tv Bush Center Leadership Forum - Jeff Bezos Conversation CSPAN May 26, 2018 1:35am-2:31am EDT
john kasich, governor kate brown and congressman luis gutierrez. friday 8:00 p.m. eastern, betsy devos, representative mark meadows, and the mayor of atlanta. next week in prime time on c-span and c-span.org, and on the free c-span radio app. >> watch our live coverage of the utah senate republican primary debate with mitt romney and state lawmaker mike kennedy. from bigger myung university, tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern at c spohn -- at c-span and c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. >> next, amazon ceo jeff bezos discusses the future of his company, its purchase of "the washington post" and artificial intelligence and space travel.
the form was hosted by george w. bush center leadership format southern methodist university in dallas. this is just under one hour. >> jeff, welcome to dallas. i am excited for you to see a city that really want to hear, right guys -- that really wants you here, right eye? i have left -- right guys? i have left 30 seconds in case there is a real estate deal. i h? i have left 30 seconds in case there is a real estate deal. it is nice to be here. : i want to thank our
sponsors, highland capital management. we are here with smu, our great partner heard we are sponsored capital. this has been a great couple of days with bono, priscilla chan, paulson,nke, hank condoleezza rice, president and mrs. bush talking about leadership. a want to talk about leadership. i want to take you back to the beginning. in 1995 you started. you went public in 1997, and i will adjust for stock splits that you issued shares at $1.50 a share. is $600your revenue million and you lost 120 $5 million but your stocking up to $55 a share. another $400 million
but your stock went up to $76. 27 million dollars of market capital. take us to that time when the market is telling you that you are doing great that you have read inc.. you took on $2 billion in debt from 1999 to 2001. what were you thinking back then? jeff: it is kind of fun to go back and think about those days. in those days, when i started the company it was just one person. and then there were 10 people. today there are almost 600,000 people, so there is a lot of change. but back in that time, we were still a pretty small company by most standards. but we were growing fast and it was very exciting.
i was driving all the packages to the post office myself. thatw the ups guy so well he would let me end, even like five minutes after closing. we would be able to afford a forklift. it was that kind of operation. inefficient with our operations and logistics in those early days when there were just 10 of us, that i did not have packing tables. we were packing on the floor on and i saidnd knees, to one of the software engineers who was packing alongside me, do you know what we should do? we should get kneepads. and he looked at me like i was the dumbest guy he had seen in my life. and he said jeff, we should get packing tables. got packing, i tables and it doubled our
productivity. [laughter] you are talking about, we had gone public and you are right, on a $1.50adjusted basis it is a share in today's terms. and the market became very internetkind of an bubble kind of market. stock prices went up very, very high. when i raised the initial funding for amazon, i had to talk to 60 prospective investors to raise $1 million. i raised $1 million from 22 different investors, $50,000 at a time. and they got 20% of the company for $1 million. that was in 1995. but just two or three years mba with nonford business experience could raise $.5 million in a single phone internethey had an business plan. so the whole thing, in just two or three years, the excitement,
as we would certainly see when the bubble burst in 2000, the hyperbolic excitement about the internet had infected everybody. knew, i liked our business i like the fundamentals of our business but the stock price was disconnected what we did on a day-to-day basis. two i was always preaching, we would have all hands meetings, and there was a small number of employees at that time, i think in 1997 we would have had a few hundred employees, and we would have all hands meetings and i would say, i remember the great quote from benjamin graham that in the short run the stock market is a loading machine and in the long run it is a waiting weighing machine.
