Jeff Bezos Is Secretly Kind of Dumb, And Other Amazing Truths about Genius Founders

Douglas Crets
4 min readFeb 9, 2020

You wouldn’t think it, but Bezos is so successful because he’s not that good at some things. It turns out, many founders are. This is something we share with founders all the time in our Greater Southeast Asia Accelerator for Blockchain and AI, AppWorks, based in Taiwan.

Photo by Daniel Eledut on Unsplash

Founders eventually realize that it’s really counterproductive to generate completely brand new thinking to new problems, according to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. To do otherwise is really stupid.

This sounds counterintuitive in describing the startup approach of one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, so I’ll explain.

For Bezos, being a successful entrepreneur is not about solving each specific problem in a specifically unique way.

That’s way too narrow-minded. That is, as the cliche states, reinventing the wheel.

It takes a lot of energy.

Success in startup problem-solving is more about being efficient with your learning, and building maps and templates by gaining as much experience as possible, in many categories.

This founder advantage will enable a founder to implement a pattern-matching mentality to constant challenges in business and life.

Bezos figured this out when he was in university, when he realized how much he sucked at math.

Encountering a really difficult problem in university led him, out of frustration, to seek the help of another student who was much better than him and his roommate at math.

What he learned was that maybe you don’t have to be good at math to solve a math problem. You have to be good at recognizing and creating solutions.

Founders can attempt this approach.

Begin to ask, “Should I look at each problem as a unique problem that has never been solved before? Or… should I develop a better way to solve ANY problems?”

Like Bezos, you too can be a great founder. Try the following:

1. Seek the help of someone who knows more and see things differently — partner with them, soak up how they see the world; get good at thinking in their shoes, learn how they do it. Apply these lessons and attack the problem with a new angle.

2. Get good at building up a mental catalog of models, or maps, of problem-solving — develop a series of lenses for your thinking. This way you can approach each new experience with a range of experiences from the past that suggest a pattern of logic going forward, for any problems.

This opens the mind to approaches and focuses on solution creation, rather than trying to beat the problem into submission. This often happens when we use a tool so much that we only know how to use that tool. Eventually, the tool becomes very blunt and useless.

3. Realize that what works in one subject may not always be the solution you need. You may have to use something that comes from a similar experience in some other areas.

Founders are always telling us about how in AI, for example, they used a business or sales solution that comes from the hospitality industry, or sports. It really clears out the muddle.

Antoine Datault, Unsplash

If you are a founder in Southeast Asia and Taiwan working on something challenging and new…

Twice a year, we offer an ability to work with over 1,100 founders from many generations of startup creation in Greater Southeast Asia in dozens of startup categories.

You can get information about our portfolio, our classes, and our approach at our website,

Currently, we seek applications in AI and Blockchain, and founders who are thinking way out into the future, and who are focused on learning constantly.

It also so happens to be a fact that over 65% of our graduating founders come from around the southeast Asia region. So, don’t think that Taiwan is too far afield from a region that is dominating in startup growth. It’s just not true.

As a community, our founders tend to put their entire focus on constantly getting smarter and helping others get smarter in a huge region of the world.

We encourage you to come and join them soon.

You can read the Bezos article here.