The legacy of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

Monday 15 February 2021

With Jeff Bezos announcing that he would be stepping down as Amazon CEO to focus on his space efforts with Blue Origin and his charitable work with the Day One Fund, there has been a lot written about the greatest businessman of our age. As he steps down from the $1.7 trillion dollar company he started in Seattle, he finishes as the second wealthiest person in the world making $149,000 every minute from the retail and web services giant. 

We choose to include this article in Thought Starters today because it shares a perspective at the heart of many people’s love/hate relationship with Amazon and the man who founded it. The author grapples with the fact that they don’t like Amazon – the way it squeezes suppliers, has decimated its retail competitors and treats its workers so poorly – yet, they remain a loyal Amazon customer. It is a testament to Bezos’ ‘customer first’ mentality and the way in which Amazon has utilised every piece of technology it could buy or build to make the online shopping experience so painless. Even its harshest critics can’t help but be customers. 

Amazon’s reach now extends far beyond retail and web services. When Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017, the market value of rival grocery companies plummeted by billions. In 2018, when Amazon acquired the online pharmacy PillPack, pharmacy giants like Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid similarly lost billions in value. When Amazon announced a healthcare partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan, major American health insurers suffered a similar fate. Such is the reputation and accomplishments of Amazon that they can strike fear into any sector they turn their attention towards. 

For a man that originally wanted to call his business (and still owns that domain), he has certainly embodied that value throughout his career. Now, as he leaves Amazon, there is little doubt that he will apply that same level of resolve to whatever he turns his attention to next.

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