all the employees at stock options and i did not want them counting their success that way. stock is upwhen the 30% in one month, don't feel 30% smarter. because when it is down 30% in one month you are going to have to feel 30% dumber, and it is not going to feel is good. and it was good that i laid the groundwork, because sure enough in the year 2000, the whole thing came tumbling down. to six dollars. jeff: it went out to six dollars and i'm not sure if that was on a split-adjusted basis. on a split-adjusted basis, it was probably down to one dollar. and because i had the internal metrics on how many customers we had and how it was going, people
thought we were losing money because we were selling dollar bills for $.90. it was very clear we were not. we had high fixed costs but we had a positive contribution margin thought we and i knew that it ws just a fixed cost business. and, as soon as we reached a sufficient scale i knew we would have a very good business. so it was that understanding of the fixed nature of our expenses relative to physical world getil is what led us to the big fast strategy. we knew the economics would be improved if we had a sufficient scale. we worked hard on that. host: so you are preaching the benefits of e-commerce and fast-forward to today, now we have content, physical amazon -lesss, amazon cashier stores, which we used to call shoplifting. [laughter] jeff: shoplifting without the jail time. host: that's right. and then buying whole foods. how do you manage these businesses, with different cost structures?
finishing up on the prior point before i answer that question, with the memory of barbara bush in all of our minds. aret of people in this room entrepreneurs, have done various things, taken risks of various one ofand i think the, the precursors, one of the foundational things to being able to take risk is to have had some kind of support from somebody. you have to have some mentors, you have to have somebody who loves you, these of the things the buildup and allow you to jump off into uncharted terrain and do something new, because you know you have a support system of one kind or another. and i certainly did. i just want to point out i feel one atrongly that, i have lot of lotteries. amazon is one of the lotteries
that i have one. it i had a big laterally with my parents. hear when he was 16 years old. he didn't speak any english. [applause] he's a great guy. my mother had me which was 17 years old. she was a pregnant 16 euros in albuquerque, new mexico, and high school, which was not cool. and she made it work. and her parents helped her with deat whole thing and ma that all work. if you don't get that support somehow, it doesn't have to be your parents, sometimes you can get lucky and have it be a grandparent or friend or a teacher, it can be somebody, but you need that. some but he has to step in to your life. and that is a lottery that i suspect a lot of people in this room have also one, just like me. host: amazon go. jeff: we do so many different things.
traditional advice would be to stay focused and keep the business simple. and the way i think about this we actually do stick to one thing, it is just not described, the business itself, we do web services, buying compute services from us, we have a retail business, amazon studios which is making original content, amazon go, the things you listed. but the cultural thread that runs through all these things is the same. we only have a few principles at gozon, core values that we back to again and again. and if you would each of the things that we do, you would see those run straight to everything. the first one is by far the most important one is customer obsession. we talk about it as customer obsession, as opposed to competitor of session --
competitor obsession. companies talk over and over about the customer pay close when i attention to them, i believe they are competitor focused. by the way, competitor focus can work but it don't think it works in the long run as well as customer focus. for one thing, once you are the leader, if your whole culture is competitor obsessed, it is hard to stay energized and motivated if you are out in front. whereas, customers are always unsatisfied, there are always discontent, they always want more. so no matter how far out there you get in front of your competitors, you are still behind your customers. so they are always pull you along. is what we session do. another when his eagerness to invent.
we left to pioneer. whenever we have tried to do something in a me too fashion, we have failed that it. we need to do something that is different and ended -- that is differentiated, unique, that works for us. and another one is long-term thinking. timee willing to take some and be patient with our business and initiatives. and that runs through everything. a lot of our competitors might have three-year time frames and we might have a five year to seven year time frame. and in the last one, operational excellence. you have high do standards around identifying defects, fixing defects at the those things that lead what can be stated in a simpler way is professionalism,
you want to do things right for the sake of doing them right. have 600,000 you employees, i calculate you are adding about 250 people per day. you mention you are fending off day two, and you say day to is stasis, followed by irrelevance, followed by decline, followed by death. how does that work? day one is a phrase we use at amazon all the time. i have been using it since my first annual shareholder letter from 20 years ago. we say it is always day one. and it needs to be day one for the reason you just mentioned. the real question for me is, how you go about maintaining a day one culture. it is great to have the scale of amazon. we have financial resources, can of brilliant people, we accomplish great things, we have
