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AP/Cliff Owen
Listen here, children.
MOVE THE NEEDLE

When it makes sense to abandon a vision, according to Jeff Bezos

By Simone Stolzoff

Jeff Bezos has been running Amazon for 24 years, many lifetimes in entrepreneur years. At Wired’s 25th anniversary summit in San Francisco today (Oct. 15), he imparted some of his wisdom onto the aspiring entrepreneurs in the crowd.

“If you have a vision… that everybody agrees with, probably you shouldn’t do it because everybody is going to do it,” he said. At face value, this makes a lot of sense. Value is created when people invest in areas that others undervalue. But Bezos’ guidance is offbeat in a Valley that is fueled by hype-cycles.

Instead of tapping into the latest trend, Bezos said, “the real needle movers are driven by being right when most of the world is wrong.”

This might seem easier said than done, but the Amazon chief also offered some advice as to how you might come up with an unpopular opinion. ”You have to find something where your particular life path has led you to see something in a particular way where you can pursue it and contribute to society.”

Starting a book retailer in the 1990s might have seemed crazy, but it laid the foundation to make Bezos the richest man in the world. Now, he believes Blue Origin, his venture to send tourists into space, is “the single most important thing [he’s] working on.” He’s not the only billionaire with a space project, but each venture is tackling the quest in its own way. Less than 25 years from now, we should know who moved the needle on it the most.