Amazon is the most extraordinary and important business story of our time. Facebook has more members and is our social network. Google sits right at the heart of the information tsunami. Apple has by far the prettiest toys.
But starting 25 years ago as a tiny online bookstore, Amazon now stands astride the e-powered river of goods that flows through the many economies. It is a retailer, a marketplace, an electronic infrastructure, a publisher, an advertising channel, a distributor. It is increasingly the arbiter of retail, the pacesetter for employment, and private taxing authority, taking its bite of every transaction on its Marketplace.
And Amazon is just getting started.
Across all its business, Amazon is automating rapidly and leveraging the power of enormous and growing capabilities in AI and machine learning. The sheer range and pace of change is formidable. It’s an extraordinary story, and it raises plenty of questions:
Where did Amazon come from?
How did it grow so big so fast?
What can we learn from history?
Can we distil key lessons about objectives, strategy, tactics, and especially corporate culture?
Where is Amazon going?
What will it look like ten years from now?
What should we – the collective we – do about it?
Is Amazon a threat?
Should we simply applaud?
Are there characteristics to worry about?
And if so, what should we do? Our guest today addresses these questions and many more.
We welcome the author of “Behemoth, Amazon Rising: Power and Seduction in the Age of Amazon”, Robin Gaster