global scope, we have operations all over the world. the downside of that is that you can use your nimbleness, you can lose your entrepreneurial spirit, you can lose that kind of heart that small companies often have. so if you could have the best of both worlds, if you could have that entrepreneurial spirit and the same timet having all the advantages that come with scale and scope, think of the things that you could do. the question is how do you achieve that? the scale is good because it makes you robust. a big boxer can take a punch to the head. question is, you also want to. those pledges. so you want to be nimble. he want to be big and nimble. and i find things that are protective of the day one mentality, and one of them is customer obsession. it gets harder when you're
bigger. let's say you are a a 10-person startup company, every person in the company is focused on the customer. when you get to be a bigger company, you have middle managers and you have all these layers, and those people are not on the front lines. they are not interacting with customers every day. fromare insulated customers, and they start to not manage the customer happiness directly, but they start to manage through proxies like metrics and processes and some of those things become bureaucratic. so it is very challenging. things thathe happens is that the decision-making velocity slows down. one of the reasons that happens junior people, the executives inside the big allany, start to model decisions as if they are heavyweight, irreversible, highly-consequential decisions. youou make a decision, and
have a two way door, you can backup back through the door and try again. even reversible decisions a start to be made with heavyweight processes. so you can teach people these pitfalls and traps and then teach them to avoid those traps. that is what we are trying to do at amazon so that we can maintain our inventiveness and companyt, and our small spirit, even as we have the scale and scope of a larger company. host: 600,000 people is a small company. that is a trick. we focus on leadership and i know you are a voracious reader, and you are fond of a book called "the black swan." and it is about the human tendency to do reduce things -- to reduce things to stories. jeff: we can create a narrative around anything. any sequence of facts
we can create any narrative. that how do you focus throughout the organization when you have that many layers? jeff: it is a little bit different than the way "the black swan" talks about anecdotes. i am big on anecdotes, not necessarily building and anecdotal structure around them. but i have any mail address that customers can write to, i see most of those emails, i don't answer very many of them anymore and i forward, them, some of them, the ones that catch my curiosity, i forward them to the executives in charge of that area with a question mark. is that question mark shorthand for, can you look into this, why is this happening, what is going on?
and we have tons of metrics. we have weekly business reviews with these metrics, and we know so many things about customers and whether we are delivering on time, whether the packages have too much air in them and wasteful packaging, so 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 is something wrong with the way you are measuring it. and that's why it is so important, if you are shipping billions of packages of year -- billions of packages a year, you need the data and the metrics. are you delivering on time to certain apartment complexes? you delivering on time to certain countries? so you need that data, but then you need to check that data with
your instincts. if you are not answering your emails, can you give us your cell phone? [laughter] do you still have the two pizza rule, and no powerpoint? pizza team, we try to create teams that are no larger than can be fed with two pizzas. that's the two pizza rule. no powerpoint are used inside of amazon. when we hire a new executive from the outside [applause] it is the weirdest meeting culture you will ever encounter. new executives have a little bit of culture shock in their first amazon meeting, because what we do is, somebody for the meeting has prepared a six-page memo, a memo thaty-structured
has real senses, topic sentences, verbs and nouns, not just bullet points. it is supposed to create the context for what will then be a good discussion. and then we read those memos so itly in the meeting, is like a study hall. and everybody said thread the silently,when we read for usually about half an hour or however long it takes us to read the document, and then we discuss it. thant is so much better the typical powerpoint presentation for so many reasons. host: but nobody is eating the pizza at that point? jeff: there is no pizza at that point. host: one author says that takes you back to river oaks school, where they start you with a reading exercise. i never make that
