Sam Gerstenzang

Jul 30 2013

Who’s afraid of Jeff Bezos?

The answer: everyone.

Number one and number two (billg and Steve, in either order) are out of the game. Who else comes close? Zuck? You’ve got to be kidding. He’s executed incredibly well on his home turf. But crushing new markets? Poke? A joke. He had balls to buy Instagram, that’s for sure. But he also had cash. Ellison? Phoning it in these days. Ok, maybe the other Larry is #2. 

But Bezos? Bezos is killing it. Amazon started…selling books. Now they sell everything. They’re a publisher, signing up and promoting authors directly. They make hardware: perhaps the best reading device on the market. (When the Kindle came out with unlimited, included 3G service in 2007, that shit was magic.) Don’t forget AmazonBasics: Amazon makes (or at least brands) cables, keyboards, batteries. They won’t stop there. Amazon owns Zappos. Amazon owns IMDB. Amazon owns Goodreads.

Am I forgetting anything? Oh. Yeah. Amazon Web Services. If I told you in 2003 that one company was going to be eating up the server business, who would have been your top five guesses? Your top ten? But Amazon is killing it: none of the incumbents nor the upstarts are close. Google, Microsoft, Rackspace, Heroku? Good luck guys.

For the record, I hope someone can pull a rabbit out of a hat here. I want there to be competition. But who can do it? You’d need to be pretty big to pull it off right, I think. IBM? HP? Sigh.

The amazing thing is that  the Amazon growth curve is just starting. If you think Amazon has fully saturated the e-commerce market, you’re living in the Silicon Valley bubble. The only way other e-commerce players can compete is building an incredible brand. By producing content, essentially. But that’s hard to do and doesn’t work in every market. And AWS is growing even faster.

When I talk to entrepreneurs in the Valley, our brother up north is the only one who inspires universal fear.   No one else in our corner of the world is so good at strategy, tactics and execution. 

Congratulations, sir. Well-played. Anxiously awaiting that courageous entrepreneur who can unseat our man Jeff…in anything. 

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