Jeff Bezos’ Regret Minimization Framework, Explained

Jeff Bezos is one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time. He’s built Amazon into a e-commerce behemoth that’s now one of the most valuable companies in the world. To do so, Bezos has had to take thousands of decisions over the year, big and small. And he says one of the principles which has guided him over the years is something called the regret minimization framework.

Jeff Bezos’ Regret Minimization Framework

“Our biggest regrets turn out to be regrets of omission,” Bezos explains. “It’s paths not taken. And they haunt us. We wonder what would’ve happened,” he says.

Bezos says these regrets aren’t necessarily confined to the world of business, but any big decisions that are to be made. “I loved that person and didn’t tell them, and then they married somebody else, he says as an example of what a regret could be like.

Bezos says that within the context of his framework, a regret would be something he’d rue not doing when he turned older. “I knew when I was 80, I would never regret trying this thing I was super excited about, and it failing. If it failed, fine. I would be very proud of the fact when I’m 80 that I tried. And I also knew that it would always haunt me if I didn’t. And so, that would be a regret,” he says.

“It would be a 100% chance of a regret if I didn’t try and basically and basically a 0% chance of regret if I tried and failed,” he explains.

Bezos had personsally used his regret minimization framework when he’d given up a flourishing career in Wall Street and drove across the country to start the company that would eventually become Amazon. Bezos says his then boss had tried to talk him out of the idea, but he realized he would regret not taking a stab at the new technology of the internet that was just about coming of age. Bezos decided to take the chance on something new, and ended up creating one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Jeff Bezos’ Regret Minimization Framework Summarized

Jeff Bezos’ regret minimization framework seeks to prevent regrets when we’re older. Bezos believes that old people can regret things they never tried. As such, he takes decisions in a way that he would minimize his regrets when he’s older. This means trying out new and ambitious projects. Bezos believes it doesn’t matter if the projects fail — his older self would still be satisfied he tried, and he would end up minimizing his regrets.