Expectations Debt

This post is by Collab Fund from Collab Fund

I live in Seattle, and Amazon is our giant. A third of my neighbors work for the company.

When Amazon was on top of the world in 2021 – reputation gleaming, stock price booming – you could feel the pride and prosperity. You could practically smell it.

I once heard that 90% of culture is just “winning,” – when a company is winning, everyone’s happy, rich, being promoted, and they see their work as contributing to something bigger than themselves.

That was Amazon in 2021.

Then Jeff Bezos left, the stock fell 50%, 10,000 employees were laid off, and hundreds of thousands more fear they’re next.

That is now the scent wafting around my neighborhood.

It is so clear, so obvious, how the mood has shifted.

So here’s the question: What do you call the top-of-the-world status Amazon had in 2021? Was it a gift? A reward for hard work? The natural swings of capitalism?

Yes, all of those.

But there’s another way to look at it: An expectations debt.

Expectations were so high in 2021 that investors and employees had to achieve extraordinary things just to break even. When results were merely good, they felt terrible.

Expectations are like a debt that must be repaid before you get any joy out of what you’re doing.

The hard thing is that every company and every employee wants to have what Amazon had in 2021 – winning, wealth, prestige, reputation. But look at what it led to now, after the expectations (Read more...)