Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world and the founder and CEO of Amazon. Amazon is worth just shy of $1 trillion. But Bezos has warned staff at the ecommerce giant that one day it will go bankrupt and that it isn’t too big to fail.
The biggest risks are apparently government regulation (and that might not just be in the United States) and antitrust legislation.
The comments from Bezos came about, reportedly, during an all-hands meeting where he took a Q&A session and one question related to the once mighty retail giant Sears which has just recently collapsed. Bezos is reported by staff speaking to CNBC as saying:
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. If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end. We have to try and delay that day for as long as possible.
It’s a fact that we’re a large company. It’s reasonable for large institutions of any kind, whether it be companies or governments, to be scrutinized.
– Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, Amazon
To some extent this is classic Bezos. He is not afraid to be provocative and controversial. He is also well-known for being an original thinker. But is it helpful to predict the demise of your company when so many tens of thousands of merchants and employees rely on that income and continued success? It likely won’t do any harm. And it is certainly refreshing that a growing and burgeoning business organisation recognises that bad times may be just around the corner.
Of course, Amazon continues to soar and succeed and report remarkable success just now. Indeed, only this week they announced a new split location headquarters establishment between Washington and NYC that will create 50,000 new jobs and at least $5 billion of inward investment in those areas. The decline of Amazon isn’t imminent.