You Aren’t Criticized for Things You Fail to Try

 A subtle but powerful insight from Jeff Bezos, founder of, via this Q&A in Portfolio:

One of your big initiatives, a search engine called A9, fell flat. What happened? If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table. Companies are rarely criticized for the things that they failed to try. But they are, many times, criticized for things they tried and failed at.


Did you ever get criticized for some­thing you tried that worked out? When we pioneered customer reviews, it was incredibly controversial. I got letters from publishers saying, “You don’t understand your business. You make money when you sell things. Take down those negative customer reviews.” We’ve never done anything of real value that wasn’t at least a little bit controversial when we did it. But if you want to be a pioneer, you have to be comfortable being misunderstood.

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