Jamie Dimon Turned Down Bezos But Learned A Lot From The eCommerce Leader

It wasn’t too long ago that Jamie Dimon, the Chief Executive of one of the world’s largest financial services companies JPMorgan Chase was forced to do an about-face.

After calling cryptocurrency a fraud, the executive realized the potential for the technology that underpins it--blockchain--and did a public walk back. It didn’t help at the time bitcoin surged from $1,000 to $10,000 in a rapid accession.

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But that’s par for the course for an executive that has been in the spotlight for years. Dimon may be best known for successfully steering JPMorgan through tumultuous times but he may have forged a completely different path had he taken Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon up on his offer.

It was back in 1997, when Dimon, who had been fired from Citigroup fielded a call from an Amazon headhunter. He met with Bezos over lunch and while that started a long-lasting friendship, he turned down his job offer, according to CNBC. At the time Amazon was losing money and had less than 300 employees. It was too outside Dimon’s lane for him to join what would become the world’s largest eCommerce company. In an interview with CNBC, Dimon said at the very least he should have purchased the eCommerce giant’s stock back then.

"Most of my money was always involved in my companies," Dimon said. "But in this particular case I should have said, 'You know what, this is different. I'm going to make an investment in that guy.'"

Dimon and Bezos remain friends today and business partners in a slew of different ventures. A big one being Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway's recent announcement that they were working together to enter the healthcare market. "What we said is, 'Let's look at that and hire some really smart people, talk about the problem and then let them go take a crack at it,'" Dimon said in the interview. "Can we find ways to crack it? Little ways. Telemedicine, you know, a drug, chronic care, better design of an insurance package. ... We want to do it for our people and then if we can, help America in some way."

But partnerships isn’t everything that Dimon has taken away from his friendship with Bezos. He said it has changed the way he runs JPMorgan Chase including being quicker to market and being obsessed with meeting the needs of customers. “I was reading something about Amazon and I said, 'My God. We're just — we've got to be much faster,'" Dimon said.