tens of billions of dollars in research and development, forget about profit, just research and development because they know that they have to keep that investment going for the long term because it’s not about today. It’s about where they want to be 10 years from now, 15 years from now.

Roger:       It seems like Amazon shareholders have given Bezos a license to operate that way, but that’s pretty rare. It seems like there’s an endemic problem with corporations in the U.S., and, probably, in other countries, as well, that shareholders expect those predictable profits. They expect returns. Even Apple, who really seemed to operate with a fairly long-term orientation with lots of R&D and product development cycles and so on, ended up having to deal with shareholders who came in purely to force them to disgorge some of their money as dividends rather than putting it into R&D or other corporate purposes. It seems like that’s a constant tension at most corporations.

Jeff:  Yeah. You know, Roger, I think that that’s a fair thing to say, but I don’t think that takes into account the situation at Amazon because they didn’t start out that way. If you remember when the dot-com boom happened, when the dot-com crash happened in 2001, Amazon was one of those stocks that just crashed. Jeff Bezos made his case, and some people believed, and other people didn’t, that not everybody’s an Amazon fan, not every investor holds Amazon stock. In fact, Warren Buffet famously said recently that he regrets that he just didn’t do it because he didn’t understand the business.

That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Amazon’s not the only one, but if you have companies like Apple or some of these companies that are just sitting on tons of cash, and they’re not inventing new businesses, part of what Amazon does is, by developing this corporate agility, these little business units that are very quick to move and have big leadership … They have, literally, hundreds of CEO’s, people who run centimillion-dollar parts of the company and billion-dollar parts of the company. They run them very efficiently and very cleanly, whereas Apple makes one big bet at a time, or Google makes scatter-shot bets, but they’ve never been able to do something quite as big as Adwords

Amazon actually has proven that they can build businesses. If you think about it, not only have they used the four pillars to build a hundred billion dollar business, that’s a staggering number, but most people think that is a business consumer market. They’ve also built AWS, Amazon Web Services, their cloud business. They built that over ten billions dollars. Jeff Bezos has taken the same four pillars, and Bryan referred to this before, but he’s applied them to the Washington Post. He took at newspaper that was largely dead, as most newspapers have been, and has turned it around.

I think people want to say, “Amazon is exceptional,” but there’s a reason why we didn’t write a book about Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. We wrote about the four pillars of Amazon because these principles are reproducible. You can observe them. You can do them. In our work with clients, we coach them on how to do that. It works. It’s not a … You don’t have to be exceptionally brilliant or have a super talented team. Anybody can do it, even a lemonade stand.

Roger:       Well, that’s probably a good time to transition into some examples, perhaps, of a smaller organization because I know that looking at a really successful big company, if you’re a smaller, owner-operated business or just some type of smaller entrepreneurial organization, you say, “Well, yeah, they can do it. They’ve got resources. They’ve got people.” I know you have examples of businesses that aren’t big that have prospered using this approach, so why don’t you throw one or two of those?

Jeff:  Yeah. We cover all kinds of businesses in the book from jewelers to really sexy businesses like people who haul junk and HVAC guys. Really, it is any business. I think one of my favorite examples, and it is one little piece of their business, but it’s that one piece that shows all four pillars and their effective use through a simple thing as painting a screw red. You really can’t ask for anything more simple than that.

Ken Goodrich runs a fast growing HVAC company. Got one in Vegas and in Phoenix, nice hot climates. Definitely could use him here in Austin these past few weeks. What he did is, one of his core fundamental beliefs is that no HVAC unit should have any screws left loose. Everything should be completely tight because if there’s anything loose, the machines will vibrate and, eventually, that will cause damage. Part of what he has his technicians do is replace every single screw in the system with a red screw. Number one, that lets the customer know, without them having to say anything, once they see all those red screws, how they’ve taken action on their behalf. They’re completely customer centric. It is obvious that they changed all the screws. It’s not a mechanic behind, underneath the shell, doing things, and you have no idea what they’re doing. No. You can actually see their work.

From an innovative point of view, it’s like, “Why didn’t anyone else think of changing the red screw?” They have other things that make their technicians’ jobs easier and all that, but that’s just one simple one is, “Paint the screw red.” Everyone else had gold, and bronze, and silver screws. By just making it stand out differently, it is now apparent.

From a corporate agility point of view, yeah, this takes a little bit longer to do, but, obviously, it lets the organization know whether it’s getting done. Everything is uniform and everything … The red screws. Obviously, from a continuous optimization point of view, they can see whether they’ve actually implemented it to every screw in the machine. It helps in their process, as well, a simple thing like a screw.