connection, but you never know where things come from. i definitely had a good experience there. and the reason we read them in justoom, by the way, is, like high school kids, executives will left their way through the meeting as if they had read the memo. [laughter] busy, and you actually have to carve out the time to get the memo read. that is what the first half hour of the meeting is for. and then everybody has actually read the memo, they are not just pretending. that sounds effective. how has your leadership style changed over the years? jeff: it has changed a lot, mostly because it has had to. the company has changed so much. 100anies of 10 people or people, i can be involved in every decision, not just the objectives, like what are we going to do, but even the methods, how are we going to do it? bigger, company gets
the ceo or founder or whoever it is that is leading the company cannot be involved in all of those decisions. bey certainly cannot involved in the methods of how things are going to get done, so you do have to change your leadership approach as the but thescales, principles of the company have not changed. i probably spend more my time now on culture and trying to set for things like customer obsession and inventiveness and things like that. for me, i am kind of a teacher now, so it has changed quite a bit. this great luxury, i love my job. i cap dance in to work. i just got back from an amazing vacation in norway. i got to go dogsledding and go to a will of preserve, and all
of this. you but i couldn't wait to get back to work, because it is so fun. and one reason that it is fun for me is that i get to work in the future. i have a very limited, operational needs. i have constructed my job so that i don't have to be pulled into the present. i can stay to her three years in the future -- stay two or three years in the future. and i tell my team to organize themselves in the same way. we are big enough now that they need to look around corners. if something pulls me into the president -- into the present, it because something has gone wrong. we need to look at as a firefighting exercise, and that's not how to run a business of this scale. so it has changed a lot. host: you were quoted as saying, i believe you have to be willing
to be misunderstood in order to innovate. how are you misunderstood? jeff: if you're going to be do anything new -- if you are going to do anything new or integrative, then you have to be misunderstood. and if you can't tolerate that, for goodness sakes, don't do anything new or innovative. everything we have done has been under -- has been misunderstood by often well-meaning critics, and sometimes by self-interested, insincere critics. i will give you an example. we started this thing called customer reviews, and we let customers review books. we only sold books at that time. a bookrs could rate between one star and five stars and writing text-based review. this is now a very normal thing. crazy,k then, this was
and the book publishers did not because of course, not all the reviews are positive. and i got a letter from one publisher that said, i have a good idea for you. why don't you just published the don't you just published the positive customer reviews? [laughter] and i thought about this, because the point he was making was that our sales would go up if we just published the positive customer reviews. i thought about this and thought, i don't actually believe that, because i don't think we make money when we sell something. we make money when we help somebody make a purchase decision. and it is just a slightly different way of looking at it. because part of what they are paying us for is helping them make a purchase decision. and if you think about it that way, then you want the negative .eviews c too
been extremely helpful for people to have negative reviews, and it has come full circle, where the manufacturer's views the customer reviews to improve the next generation of the product. so it is helping the whole ecosystem. and now, nobody criticizes customer reviews. year 2018; his company were to say, we are only going to publish the positive customer reviews, that would be the crazy thing that would get criticized. so, the new and innovative quickly becomes the new normal, it is a new incumbent idea and criticized.n't get what i preach at amazon is that when we are criticized, there is a simple process you need to go which is, first you
look yourself in the mirror and decide, is your critic right? do you agree? are we doing something wrong? if you are, change. and if you look yourself in the mirror and decide your critic is wrong, as we did with the customer reviews, then do not change no matter how much pressure is brought to bear. do the right thing in that case as well. have a deep keel. you have to have a deep keel. why don't we shift to personal, away from amazon a little bit. if you could write your legacy, what would you want your legacy to read. jeff: world's oldest man. [laughter] i stole that. it is not original. but i love it. let's work on that. i keep telling my biotech friends, hurry.
what the hell, guys? come on. [laughter] if you think long term, and i can talk about this at great length, but long-term, if you take a really long-run view, maybe decades or maybe even a couple of hundred years, i think the most important work on him doing is the work i am doing in blue origin, on space travel. host: why don't we talk about that. from a vision standpoint, i think people should appreciate the horizon you have. let's talk about what i would call your near-term objectives, 75 years, and then your long-term objectives, 100 years to 300 years from now. don'tfirst of all, you choose your passions. your passions juju. all of us are gifted with certain passions, and the people who are lucky other ones who get to follow those things.
