How to build a billion dollars company from pennies is the second largest private employer and the most valuable retailer in the United States. Despite having a market cap of $766 billion with 2017 revenue of $177.86 billion and making a profit of $3 billion per year (source: wikipedia), Amazon is known for being frugal since its inception.

Jeff Bezos started in 1994 with $10,000. 24 years later (2018), Jeff Bezos became the richest man on the earth with $130 billion in net worth.

Jeff Bezos builds Amazon with the laser focus on customers. Being frugal is one of the main ingredients in the culture of the richest man on the earth and his company:

Frugality: We try not to spend money on things that don’t matter to customers. Frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for headcount, budget size, or fixed expense.

Following are some of ways that Amazon and Jeff Bezos show the culture of being frugal:

  • Nobody flew first class.
  • Everybody stayed in budget hotels.
  • The company did not pay for anyone’s cell phone bill.
  • No extra point is rewarded for headcount or budget size.
  • Nobody has an office with big desks.
  • No free Amazon Prime subscription for employees
  • All light bulb was taken out of the cafeteria vending machine in 2009.
  • No free soda.
  • The parking fee of $220 per month is only reimbursed for $180.
  • Conference room tables are a collection of blond-wood door desks shoved together side by side.
  • The vending machine takes credit cards.
  • Food in the cafeteria is not subsidized.
  • Employees are asked to returned all equipment including the backpack when they resign.
  • A coffee stand on the first floor of the Pac Med building handed out loyalty cards so customers can get a free drink after 10th purchase. Jeff Bezos often stood in line and had his card punched.
  • Jeff Bezos himself keeps his salary at $81,840.
  • Jeff drives a little Honda for years since founded Amazon.
  • When Amazon first had a $5000 day, his employees wanted to throw a party and Jeff turned it down: “There are a lot of milestones coming and that’s not the way I want to run things.”
  • In its early day, Amazon held business meetings at a local coffee shop (as they had no conference room nor wanted to rent one). All printing or copying was done at a nearby printing shop.
  • When Amazon went public in 1997, employees were handed inexpensive local beers and were told not to overcelebrate over its stock price.
  • In 2003, Jeff Bezos removed all new installed TVs in conference rooms as it’s an extravagant expenditure.
  • Jeff Bezos was mad when he found out someone shipped the company’s symbols to Europe.

Jeff Bezos took Sam Walton’s principles of building Walmart to heart. Bezos sticks to one goal: Being everyday’s lowest price retailer. He’s deliberate about cost. Jeff Bezos believes strongly that frugality drives innovation:

One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.

To Jeff Bezos, everyday is just day 1.

If you want to build a start-up successfully or want to figure out how to stay on top of the competition, learn how this giant built and runs: being frugal. And really start with the penny.

The mastery of self – the notes and quotes

The mastery of self:

  1. Unconditional love vs. conditional love
  2. Goal settings from the place of unconditional love

As human beings, we have wants and desires. When we become too attached to those desires and wants and they aren’t fulfilled, the result is that we suffer.

Attachment is the action of taking something that is not a part of you and making it a part of you through emotional or energetic investment. The key to realize here is that attachment is not a part of you but you make it so. This also means you can make it not so.

Domestication is the system of control. It’s the way we learn conditional love. An example of domestication: my kid got a bad grade from school. He showed it to me. Coming from conditional love, I would scold him for getting a bad grade. I would tell him that it’s very bad to get a bad grade and that he’s a very bad kid for not doing well in school. He would see my temper and learn that in order to be good, he must get a good grade. The moment he realized that, he’s domesticated. He would do anything to get good grades in order to be a good boy and gain my love. I successfully control him by putting a system of good grades equalling good boy.

When we become so domesticated by or attached to a belief or idea that we can’t let go of it, our choices narrow until any notion of choices is really an illusion. Our beliefs now define us and will dictate our choice. We are no longer the master of our own self.

We can choose to let go in order to be in control. This is real control. Doing so is the mastery of self in action.

