3 Things You Can Learn From Jeff Bezos To Apply To Your TheaterMaking.

Love him or hate him, Jeff Bezos is a genius.

He took an online book store in the mid 90s (before 90% of you reading this blog even had internet) to one of the biggest companies in the world. And he became the richest person in the world in the process. (He goes back and forth with Elon Musk for that top spot, by the way).

And he shocked the world 48 hours ago when he announced he was stepping down from the day-to-day operations of Amazon. (And miraculously, the stock didn’t sink – THAT’S how good the company is.)

He’s got his critics . . . for sure.  But so does Stephen Sondheim. And he has screwed up from time to time. But so has Stephen Sondheim.

There is still a ton to learn from him in how to build ANY business . . . include a business in TheaterMaking.

And wait wait wait . . . if you think, “Oh, I’m a writer, there’s nothing I can learn from Jeff Bezos,” well, to put it politely, my dear friend . . . you’re wrong.

The greatest businesspeople, from Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk to Oprah to Sara Blakely to Henry Ford to Marie Van Brittan Brown are artists. They make something where there was nothing. And then they get people to buy it.

They deserve our study just like Sondheim.

And here are five things YOU can learn from Jeff Bezos.

  1. His customers (audience) came first. Here’s the bumper sticker mission statement of Amazon: “We aim to be Earth’s most customer centric company.” Now think about what you love about Amazon and why you buy so much on Amazon. Fast delivery. Free delivery. No question returns. Every product you can imagine.He pushed and pushed and pushed, always thinking about his customer’s experience, even if it cost him money, or even if it cost him vendors.You can write, produce, direct, act or whatever for yourself . . . that’s fine . . .  just don’t be upset if people don’t buy tickets to it.
  2. Look to his first domain name for a clue on how he got to where he is. Everyone knows it takes passion to become a success in whatever it is you want to do, from creating a shopping site to making theater. But it also takes something else, and Bezos knew it from his humble beginnings. In fact, he knew it was so important that he bought a domain name for that characteristic.Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Well, here’s a hint . . . visit www.Relentless.com.  Look where it takes you.  :-)You can’t just have passion, you have to direct that passion into action. And not stop. Even when people are telling you to stop. Be as relentless as a jackhammer against concrete . . . because that’s how hard this business can be.  But eventually, you will crack it open. If you are you know what.
  3. What you think makes him money, isn’t what makes him money. You think Amazon makes all those billions from selling stuff, don’t you?  Well, that’s not it!See, they not only sell stuff.  They make stuff. They see what people buy the most of, and then they make it.  Batteries, baby wipes, emoji balls, doesn’t matter.  (This is where he gets a bad rep, by the way, because he’s squeezing other sellers out with all his data.)But that’s not even where they make the most money.They also let other people sell their stuff and act like an e-bay middle man.  That’s how my board game Be A Broadway Star is sold, and boy oh boy do I complain every month about their high fees.  But where else can I get so many customers handed to me on a silver browser?

    But THAT’S not where Bezos makes his billions either!

    A big driver of the profit at Amazon is Amazon Web Services – a boring cloud computing division that was born from the fact they had to have all these servers for themselves, so they just starting “subletting” them!

    Profit from many revenue streams is what gives Bezos a foundation to risk in other areas.

    And you should adopt a similar strategy.  I’m not just talking about a day job.  I’m talking about having a more diverse writer or director portfolio.  You should have plays and musicals and movies and pilots and so on.  But yes, I’m also talking about another business or side-hustle which pays MORE than your bills so you can dedicate more time to your theatergoing.

    Don’t know what that is yet?  Find it in 2021.  There are more ways for you to generate income based on something you’re already doing than ever before.  You just need to learn how to market it (try this company for tips.)


Do you know what Bezos is going to focus on next?  His space travel company. 

Something tells me he’s going to get there.

You can get to where you want to go by following the Bezos way.

For more on how he did it, read this Bezos biography.  Which, yes, you should get on Amazon.com.



Related Posts


Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.