It isn't an exaggeration to say that Amazon is one of the most important companies on the planet right now. With as many as 90 percent of Americans under 'stay at home' orders, Amazon has become more a part of our daily lives than ever before.
It's hiring 100,000 workers at a time when 10 million people filed for unemployment in just two weeks. It's prioritizing the products that people need at a time when online shopping has surged. And its cloud computing platform is more important than ever as millions of people are working from home. That's not even to mention the scientists and researchers who are using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to find therapies and--hopefully--a vaccine for Covid-19.
It may also provide some escape from the chaos and anxiety of the world around us through good books on our Kindles or by renting a movie to watch with our kids. Sure, it isn't the only place you can find either of those, but right now, every little bit helps.
Oh, and Jeff Bezos is donating $100 million to food banks to help people who just lost their jobs and can't afford to feed their kids. Don't tell me how that's no big deal because it's basically pocket change to him. $100 million is real money no matter how you count it, and the people whose children will be fed couldn't care less how much he has left over.
And that doesn't mean that the company doesn't have issues. For example, employees at one of its facilities in Staten Island went on strike earlier this week over concerns that it isn't doing enough to protect workers.
Then, the company faced backlash for firing the strike organizer, who Amazon said violated company policy by coming back to work after being asked to self-isolate due to his potential exposure to a coworker who tested positive for Covid-19.
Amazon, though, is certainly in a unique position. Not only is it one of the most valuable companies on earth, it also happens to be one of the few that has the ability to directly impact so many aspects of our lives and communities. It's one of the few organizations that has the infrastructure in place to deliver many of the products and services that we need right now at a scale to meet the current demand.
It also has some $55 billion in cash, allowing it to continue operating despite the extraordinary challenges facing every business in the world right now. Will it be perfect? No. But we need Amazon to be at its best right now.
What does the best look like for Amazon? Honestly, it's the same as it is for every company right now--just on a different scale. Take care of your customers, take care of your people. There's no question that's harder than ever right now, but I doubt it's the first time you've had to do hard things. You didn't start your company by being afraid to step up and do something challenging.
The important thing is to remember that your people are depending on you. Your community is depending on you. We're all depending on you. Do your best. Just like Amazon.