Amazon’s Jeff Bezos released his annual letter to shareholders recently. Each year this manifesto contains innovation insight and leadership lessons from one of the greatest business leaders, disrupter and innovator of our time. And this year is no exception.

I absolutely love Bezos’ eloquence when he reminds us that “customer are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.”

In a recent workshop, I reminded a group of manufacturers, distributors and rep agency firms that success is not dependent upon differentiation. Differentiation places the focus on ourselves and our competitors. The customer is completely excluded from the differentiation equation.


Those businesses that create relevance do so by being closer to the customer than anyone else. They build in the discipline of learning and observing the jobs the customer needs done, the pains they need eliminated and the gains they seek. Because, as Bezos reminds us, …our customers are, at this very moment, beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied. It’s time to innovate!

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