i advise our young employees and interns and so on, and my kids, you can have a job or you can have a career, or you can have a calling. and if you can somehow figure out that calling, you have hit the jackpot, because that is a big deal. and most people don't get there. you are very lucky if you have a career. a lot of people and up with a job. had beenr me, i interested in rockets, space travel, propulsion, since i was a five year old boy. i have spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about it. so it is not like i really have a choice to follow this passion. it has captured me. but i think it is very important that we go out into space as a reason ison, and the not the one that i think is
common. there are many reasons that are given. one of the reasons out there is thery old idea, and one of people who first articulated it very well was arthur c clarke. he said all civilizations become spacefaring or extinct. and that may be technically true but long enough horizon, that idea is one that has come that we have all of our eggs in one basket and we need a plan b. civilization some where else on another planet in the solar system, then when earth gets destroyed, humanity will still be fine. i find this particular argument incredibly on motivating -- motivating.un we have now sent robotic probes
to every planet in this solar system. believe me, this is the best one. [laughter] it is not close. move tods who want to mars, i say, i have an idea for you. why don't you first, for a year, moved to the top of mount everest. because the top of mount everest is a garden paradise compared to mars. planet isis a -- this a jewel. is unbelievable, and as you travel around, the more you see how incredible it is. and i'm not just talking about nature, i'm talking about the civilization we have built and the urban cities and all of these amazing things. so we need to protect it. and i am not even talking about protecting it from asteroids or nuclear holocaust, although all of this things are important and valid, but we don't need to
worry about that because we have something more certain that is a problem. and that is, if you take courage, baseline energy usage on earth today, global energy usage, and compound that at just 3% a year, then in just a few hundred years, you are going to have to cover the entire surface of the earth in solar cells. that is how powerful compounding is. by the way, we have been growing energy usage at a few percent a year for a long time. has a lotvilization of advantages because we increase our energy usage. the human body, and a state of nature, if you are just an animal in the state of nature, your body, your metabolic rate uses about 100 watts of power. person in a developed country, your
civilization per capita metabolic rate is 11,000 watts. we use a lot of energy. that is about as much energy as a blue whale uses. ande are billions of us, most of us aren't even really living in the lifestyle of a developed country yet, but they will be very soon, and we help they will be. we want them to. ad you are going to face choice, and you won't face this choice, and i won't face the choice, but your grandchildren's grandchildren will face this choice. do you want to live in a world of stasis? have one want to trillion humans living in the solar system? the solar system is big. earth is small. small,th's surface is so
it captures a tiny, tiny fraction of the solar output. once you go out into space, you have, for practical purposes, once again unlimited resources. if you had one trillion humans you would have 1000 mozart and 1000 einstein's, and so on and so on. that would be an incredible civilization that you would want your grandchildren's grandchildren to live in. i think ultimately, earth becomes zoned, residential and light industrial. and we will have universities here and beautiful parks and houses, but we won't have big factories. all of that will be much better done in i were we have access to much higher-quality resources. that is a multi-hundred year vision. my piece of this vision is, i am taking my amazon lottery
winnings and i am converting them into reusable rocket loweres, so that we can the cost of access to space. because right now, the price of admission to do the interesting things in space is just too high. if i look at what amazon was able to do 20 years ago, we didn't have to build a transportation network. it already existed. that heavy lifting was in place. we didn't have to build a payment system. that heavy lifting had already been done, it was the credit card system. we did have to put a computer at every desk, that had hourly been done as well, mostly for playing games, by the way. to all the pieces of heavy lifting were already in place 20 years ago. that is why, with $1 million i could start this company. betterre are even examples on the internet over the last 20 years. facebook started in a dorm room.
i guarantee you, to kids cannot build a giant space company in their dorm room. it is impossible. but i want to create the heavy-liftingi guarantee infraso the hard part, so that a future generation, to kids in a dorm room will be able to create a giant space company. so that is the goal. [applause] thank you. achieve thegoing to vision i just laid out, with one trillion humans living in space and having this dynamic world without a big industry, makeup -- made up of thousands of companies. but it has to start out with making the vehicles much more productive. right now, you use a rocket once and then you throw it away, and that is just a very expensive way to do business. discussn i get you to your vision, this may not be germane to the work you are doing, but you are one of the great thinkers. artificial intelligence, pros and cons. heard people talk about great benefits, we have heard about disrupting and changing
and leaving us a jobless society, we have heard a time as weapons are a disaster. where do you fall on your vision of where artificial intelligence is going to go, and some of the more cautionary items and the benefits. mentioned a few things there. each of those is worth visiting is there different. a time as weapons are extremely scary. weapons ares extremely scary. right now, we don't need general ai. the things that we have now, think of those things as narrow ai, machine vision and so on. to build incredibly scary, we don'ts weapons, need general ai. some of these weapons are very scary.