Roger:       Right. You’re right. It affects multiple areas. It is operational. It is branding for them. Yup. It’s something that’s relatively simple, although I would think that if you went to the owners of many HVAC companies, or managers of those companies, and said, “Well, you ought to change out all the screws in the system with a different color screw,” they would say, “Well, that’s nuts. Do you know how long that’s going to take?” There exists that tension there that, “We’re under pressure to get these jobs done under cost, under budget. That would just take too long.”

I’m curious, in your example, does that company get premium pricing for its work, or have they been able to operate so efficiently that it evens out?

Jeff:  They are not the low-price people, but they’re also not, necessarily, a premium priced. You need to make a margin, and customers expect you to make a margin. Customers don’t begrudge you that. What happens is that when you truly have exceptional service … These guys are beloved all over their trade area. People, literally, stand online for the swag and what not. These are really well-known.

Bryan:        Well, wait. Even police cars in chases have asked them for swag.

Jeff:  Right. I think that those people are really just justifying it to themselves. They have an organizational concept, and they have an idea of what their job is. What they’re really not looking at is what customers actually want. When you call an A/C company, yes, you’re looking to solve the current problem, and if they can demonstrate … See, this is the thing is, lots of people talk about what they believe. What they believe is total bullshit. They’re lying to themselves and to others because the way I know what somebody believes is by observing what they do. Do I know that Ken Goodrich actually believes in tightening up all the screws? Well, yeah, because he changes each and every single one. I can experience that. I can see that. It’s part of this thing. Lots of people go back to that famous Simon Sinek talk, and they love to show their statements about what they believe, and why they do things. Then, you go and look at what they do and it’s not congruent.

Bryan:        Jeff, I’d love to give an example of this. Roger, just a few weeks ago, my daughter had gone into Lush. She’s 16-years old. They love the organic products that they make, their facial masks, and bath bombs. It’s a great experience in store. They have their own little packaging that they do in the store, really, really fascinating. She had gone in there with a friend. They both bought a facial mask. She’s driving home from the store … Mind you, about 20 minutes away from the store. She decided she wanted to open up the package because she wanted to smell it. When she finally opened up the package, she looked at it, and it looked like someone had put their fingers in it.

Now, there’s a lot of examples of the same kinds of products online where you can see how nicely packed it is. It’s not just making it up, and she wasn’t being capricious about it. It’s like, “No. There’s something wrong here.” She calls up, and the person on the phone says, “Oh, absolutely, just come on back, and we’ll exchange it no questions asked,” because on their … In their stores they have a big “We Believe” sign. One of the key things there is, it says, “We believe the customer’s always right.” Sounds great, so she goes ahead and she drives back another 20 minutes with her friend, back to the store. She brings it up to the clerk and says, “Hey, I just called blah, blah, blah.” He says, “Oh, no. That’s normal. That’s just the way it is,” and, basically, sent her home frustrated.

Roger:       Wow. Okay, so they did not follow through. That mirrors … A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about a pickle story that involved a rather similar circumstance except involving a jar of pickles with one that had appeared to have a bite out of it. We don’t have time to go into the whole story here, but I’ll link to it in the show notes. Another great example. In that case, the customer they angered was a motivation speaker who addressed tens of thousands of people a year who spread the word about that particular supermarket and how poorly he was treated by them. You got to be careful who you irritate.

Bryan:        Yeah. I can’t deny the fact that I may have used the example from Lush in numerous presentations. Ultimately, and I do tell people, ultimately, they did send her a coupon because I had to go on Twitter and complain. At the end of the day what happened is, in the store she met one of their average employees on, maybe, not his best day, and, unfortunately, left with a dissatisfied experience. I revived it a little bit by complaining on Twitter and getting her, basically, a refund for it, but that’s not the way the business should operate. If it truly believes that the customer’s always right, then replace it. Period. Done. No questions asked. She just left the store half an hour a go, an hour beforehand.

Roger:       Right. It shouldn’t be necessary to escalate it because usually those things, even if you don’t have a bazillion Twitter followers or something, if you escalate it enough, you’ll probably get satisfaction, but the point is that, in that case, the company isn’t living up to its own expectation or motto.