“Humans are the only animals on the planet that self-domesticate.”

Self-domestication is the act of accepting ourselves on the condition that we live up to the ideals we have adopted from others without ever considering if those ideals are what we truly want. In other words, we live the life of someone else without even being aware of it. It’s absolutely ok to live up to the ideals we adopt from others as long as we are aware of it and fully choose to do so. The point is the we make a conscious choice.

Attachment does not always come from domestication, but domestication left unchecked always lead to attachment.

The cure for domestication and attachment is unconditional love.

Conditional love only allows us to see what we want to see and domesticates anyone who doesn’t fit our projected image. The keyword of conditional love is “if”. “If you do this, I will give you my love.”

Unconditional love allows us to see other as they truly are: beautiful expression of their greatness.

The mastery of self sees all beings through the eye of unconditional love.

At its core, domestication is a system of control and conditional love is its primary tool.

The key to transform ourselves is to bring unconditional love to all of ourselves, including our fear, enemy….

If we see the world through the eyes of conditional love, we are by definition attempting to control others, imposing our wills so that they conform to the definition of who and what we think they should be. If they don’t agree to our demands, they will receive the punishment of our judgement. However, we are merely punishing them for not following the agreement they never made.

When we see another with the eyes of unconditional love, we are then able to clearly see who is actually in front of us, a living being who is trying to survive and thrive in a world filled with domestication and conditional love. Unconditional love allows us to disagree with the choices or beliefs of others while still respecting their right to have them.

Coming from the place of unconditional love rather than conditional love may still involve doing or saying something that others don’t like; but speaking our truth from a place of love and respect is the mastery of self in action.

When we come from the place of unconditional love, we can have the confidence that whatever action we take is the right one and the outcome of any situation is beyond our control. We can be responsible for what we say but we can not be responsible for what others hear.

The following are direct quotes from the Mastery of Self:


“Not approaching someone you would like to meet or not applying for a position you aspire to have is not the same as when our body acts instinctually, as the former are learned behaviors, rooted in past domestication of “not being good enough.” If left unchecked, attachment to this idea will control you to the point that any choice you think you have is an illusion. A Master of Self cultivates the practice of awareness, and in so doing is conscious of the choices he or she makes so that they are reflective of his or her Authentic Self.”

“Only when we have cultivated the practice of awareness can we know if we are making choices based on what we really want, or if we are making choices based on our domestication and attachments.”

“Choosing the opposite for the sake of the opposite is often dictated by fear, and any choice that is dictated by fear is not a free choice, no matter how well intentioned it may be.”

“The simple act of pausing before making a decision or taking an action, thinking about what you really want in a situation versus what may be an automatic choice, is the first step in breaking the cycle of the automatic.”

“What do I really want right now? ”

“First, by becoming conscious of all the little choices you have throughout the day and by taking a path that is contrary to your usual choice, you will train your mind to observe what is happening in the present moment, rather than wander about as it usually does when it deems a choice is “unimportant.”

“Second, by making different choices with the little things (some of which you may end up preferring over your normal choice), you prepare yourself to answer the question, What do I really want now? when the larger choices arise”

“Third, by making different choices with the little things in your life and discovering the variety of possibilities, you step into the unknown, or the only place where true transformation can occur.”

“The part of the Mastery of Self is being able to detach from any identity you have acquired”

“As a Master of Self you recognize this, and it allows you to respect the projection of others, especially when doing so is helpful. This is shape-shifting.”

“A shape-shifter is formless because life is formless. Mind you, knowledge creates and gives us form; thus, a mask gives us form in the perception of another.”

“Seeing others through the eyes of unconditional love allows you to make the best decision in the moment as to whether or not to wear a mask, or to shape-shift in their perception. The most important thing is that you be aware when someone is projecting a mask onto you, because then you can make a conscious choice as to what action you will take in each situation.”

“The world around us is virtual; it is all a dream. And in my family’s Toltec tradition, we absolutely insist on creating enjoyable experiences in the Dream. In other words, we like to have fun!”