smart people need to be thinking andut that, do a lot of r d. be bigould have to treaty like the geneva convention or something to help regulate his weapons, because they have a lot of issues. so that when i think is genuinely scary. the idea that there is going to overlord thati subjugates us or kills us all, i think is not something to worry about. that is overhyped. first of all, we are nowhere close to knowing how to build a general ai, something that could set its own objectives. we have no idea. it is not even a valid research area, we are so far back on that one. is a very that long-term prospect, if it even happens.
but second of all, it is unlikely that such a thing's first instincts would be to exterminate us. that would seem surprising to me. much more likely, it will help because we are preferably capable of hurting ourselves -- we are perfectly capable of hurting ourselves. i'm optimistic about that when it don't think we need to worry about it today. and, is ai going to put everybody out of work? i'm not worried about this. of us, ie people, all include myself, we are so unimaginative about what future jobs are going to look like, and what they are going to be. back 100 years, when a most everyone was a and we are at some big farming convention or something 2018,say, in the year
there is going to be a job occupation called massage therapist. [laughter] they would not have believed you. i was telling this story to a friend and they said, jeff, forget massage therapist, there are dog psychiatrist. psychiatrists. and i went and looked that up on the internet. you could easily higher a dog psychiatrist for your dog. humans like to do things that we like to be productive, and we will figure out things to do. and we will use these tools to make ourselves more powerful. and what i predict is the jobs will get more engaging. you have to remember, a lot of jobs today are quite routine, they are not necessarily anybody's as i said before, career or calling. and i predict that because of artificial intelligence and its
ability to automate certain tasks that in the past work impossible to automate, not only will we have a much wealthier civilization, but that the veryty of work will go up significantly, and a higher fraction of people will have callings and careers, relative today -- relative to today. i'll bring you back to the present, and i would be remiss if we didn't talk about your purchase of the washington coast. -- washington post. in 2013.ought the post was still a fantastic institution at that time, but it was in great financial difficulty. it is a fixed-cost business, as almost all publishing is, and
the revenues over about six 2008, to 20137, had been cut in half from $1 billion a year to half $1 billion a year. fixed-costme in a business, puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the business. they needed to reduce the size of the newsroom, layoff or orders, and it was very difficult. and don graham, fixed-cost business, puts a tremendous whose family owned the paper for a long time, he contacted me through an intermediary. we had known each other from most 20 years, actually. and i was very surprised when he said he was interested in selling the paper, and he wanted , i said look, i am not the right buyer because i don't know anything about the newspaper business. and he said, we don't need that, we have lots of people who know the newspaper business. we need somebody who understands
the internet better. and this was a great act of love by don because the paper was in their family for a long time, and he cared more about the paper than he cared about his ownership of it. is an of you know him, he incredible gentleman, just a wonderful guy. so, over several conversations he convinced me i could help read and then i had to convince myself of a couple of things. one of them was, did i really believe it was an important institution? and that was a really quick case for me to get through. i felt very powerfully that it was an important institution. i do believe democracy dies in darkness. resides in paper washington dc, the capital city of the united states of america, the most powerful country in the world, it needs a paper like the washington post. so it was easy to decide it was an important institution.
i would not have helped to turn salty, snack food company. i have better things to do. that is why to meet was so important. i might buy a really well-run, healthy snack food company, but that would just be an investment. [laughter] gate i hade second to go through after that was, i wanted to convince myself that hopeless. because if it had been hopeless, also i would not want to get involved, but i didn't think it was. hopeless. and it has turned up to work very, very well. we did one simple thing. to make it sound simple, the team has done an amazing amount of work and we have a great editor and a great publisher, and a great technical leader. we have a killer team at the post, but the big strategic
change at the post was flipping it from being a fantastic, local and regional newspaper, to being a fantastic, global and national newspaper. and the reason we did that was very simple. the internet to waste so many away -- the internet took so many gifts for newspapers, mostly like ad monopolies and that sort of thing. but the internet dissolved most of the gifts the newspapers had, but the one gift that it brought to newspapers was almost free global distribution, because you can do it digitally. so we refocused on that. we had to switch from making a relatively large amount of money per reader, on a relatively small amount of readers, to a small amount per reader on a very larger number of readers. and that is what we have done. jeff: a couple of quick ones. who do you emulate?
