The Jeff Bezos Hockey Stick Rule: If a technology is growing exponentially, don’t blow the opportunity like most do

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In 1994, a 30-year-old Jeff Bezos was a vice president at a prestigious hedge fund in New York City.

One day, as he was researching markets, he came across a fascinating fact. This fringe thing that people called the Internet was growing at an incredible 2,300% per year.

Immediately, the opportunity alarm bells went off in Bezos’ head. “Things just don’t grow that fast! The Internet might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he thought to himself.

Now, put yourself in Bezos’ shoes for a minute. After years of hard work, you’ve finally made it. You’re highly paid, your work is stimulating, and you’re on the fast track. You’re also recently married and planning to have kids in the next few years. While the Internet is growing, many “experts” believe that it’s a toy now and always will be.

Which path do you take:

  1. Go all in on the new thing?
  2. Keep researching the Internet opportunity part-time?
  3. Focus on your knitting?

We all know how the story ends. Bezos took the plunge. He decided to leave his cushy job, drive across the country with his wife, and start Amazon. The Internet took off. As they say, the rest is history.

Although Amazon was founded nearly 30 years ago, the underlying dilemma is just as relevant…

When confronted with a big new technology, tool, or other change in the world that is growing exponentially, should we copy Bezos and go all in or stick to our knitting? Put differently, should we be an early adopter or laggard?



Michael Simmons (

I teach people to learn HOW to learn / Serial entrepreneur / Bestselling author / Contributor: Time, Fortune, and Harvard Business Review)