Bryan:        Roger, these are culture issues. These are the things that we deal with all the time. It’s funny because being an optimization business … We’ve been an optimization business for 20 years. Sometimes what you have to do is, you’re telling your customer that their baby is ugly. It’s kind of uncomfortable, but it’s kind of interesting because this is not the conscious thing. When Broadband stated that study where he cited that study about Baden Company where they talk about the delivery gap, the difference between what executives imagine and what their customers thought, that’s not because the executives are weasels and they’re nasty. They’re not. They really actually think that they’re being customer centric. What they don’t realize is all the ways that they’re not. These are system problems. These are small system failures. Whether it was training or what it was at Lush, I don’t know. If your system is right, it’ll correct itself.

When you look at optimization like this and think, “Okay. These people are bad.” They’re not. I’m sure that the people at Lush are lovely, and I’m pretty sure that the people who put together their “We Believe” statement generally believe what they say. The failure was somewhere else. The failure was in not basing their whole company around that.

What Amazon does that’s absolutely brilliant is they’re in constant day-one mode. They’re always in an optimization mode. They don’t believe that they’re ever good enough. If you think about it … We get a lot of packages. I’m sure you do too. Think about the tape that comes on an Amazon box. Every other box that comes here, you need a box cutter to open it up. It’s hard to open up. Their taping pulls right off, and, yet, it never opens by itself. There’s somebody at Amazon who worries about the quality of their tape. There’s somebody at Amazon … We could look at the whole frustration-free packaging phenomenon that they do because they’re so concerned about those clam shell things and stuff like that, that people will actually be able to open the product up and enjoy it immediately.

They are obsessed with how customers feel and how customers interact with them. Prime Day, when we noted at the beginning of the program, which is today, started out, basically, as a trial run so that they wouldn’t have these kind of problems that large-scale e-commerce has for Black Friday. They decided, “We’ll do it in the summer where we can devote the resources.” Of course, it’s become this huge thing, and lots of other people are offering discounts on this date, but they cared enough that they didn’t want to stress test their systems on Black Friday. Most companies, they do a lot of work, but they’re not actually doing that before then. They’re not actually giving that kind of stress to their system.

Roger:       One little known fact is that you can actually purchase your own stress testing service from Amazon. We did that a few years ago on a really busy website that we knew was going to have a Superbowl-type day on a particular date. In advance, we, basically, paid Amazon to simulate 20,000 users hitting the site simultaneously. It ended up helping quite a bit.

Anyway, that’s a pretty good place to break off. I think the key message of that last part is that the messaging has to be more than messaging. It’s got to be really happening on the ground too. Saying you’re customer centric and actually ensuring that every employee is acting if that’s the case, and it’s really critical.

Bryan:        Roger, one of my favorite examples of this is the old story of, and I’m not going to name it because you’ll know right away, of the retailer who had somebody come in to return snow tires even though they only sold clothing. Everybody knows that story. That story’s become legendary. That’s why we run a company called “Buyer Legends,” the same kind of concept. It’s like that story was told from boardroom to stockroom. Everybody knows for that organization, if you walk into Nordstrom, they’re going to accept anything you have to return. It keeps everybody aligned with the beliefs of the company.

Roger:       Right. If a dress comes with, perhaps, a little makeup on the collar, the clerk isn’t going to say, “Oh, you wore this.” They’ll say, “Fine. Thank you.”

Bryan:        Right. They’ll just accept. That’s the fundamental piece that aligns beliefs with the four pillars, being able to tell a narrative throughout your organization so that your customers share in that same fashion.

Roger:       Great. Let me remind our listeners that we’re speaking with Bryan, who we just heard, Eisenberg and Jeffrey Eisenberg, co-authors with Roy Williams, of the new book “Be Like Amazon: Even A Lemonade Stand Can Do It.” Where can our listeners find your stuff online, guys?

Bryan:        They can find our book on Amazon. It will, also, shortly be available on other bookstore websites, as well. They can also find us, and more material, on the Be Like Amazon website where they’ll also find a free evaluation they can use to see how their organization stands with the four pillars. They can also find more about us at They can also find out about bringing us into the organization or to speak at one of their events at

Roger:       Great. Well, we’ll link to all those places as well as any other resources we talked about on the show notes page at There will be a handy text version of our conversation there, as well.

Thanks for being on the show, guys. Really enjoyed it.

Jeff:           It was a real pleasure.

Bryan:        You’re welcome. Thanks for having us. It’s always fun talking about this stuff.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Brainfluence Podcast. To continue the discussion and to find your own path to brainy success, please visit us at

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