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Amazon and Hughes Marino: Cultures of Excellence Defined by Day 1

By J.P. Roach

“The key to staying on top of things
Is treat everything like it’s your first project,
Like it’s your first day, like, back when you was an intern
That’s how you try to treat things, just stay hungry.” – Notorious B.I.G.

If you are reading this and wondering what rap song lyrics have to do with a global powerhouse retailer and cloud services provider, and the industry leader in commercial real estate tenant and buyer representation, stick with me, the answer will interest you!

Amazon has become a universal brand, and CEO Jeff Bezos has set himself apart as one of the most respected executives in the world. Famed investor Warren Buffett spoke recently on Bezos, indicating he “is the most remarkable business person of our age. I’ve never seen a guy succeed in two businesses almost simultaneously that are really quite divergent in terms of customers and all the operations.”

Consider that last statement, extraordinary accomplishments in two unrelated businesses with unique audiences. What is the secret of Amazon’s success? I found the answer in Bezos’ Annual 2017 Shareholder Letter, definitely worth a read, and was excited to see so many parallels to the Hughes Marino Way.

Day 1

From Amazon’s inception in 1997, Bezos has built a corporate culture based on a single principle: Always maintain a Day 1 mindset. This implies treating each day as if it was the day the company was founded, with a collective passion and a hunger to succeed and innovate. A Day 1 approach motivates executives and employees to stay fresh and never get complacent, or take anything for granted. “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1,” he said.

Day 1 is not Corporate speak. I should know, I work for a Day 1 organization. Looking at Amazon, you might see the Prime Membership, Echo, Web Services and content, and think extraordinary products and services. Behind all of that growth however, Bezos and his talented team are pro-actively working to ensure Day 2 never arrives. Bezos believes in “a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.”

The Architecture

Assessing these components, I see them infused in the culture of Hughes Marino and codified in our ten Core Values. With respect to a customer-obsessed culture, which Bezos maintains “is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality,” our teammates have one goal: provide our clients with the finest service offerings in the industry. The Hughes Marino brand is Excellence, and we have an unfaltering passion for delivering best-in-class quality. This commitment to our clients stems from our belief that companies do not provide services—people do. A customer satisfaction obsession demands that we have exceptionally talented people on our team who are obsessed with a united vision of cultivating excellence.

We believe a wariness of proxies is what allows us to consistently fulfill our promise of unparalleled service. Bezos points to “process as proxy…you stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you’re doing the process right.” At Hughes Marino, we are big believers in process, but understand that procedures alone do not guarantee results. To counteract apathy and a reliance on the routine and familiar, we are constantly improving our process to stay competitive and relevant in the marketplace, which helps to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of superior service. We know relationships and client trust are at the core of our premier offerings, and a rigorous process is requisite to those ends.

On external trends, Bezos said: “The outside world can push you into Day 2 if you won’t or can’t embrace powerful trends quickly.” Our leadership team realized literally from Day 1 that our business model was going to transform the industry. Tenant and buyer representation only…never landlords. We saw a hunger from an unrepresented class of clients in the marketplace who wanted an advocate in transactions. Our team has advanced this approach not only in our business, but also from an industry perspective. We strongly endorsed Jason Hughes’ vision of transparency through passage of California’s commercial real estate broker agency disclosure law (SB 1171). Even now, he is pushing forward a bold initiative to end the practice of Dual Agency in California (AB 1059), and nationally is providing a forum for championing tenant rights with the formation of the Association for Commercial Tenants (ACT). We pride ourselves in seeing the coming trends and being adept in our approach to seizing opportunities; be they in technology, employee engagement and culture, or expanding our footprint to new locales, states and regions.

High-velocity decision making must be at the core of a Day 1 philosophy. As Bezos indicates: “To keep the energy and dynamism of Day 1, you have to somehow make high-quality, high-velocity decisions.” Together, from the executives to our phenomenal teammates, we have a spirit, which Bezos defines as “disagree and commit.” This approach acknowledges that critical business decisions are not made in a vacuum, nor can they be made without the demands and pressures of time and with all information complete or known.

B.I.G Time

A Day 1 mentality is who we are. As an organization it is in our DNA. Reflecting on the similarities between Amazon and Hughes Marino, the lyrics say it all:

“The key to staying on top of things
Is treat everything like it’s your first project,
Like it’s your first day.”

Our Core Value #10 is “Be authentic, grateful and humble.” Each and every one of us at Hughes Marino is thankful for the success we have and never take that for granted. We also realize that success is something that needs to be worked toward and earned every single day. In that spirit, Bezos is absolutely correct in the sign-off of his Letter… “It remains Day 1.”

J.P. Roach is a vice president of Hughes Marino, an award-winning California commercial real estate company specializing in tenant representation and building purchases with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Contact J.P. at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT or jp@hughesmarino.com to learn more.



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