host: a role model? a bunch of people. i have been a war and buffett fan since my early 20's -- a warren buffett fan since my early 20's. i read the things he writes. think, the ceos today that i think.amie dimon, i of ceos that ie think, if i were a big shareholder and j.p. morgan chase, i would show up every morning with pastries and coffee like,mie, and i would be happy? are you good? i think he is a terrific executive in a very complicated company. same thing with bob eiger at disney, i think he is a superb executive. i would probably bring him pastries.
[laughter] host: healthy pastries. jeff: i hadn't thought about that. that's right. and outside of that, i have had lots of role models throughout my life. some of my teachers at river oaks elementary school that you mentioned. i had my parents, who i talked about earlier. i didn't talk about my grandfather but he was a gigantic influence. i had the great fortune, because my mom was so young, my grandparents would take me every four,, starting at age every summer, to give her a break, really, for the whole summer. with myld be grandparents on their ranch in texas, halfway between san antonio and laredo. we lived in houston and would make the 5 hour drive, they would drop me off and spend a
couple of days and then drive back to houston and i would stay the summer. and every day on the ranch, i went with my grandfather to help. boy on a ranch in south texas is not a lot of help, but i didn't know that. i thought i was helping. and by the time i was 16 i actually was helping. a cow, i can fix windmills. my grandfather was so resourceful that he made his own veterinary needles. he would take a piece of wire and pounded flat with an oxyacetylene torch and then drill a little hole through it. veterinaryof our own work. some of the cattle even survived. [laughter] but we had great fun out there. we built barns and welded things.
caterpillard6 alldozer dude, it was like 1955 model year, for $5,000. it was completely broken, the gears were stripped and we spent all summer repairing that. the first thing we had to do to repair it was to build a crane to take the gears out of the transmission. when i learned from watching him was just how resourceful he was. he didn't ever call a repairman, he figured it out. of i do think that is one the things that was super lucky for me, to grow up in that environment where you got the seed resourcefulness in action. so my grandfather, a giant role model. you are an american icon, and these stories reflect how grounded you are. and starting a company from the time when you were doing it yourself, to today, and maintaining that touches that you have and at the same time,
that vision, that is what leadership is all about. onthe bush center we focus recognizing leadership, and that is what we are doing this week. i want to thank you. i want to remind people that in honor of the fifth anniversary of the bush center, our friends at northern trust have made it free of charge to go through the bush library and museum, starting today and extending through next friday. thank you for that. thank you to our wonderful friends at smu. thank you all, for being here. please join me in thanking one of the great americans, jeff bezos. [applause]
>> fisher to watch washington journal live at 5:00 is dedicated during the discussion. here is a look at some of the program highlights for this memorial day weekend. saturday on c-span. at 9:30, the monk debate. is political correctness a threat to free speech? meacham.v, john , archivaln history tv films of world war i.
6:30, chrisspan at christie at the university of chicago institute of politics. on book tv on c-span2 at 9:00 eastern, james clapper. tv, a on american history tour of the battlefield monuments and american cemetery in france. 11:00,l day on c-span at live coverage of the recent lighting ceremony. on book tv, in-depth with .ovelist david l.jpg programs marking the centennial of world war i. on themorial day weekend c-span networks. go to c-span.org for more programs and times.
>> bismarck's great skill as a grand strategist was that he knew the advantages of shock and all. this is how unified germany in the 1860's. he instigated wars with denmark. eventually france itself. he started them himself. having done that and having achieved his objective, which was the unification of germany, he stopped and became a consolidator rather than an instigator. his next 20 years in power as german chancellor were devoted to trying to build reassuring alliances to build a web of alliances with all of germany's neighbors so that they would get used to the idea of a unified germany. it was that distinction between shock and off and knowing when to stop and do something else. >> john lewis gaddis and his