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Jeff Bezos said Amazon will go bankrupt

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Here’s an interesting chart for you.


Hmmm… how does this 

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 from 2017 related to Bezos’ comments? Let’s start with what 
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“Amazon is not too big to fail … In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years,” Bezos told staff, according to a recording that was heard by 

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. […]

“If we start to focus on ourselves instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end,” he said. “We have to try and delay that day for as long as possible.”

So to start with, he’s actually saying that his 24 year old company is late middle-aged by large company standards, and the Credit Suisse data shows that it’s actually geriatric compared to the average.

Secondarily, context is key. He wasn’t talking to investors but likely senior staff, people who make a difference to Amazon’s ongoing ability to innovate and grow.

And what is he telling them?

Don’t be complacent. Don’t believe the press. Focus on customers. Keep aggressively making things better for customers.

This is fairly standard motivational stuff for corporate talks. The only reason it’s interesting is that Amazon is a trillion-dollar company and Bezos is the richest man in the world. Otherwise, it’s generic CEO pablum that the people listening were probably playing internal games of buzzword bingo to.

There aren’t that many really old companies running around any more. And many of them sell legacy products, as Jim Beam does. The world is changing more rapidly than ever, and corporations are struggling to keep up in the face of disruption.

Bezos is right, but he’s also somewhat banal.

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