“The thing I have noticed is that when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right”
Bezos said it was important for him to stay directly connected with customers because it was easy to fall into the trap of relying too heavily on data and metrics. “I’m actually a big fan of anecdotes in business,” he said.
“We have tons of metrics, we have weekly business reviews, metric decks, we know so many things about the customers — whether we’re delivering on time, whether the packages have too much air in them — we have so many metrics that we monitor. And the thing I have noticed is that when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right.
“There’s something wrong with the way you’re measuring it. When you’re shipping billions of packages a year, for sure you need good data and metrics, but then you need to check that data with your intuition and your instincts.”
Not to downplay the many criticisms of Jeff Bezos, particularly working conditions there is no doubting the impact of the company’s customer obsession. I was struck at how much importance is placed on direct customer feedback, particularly for a data driven company.