There are many reasons Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world right now. Perhaps one reason is that he doesn’t entertain slideshow-based presentations from his colleagues.
Instead, as he explains in the video above, “We write narratively structured six-page memos.” (His observations start around the 24-minute mark.)
How do meetings at Amazon go, then? “We silently read [memos] at the beginning of each meeting in a kind of ‘study hall’,” said Bezos, adding that the six-page memos are “narratively structured with real sentences, topic sentences, verbs and nouns...not just bullet points.” The aim of the narrative memos is to set the context for interesting discussions and insights, and Bezos found them to be far more effective than presentations.
Bezos admits it is probably the “weirdest meeting culture”, that comes as a culture shock to most new executives. He even humorously likens the idea of quietly reading memos during meetings – which take approximately 30-minutes to read – to high school.
The ban surfaced online around 2004, when an Amazon employee uploaded a copy of an email sent by Bezos on the subject.