After about 30 years of growing Amazon into one of the most impactful businesses the world has ever seen, Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO. When you consider what Jeff Bezos has accomplished, you can’t help but just say “Wow.” He turned an online book store into a company that gets us whatever we want in a day or less. He built the internet’s backbone with AWS. He put a digital assistant in millions of people’s homes. He did all of this by putting customers first. He built so much trust with customers that they allowed Amazon delivery people to open their front door when they aren’t home to deliver a package. We gave Jeff the keys to our house.
Jeff is following several great tech pioneers before him that stepped down from their roles as CEO to focus their time on other projects. CEO’s like Larry Page of Google, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison of Oracle all retired to focus on their passion projects and philanthropy. Similar to both of them, Jeff will still have major influence over his business. His successor will be Andy Jassy who built AWS into what it is today, which by itself, would be one of the largest businesses in the world with $13 billion in annual profits. Amazon is in good hands and Jeff won’t be removed from the company’s biggest decisions.
Many believe right now is the best time for him to leave. They are coming off the best year ever due to the fact they built a service absolutely essential during a time we needed it most. They allowed millions of people to stay at home by avoiding trips to the grocery stores and they are powering millions of new businesses around the world with AWS. It goes without saying he will go down as one of the greatest CEO’s to ever exist. He’s done the impossible and now he wants to spend his time building new things that will take us further into the future.
Jeff said he looks forward to focusing on his Day 1 Fund and his Earth Fund, his rocket company Blue Origin, and the Washington Post. It will be exciting to see these other initiatives grow given their importance to our everyday lives. Inequality, climate change, space travel, and media are all going to be very important topics going forward and we need smart people like Jeff focusing their time on them.
Below is a major throwback interview from when Jeff first started Amazon. Check it out!