An overview of Amazon under Jeff Bezos, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity
In the more than a decade I’ve covered Amazon, one conversation stands out as epitomizing the ethics of the ecommerce giant under Jeff Bezos, who will step down as CEO next month. An Amazon executive was faced with his new role as a buyer of major household appliances, such as dishwashers, after several years as a book buyer. “We had pushed publishers to submit,” the executive said, noting in amazement that when “Amazon asks for a dime, publishers know they have to give a dime.”
“We’re not there yet with the Whirlpools and the Samsungs,” he added. “We will have them under our control. “
Bezos, 57, has a complicated legacy of towering ambition, extraordinary success, unimaginable personal wealth, and a scorched earth business approach that is the envy of nearly every tech entrepreneur and a lightning rod for critics. He is stepping down from the leading role as Amazon faces the most serious regulatory threats to its business in its 27-year history.
Under Bezos, who will remain executive chairman, Amazon’s singular focus on fast delivery has forever altered the retail landscape and consumer expectations, and left in its wake a mountain of businesses that didn’t. have failed to keep pace. The company hasn’t invented many of the things it’s known for – overnight delivery, mobile purchases, cloud computing, and e-readers – but it has made them widely available and even expected.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos picked a date to step down as CEO. Bezos, who has transformed Amazon from an online bookstore to an online shopping giant, said Wednesday that Amazon executive Andy Jassy will take on the role of CEO on July 5.
The once miserable Amazon (Barron’s ridiculed it as Amazon.bomb in 1999) has grown into one of the world’s largest companies by market value and made Bezos the richest man in the world, depending on the day. With his first bet on growing the web, Bezos helped define e-commerce as we know it and made ordering from Amazon the default for millions of people blocked, via the subscription service. Premium. But its real masterstroke may be Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing and storage service that millions of businesses turn to and which has generated most of Amazon’s profits. Those who met Bezos will instantly remember his laughter, which belies his relentless and, often, ruthless pursuit of success.
Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, the early days of the Internet, with the simple mission of stocking every possible book for delivery by courier. This mission quickly expanded to encompass the transport of almost any item imaginable in huge suburban warehouses and a dizzying array of parallel businesses ranging from cloud computing and home security to movie streaming, logistics and logistics. ‘shipping and pharmaceutical services. Through the unwavering efficiency of its home appliance buyer, Amazon has helped drive down a long list of reputable retailers and dictated ever-increasing production from its suppliers and hourly warehouse workers. Ruthless and unwavering, Bezos is an inspiration to countless CEOs who have described their own vision of “becoming the Amazon of” banking, video games, ridesharing, travel, asset management, construction of homes, fashion and even cannabis.
Bezos’ philosophy of being “willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time” ultimately enriched him and investors, but it had a darker side: an ultra-competitive workplace where employees are obsessively valued. relative to each other and encouraged to trample their way to the top.
Amazon has become almost essential on the web. Bezos’ Prime membership is a triumph of consumerism, making shopping on Amazon a daily habit for millions of people around the world and an essential service during the pandemic, bringing groceries and other goods to the doorstep of those who are too nervous to venture out. Prime subscriptions grew by $ 50 million last year, to over $ 200 million, and alone accounted for around $ 25 billion in revenue.
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Along the way, Amazon has taken a heavy toll on its blue-collar workers, suppliers, and taxpayers – who foot the bill through incentives for warehouses, corporate campuses, and data centers. Warehouse workers describe physically demanding and ruthless jobs that include miles of daily walking and grueling turnover rates, amid increasing automation. And while suffering a historic hiring wave – it’s now the country’s second-largest private employer – it has canceled several union campaigns and pushed its hourly workers to the brink to fulfill Bezos’ dream of near instant delivery.
Bezos’ disdain for taxes was one of the main reasons he started the company in Washington state, which at the time had a smaller population of buyers who had to pay sales tax, this which gave it a price advantage over its traditional rivals. Armed with color-coded cards, company officials have spent years evading state officials for fear their customers would be forced to pay sales tax.
Amazon’s year-long pursuit of a second headquarters site has sent local executives to bow down to Bezos in an attempt to distribute taxpayer funds to fund an expansion the company may well afford on its own. But he got results – nearly $ 600 million in incentives from Virginia officials to build office towers in suburban Washington, DC.
While such authoritarian business practices are to be criticized, they are also a source of admiration and fear among business leaders, rivals and investors. Even a rumor that Amazon is entering a new industry can send competitor’s stock prices plunging. And Bezos’ disparate passions have grown into grass to include Hollywood, banking, advertising, and law enforcement.
Despite his sharp elbows, or more likely because of them, Bezos has made Amazon a household name and fast, reliable delivery a benchmark for consumers. Many traditional flat-footed retailers are still trying to catch up, and many more will fall apart. When people talk about the ease of shopping online, they have Bezos to thank.
For better or worse, he remade Seattle, solidifying it as a technology hub and transforming a former warehouse district into a booming campus, though critics point out that Amazon contributed to the surge in prices. housing prices and increasing income inequalities.
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In recent years, Bezos’ eye has wandered off to side projects, especially space. His Blue Origin spacecraft project will launch it next month, no coincidence miles away from a host of earthly issues he and Amazon face.
The company, which will be headed by MP Andy Jassy, faces bipartisan accusations of anti-competitive practices, skeptical state houses, a president critical of corporate power and growing regulatory oversight of his. activities, including its proposed MGM buyout for $ 8.45 billion. The unions appear determined to break into Amazon’s warehouses and shipping operations nationwide.
And Bezos himself, like Amazon, has come under fire for paying little to no federal income taxes. His growing wealth – now around $ 200 billion – is a flashpoint for critics who say he and Amazon can afford to pay workers more and contribute more to local infrastructure. His ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, has been donating money at a breakneck pace since their divorce in 2019 while appearing to criticize those with “disproportionate wealth”.
Congress has Amazon in its sights, but really anyone who cares about the concentration of power and wealth should be concerned about the extremely powerful company Bezos has created. Like others, I’d like to think I’d be shopping in a local, somewhere small, place, but Bezos has made shopping online easy and addicting and has masked the very human cost of his rapacious juggernaut.
So, as Bezos floats weightlessly in the cosmos, the question remains whether lawmakers can ultimately bring Amazon back to earth.
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