(p. B1) Twenty years ago this week, Amazon.com went public.
Skeptics of Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, have spent the better part of the past two decades second-guessing and vilifying him: He has been described as “a monopolist,” “literary enemy No. 1,” “a notorious international tax dodger,” impossible, a ruthless boss and — more than once — “Lex Luthor.” His company used to routinely be described as Amazon.con.
But you know what?
Here we are, 20 years later, and Mr. Bezos has an authentic, legitimate claim on having changed the way we live.
He has changed the way we shop. He has changed the way companies use computers, by moving much of their information and systems to cloud services. He’s even changed the way we interact with computers by voice: “Alexa!”
Along the way, he has bought — and fixed — The Washington Post, one of the nation’s premier journalistic institutions. And through his aerospace company, Blue Origin, he has invested billions of dollars in the race to space, a onetime hobby that, if successful, could change the world much more pro-(p. B3)foundly than free one-day shipping.
. . .
Perhaps the most surprising thing Mr. Bezos was able to accomplish, despite his detractors, was to find investors willing to trust him enough to invest in Amazon even as it racked up losses after losses.
That’s not to say investors were always happy with Mr. Bezos — they would frequently punish his stock, making it seem like a volatile investment. Then, every so often, he would surprise investors with profits, as if to suggest, “Yes, we can make money whenever we want, if we don’t want to invest in the future.”
For the full commentary, see:
Sorkin, Andrew Ross. “DEALBOOK; 20 Years On, Bezos Alters the Way We Shop and Live.” The New York Times (Tues., MAY 16, 2017): B1 & B3.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date MAY 15, 2017, and has the title “DEALBOOK; 20 Years On, Amazon and Jeff Bezos Prove Naysayers Wrong.”)