In the artist’s rendering of Amazon’s projected “HQ2”, is it melting, or burning?
Excerpt and links:
In choosing top official Andy Jassy as the new CEO beginning in Q3, but staying on as executive chairman, Jeff Bezos, 57, is perpetuating Amazon ambitions that exceed the public’s imagination, Ina Fried writes.
- Jassy, 53 — CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud services unit — gave Amazon a key profit engine to fuel its outsized ambitions. AWS boasts profit margins that outstrip retail’s.
Between the lines: When people thought Amazon was building “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore,” it was actually building “The Everything Store.”
- When people thought it was focused on that, Amazon was expanding to web services and then advertising.
- When people thought it was laser-focused on all things online, Amazon moved into physical retail, buying Whole Foods and launching the cashier-less Amazon Go convenience stores.
- Amazon’s culture runs deep. Executives tend to either gain some experience and move on to places with more lavish perks or better work-life balance, or they buy into the Amazon approach and stay forever.There are few better examples of that than Jassy, who joined Amazon in 1997 — 24 years ago.
- Yes, but: Many have awakened to Amazon’s size and power. Pressure from policymakers, and from within the company’s own ranks, won’t go away with a change in management.
- Just Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission fined Amazon $62 million for allegedly stiffing delivery drivers. The FTC is also said to be working with states to investigate the company over antitrust concerns.
- Activist employees, meanwhile, are increasingly looking to unionize, pressure the company on business and environmental issues, or both.
- Stepping back from day-to-day operations will free Bezos to focus more on aspirations beyond the company:
- Blue Origin, Bezos’ space venture, will benefit from more of Bezos’ drive and ambition.
- Like Elon Musk, Bezos talks about the strategic importance of space as an exit plan for the human race if Earth becomes uninhabitable.
- Amazon CFO Brian Olsavky said on an earnings call that Bezos will remain involved in many “large, one-way door” issues, including acquisitions and planning new lines of business.
- [Not to mention, which it doesn’t, that Bezos personally owns the Washington Post. And that includes radio station WTWP (The Washington Post), successor to WTOP which the paper used to own but sold off.]