“That is the trap that the Master of Self avoids, and the way to do so is by loving yourself unconditionally, seeing that you are already perfect in this moment and there is no goal you need to obtain to be worthy of your own love.”

“As a Master of Self, the way out is to remind yourself that you are perfect in this moment and you don’t need to do or achieve anything in order to be complete. ”

“As a Master of Self your priority is to love yourself unconditionally throughout the process of working toward any goal you have set for yourself.”

“Setting goals from a place of unconditional self-love”

“The first step is to remind yourself that this is something you want to do”

“A wonderful benefit of setting goals this way is that when you have unconditional self-love throughout the process, you’ll find that a natural self-confidence grows within you as you move along the path toward your goal’s achievement”

“When you use unconditional self-love as the starting point when setting any goal, you remain aware that perfection is not tied to the end result, but rather the reality of the present moment.”

“You were perfect at the onset and you are perfect now; you are perfect throughout. You are aware the entire time that the end result won’t define you.”

“A Master of Self knows that life will always provide exactly what is needed in the moment.”

“When you live your life from a mindset of trust rather than a place of fear, the result is that you stop trying to force or control the people and situations that are happening around you and instead surrender to whatever life brings.”

“In this case, you can begin to compare yourself to your role model, and use their positive example as a tool to chide or whip yourself for not being more like them. You create conditions on your self-love based on a desire to be like someone else.”

“Another trap related to role models occurs when you mistakenly believe that a single role model or teacher has all of your answers. ”

From: don Miguel Ruiz. “The Mastery of Self

PS: if this article inspires you, don’t wait. Take action immediately. If you want to have a powerful coaching conversation, contact me by sending me an email to

Don’t search in the light while what you are looking for is in the darkness

An engineer comes to a coach: “I can’t seem to move up no matter what I do. Last year my boss told me to improve my communication as I pissed people off. I took many courses on communication. I still don’t get promoted and people still hate me.”

Coach: “Ok, I can help you. First, let me tell you a story.”

An old man was walking home late one night when he saw a friend on his knees under a street light, searching for something.
“What are you doing?” he asked his friend.
“I dropped the key to my house.”
“I will help you look.”
After a few minutes of frustrated searching, the old man asked, “Where exactly were you when you dropped the key?”
His friend pointed toward the darkness. “Over there.”
“Then why are you looking for it here?”
“Because this is where the light is.”

Coach: “You took courses and did what your boss told you to do. However, those things only help you fix certain things. You were looking for the key in the light instead of the darkness, where it actually is.”

The engineer’s mind is clicked. He takes on a transformational journey with the coach and becomes a powerful leader.

You talk, I listen. I talk, you listen.

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#thesamuraicoach, #ProductivityDownside, #WorkplaceBonds, #RulesMotivation

The secret: how to stay positive when meeting negative people

An engineer asks his coach: “Coach, my energy is very positive now. I am living my life. What do I do when I meet a negative person?”

Coach: “You will never truly be happy until other people stop being a problem for you. If someone is still making you feel bad, you are a victim of a victim. Here’s a quote from Gandhi that woke me up long time ago: Be the change you want to see in others.”

Engineer: “I got it coach. Other people can’t be my problem. Rather, they give me an opportunity for giving. I must be an example for them to follow. That’s a way of giving.”

Be the change you wish to see in others. Lead by example. Inspire others.

[Tagging those topics as you can apply the same to liberate yourself]

#gandhi, #thesamuraicoach, #LeadersAreMade, #RemoteWorkers#SearchingForPurpose

Hiring 101 – the best way to grow a business


The legend has it that the advertising agency empire-builder David Ogilvy established a tradition of welcoming new executives with a gift of five wooden dolls, each smaller than the other, one inside the other.


When the recipient finally gets to the fifth little doll, the smallest doll, and opens it, he finds this message: if each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs, but if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.

If you surround yourself and spend time with people who are “smaller” than you, you will stay as you are.

A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him. – John Maxwell

P/S: Inquiry about coaching and business consulting is welcome.