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Octopus for Breakfast: Insight into Jeff Bezos’ bizarre investment strategy

Whether it’s billionaires warren buffet, Bill Gates Where Jeff Bezos, everyone has their own investment and business creation ideologies. But Bezos may have one of the weirder ones.

In 2014, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) continued to ramp up and acquired a company called Woot.com for over $100 million. But when Bezos invited Woot founder Matt Rutledge to spend the day with him — including breakfast — something weird happened.

Bezos, founder and then CEO of Amazon, ordered something different from what most would expect for breakfast: octopus. At first it wasn’t a topic of discussion, but when Rutledge asked Bezos why he decided to acquire Woot, that changed.

After a brief pause, Bezos reportedly said, “You’re the octopus I eat for breakfast. When I look at the menu, you’re the thing I don’t understand, the thing I’ve never eaten. I must have the breakfast octopus.”

This encrypted message might not seem like much at first, but there’s an important lesson built in. When building a startup or business, it’s essential to create something no one else has and make it hard to replicate. This does not necessarily mean patents. It can be people, culture, data or a strong community. If you’re doing the exact same thing everyone else is doing, but what you’re doing works, people want to know why. A daily deals site like Woot wasn’t revolutionary, but it had a formula that worked and evolved.

Investors should also take this into account. There are thousands of companies and your money is limited. It’s critical to consider what a company’s fluke is, so if it’s acquired by Amazon, it doesn’t get the Amazon Basics treatment. Amazon is notorious for finding easy-to-copy items, making a cheap counterfeit, and selling them under the Amazon Basics brand.

A good example of this is the recent acquisition of iRobot by Amazon. While Amazon could easily compete with the technology, many have speculated that the real reason for the acquisition was the company’s data. Roomba creates a map of your home as it cleans so it doesn’t hit walls. Many have speculated that Amazon doesn’t care about robots at all — just the millions of blueprints of American homes that iRobot has.

As investment platforms like Start the engine prominence, retail investors often wonder what to look for when investing in startups. There are obviously dozens of considerations, but this bizarre encounter might have a valuable lesson behind it.

See more on start-up investment by Benzinga

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