Jeff Bezos sits at the top the list of world's richest people. Earlier in the summer he briefly edged out fellow billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, to become the richest man alive. Since then Amazon's stock, which accounts for the lion's share of Bezos' net worth, has pulled back a slightly. But there is no denying that Mr. Bezos' shrewd drive and vision have made Amazon an enduring tech juggernaut that has massively impacted modern business as we know it.
The Amazon Way
Amazon's success (and close to $400 billion market cap) has been attributed in large part to its founder's core business principles and operational philosophy, which can be summarized in four main objectives:
- Keep your eyes on your customers, not your competition
- Take risks
- Empower and motivate talented employees to think like owners
- Design a unique culture that lines up with your company's values and business objectives
Game-Changing Acquisitions and Innovations
An example of just a few of most Amazon's most recent innovations and potential market disruptions include:
The Acquisition of Whole Foods
Described as a "bombshell" of a deal by business media outlets like Bloomberg, Amazon's $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods catapulted the company to the head of the line in its longstanding objective to carve out a presence in the retail grocery space. The deal also gives Amazon a foothold into brick-and-mortar stores and access to local markets, a logical next step to grow the company's grocery delivery operations. The deal, which officially closed on August 28, 2017, immediately sent competitor stocks tumbling while delivering a price cut on Whole Foods products for consumers.
Expansion of Amazon Prime Day to Additional International Markets
Black Friday may be the unofficial pre-cursor to the holiday shopping season in the United States, but 13 countries across the globe, including China and Mexico, can now experience their own version of discount mania thanks to Amazon Prime Day, a yearly event where consumers can enjoy deep discounts across the site. Unlike Black Friday, consumers neither have to camp out in pre-dawn lines or wait for the start of the U.S. holiday season. 2017's Prime Day was announced in advance of the July 11th date, and Amazon reported a 60 percent increase in sales in just two years.
Acquisition of The Washington Post
Before the jaw dropping acquisition of Whole Foods, Mr. Bezos made a bolder and even more unexpected foray into the newspaper business when he bought The Washington Post for a reported $250 million. At a time when newspapers are struggling to stay competitive against digital publications, Mr. Bezos told the New York Times that his purchase of the iconic newspaper was motivated by the desire to bring The Washington Post into the 21st century. One of his first moves after the acquisition was to release an app for the paper for Kindle Fire users. Like Prime, the service was available for a free trial period, after which subscribers could extend the subscription at a low renewal fee.
As many companies continue to downsize, Amazon is slated to hire as many as 100,000 new full-time employees in the near future and has cities across the county lobbying to become home to it's newly announced second headquarters. With their continued and unabashed pursuit of customer satisfaction through cost-cutting and innovation, chances are that Mr. Bezos' place at the top of business world leader lists will only solidify.
Less than four years after the close of the sale in October 2013, the newspaper is profitable, expanding readership, and hiring new journalists in 2017, in an era unofficially believed to be the death knell of traditional journalism and the newspaper business as we know it. By instituting a data driven approach and focusing on the paper's digital presence, Mr. Bezos is creating a blueprint for how old guard newspapers can become competitive and relevant again in the age of the internet and social media.
One can easily argue that nobody has impacted modern business more than Mr. Jeff Bezos. Who knows what else he has up his sleeve. He has massively disrupted retail, media, grocery, web services and continues to make moves that keep most industries on their toes.
Avi Savar is CEO and Managing Partner of Dreamit, a top venture accelerator and early stage investment fund. He is the author of Content to Commerce and consults globally on trends in digital media, disruptive technologies and corporate innovation. He has been featured on Fox News, Forbes, Mashable, Business Insider, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, the New York Times and is a contributing editor for Inc.