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What can Jeff Bezos’ motto teach us about ecommerce?

Nelson Jordan, head of The Ecommerce Profits, takes a quick look at what we can learn from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Space Travel company


Hey, everyone.

Have you heard the phrase ‘gradatim ferociter’ before? Well it’s a favourite phrase of Jeff Bezos, the billionaire who built Amazon, and it’s actually the motto of one of his other companies, which is called Blue Origin and that company focuses on space travel. 

So, that phrase again – ‘gradatim ferociter’…what does it mean? It means ‘step by step, ferociously’.

I really like that – ‘Step by step, ferociously’.

Jeff Bezos explained that when you’re building something as important and as life and death as a vehicle that’s going into space, which is obviously one of the most unforgiving environments that there is, that you can’t cut any corners. You can’t skip out any steps and just get the end result. You can’t take a shortcut round the hard work, you just have to put one foot in front of the other.

But the second part of that phrase, ‘ferociter’, which means ferociously, is just as important. It means, that we should attack each step with ferocity and energy and vigour, regardless of whether we enjoy that particular step or task. Each step is a part of the process, and if it’s a part of the process, that means it’s essential. If it’s essential then it’s just as important as any other steps that you have to go through. It doesn’t matter if it’s not fun, or it feels really tedious and arduous to complete it or even get started on it. We still need to prioritise and attack it regardless of our feelings.

So, what does this mean for ecommerce owners, and agencies, and store owners specifically?

It means that we have to understand that running a successful ecommerce business involves a lot of steps, a huge amount of steps, and that each one is important to get right, and each one has to be done well, with energy, and vigour and gusto.

Ecommerce involves a whole host of different areas – everything from logistics, to sourcing and manufacturing products, to marketing, to customer service, and there are just so many components, so it’s only natural that the tasks we are less passionate about or we’re less experienced in and more apprehensive of, we put on the backburner.

And deep down, we know that these tasks are important, but we put them off. It might be, spending some time to research a new delivery partner, it might be diving deep into your analytics, it might be doing deeper customer research or experimenting or refining a new marketing channel.

So, if you’ve been putting off a particular task, and you know it’s essential, then I’d urge you to need to pick it back up again, to give it another step, and attack it step by step, ferociously.

If there’s anything you’ve been putting off, that you’ve been inspired to work on because of that phrase ‘gradatim ferociter’ then let me know in the comments, and make sure to share this video with your ecommerce team or anyone else who needs to hear this message.

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