Jeff Bezos Says 10 Choices Lead To a Life Without Reffortsegrets

a man sitting in a chair on a stage, speaking

 

According to Jeff Bezos, living a life filled with meaning comes down to how you answer this short list of questions. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is widely respected for a number of qualities. Patiently building a company with a juggernaut of a flywheel.

Turning an internal initiative into Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary that rakes in over $17.4 billion in revenue. Knowing how to hire the right people. Making smart expansion decisions.

In short, for being unusually smart. But, as Bezos learned as a 10 year-old during a road trip with his grandparents, intelligence alone won’t make you successful — or help you live a life you’ll look back on with few regrets.

According to Bezos, cleverness is a gift. “You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful,” Bezos said to Princeton graduates in 2010, “and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.”

Research shows we more often regret things we didn’t do than the things we did, even if things we did turned out badly. Makes sense: With time and effort, you can fix almost any mistake. But you can’t go back and do the things you dreamed of doing, but didn’t.

In fact, this study takes that idea even further, probing the kinds of regrets we have about the people we don’t become — which is a natural extension of the actions we didn’t take.

As Bezos said, “When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices.”

What choices will make the biggest impact on your life story — and whether you look back on that story with regrets?

These are the questions Bezos says to ask yourself:

  • Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
  • Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
  • Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
  • Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
  • Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?
  • Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
  • Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
  • When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
  • Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
  • Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

Like most great lists, it’s also a hard list. Take ignoring criticism and following your convictions. That’s far from easy. Plus, most of the time we should worry about what other people think.

But not if it stands in the way of living the lives we really want to live.

If you really want to start a business — which you can do in just a few hours — some people might say you’re crazy, especially now. If you really want to go back to school, some people might think you’re crazy, especially now. If you really want to open a new restaurant, some people will definitely think you’re crazy.

Especially now. But if you let the naysayers deter you, you’re much more likely to look back someday and wonder what might have been. Research shows you’re most likely to regret thinking you didn’t reach our full potential. You’ll most regret not becoming the person you feel you could have become, if only you had tried.

Because that’s one mistake you can never go back and fix. But if you ask yourself the Bezos questions, that might be one mistake you can stop making. Starting today.

By: Jeff Haden

Source: Jeff Bezos Says 10 Choices Lead to a Life Without Regrets

Critics by Lyn Christian

Regardless of what you’re going for (what your target is), these steps have proven themselves to me and my clients. When we use them, no matter what kind of success we seek, we speed up our process of getting there.

1. Define your core values

A lot of the conflict you have in your life exists simply because you’re not living in alignment; you’re not be being true to yourself.” Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You

When you take the time to define your values, you create a foundation to build your life. But many people fail to clarify their values and take a longer route to meaningful success as a result. Without clear values, you can take costly detours, achieving empty successes or feeling conflicted.

Stop comparing!

When you feel yourself constantly comparing your life to other people or just unsure of what you want, that’s when you need to check in with your values. I suggest creating a list of values and beliefs, choosing a few of the most important factors that will guide you in choosing meaningful goals. Your list may include things like family, security, and wealth. Or, perhaps you put greater value on freedom, adventure, and creativity. 

Try and get your list down to about three of the most important priorities. When you do, you’ll find it much easier to choose a direction, make confident decisions, and succeed on your terms.

2. Get clear on your goals

What do you want to achieve—really? Often people don’t take the time to ask themselves what they want.

Some people chase after shiny objects, never committing enough to a single goal to find success. Others invest too much committed to the wrong goal, afraid of quitting or letting others down. Achieving long-term goals takes planning, effort, and focus sustained over time. Choose wisely, and make sure those goals are in line with your values.

The recipe for success is different for everyone. One person might feel their best living as a digital nomad, traveling to a different country every month. Another person might thrive on time with family and living in their dream home. What will make you shine is completely unique to you. So get clear on what you want to achieve and what steps you will take to achieve it.

3. Be a learner, not a winner

Often people approach success with an all or nothing mindset, in which you either win or lose. You’re either good or bad, right or wrong, smart or stupid. This mindset leaves little room for error, and too much room to give up when things aren’t perfect.  To move forward in overcoming perfectionism, you’ll need to replace this “all or nothing” approach with “all or something.”

Mistakes move you forward!

Making mistakes is far better than not trying at all. The process of trial and error helps you to learn. You gain wisdom and get better over time. My progress in the sport of fencing increased ten times the day I decided to use every practice, lesson, event, and bout as a learning experience instead of a winning opportunity. 

Winning comes faster when you take the focus off of it, and instead, focus on becoming a sponge, absorbing every experience as knowledge to help you improve. This doesn’t mean we don’t want to win. 

It means that if we step over learning in order to reach for winning, we place a huge barrier in front of ourselves — trust me, I’ve learned this one the hard way. In figuring out how to be successful in life, learning as much as you can leads to bigger wins.

4. Set up a support system

Big goals don’t happen overnight. Building a successful business, writing a book, getting a degree—it takes hard work and commitment to see those dreams through. But you don’t have to go through it alone, and you shouldn’t!

Find support!

Get a coach, mentor, or accountability group to keep you going. If we rely on just ourselves, it’s like having a single jetpack, putting along towards a goal. With the support of a team, we have rocket power, achieving our goals much faster – vroom!

Creating this type of support system will help you stay motivated through the challenges, get help when you need it, and learn from others’ experiences. 

5. Put in the time

You may have heard of the 10,000 hour rule, popularized in Malcolm Gladwell’s New York Times bestseller, Outliers. Gladwell suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to gain mastery. (that’s about 90 minutes per day for 20 years). 

It’s an idea based on a 1993 paper from Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University. But many people have pushed back at this “10,000 hours requirement”, including Ericsson himself.

Commitment and consistency

If you want to get good at something, you have to put in the time. Spending just 10 to 20 minutes a day on a new skill, your brain will retain almost all of what you learned, according to neuroscience.

If you don’t have 10,000 hours to learn something new, start with 20 minutes a day. Commit to it.

If you need to practice, study, experiment, and apply in order to succeed, then do that. Put in the time wherever it is required. No effort is wasted if we have our eye on our target, even if one or two or three attempts feels like we’re getting nowhere. 

Put in the time, and the dominoes will fall. That’s how you can live an extraordinary life.

6. Commit to a goal that you’re willing to grind for

It takes a lot of hard work and grit to achieve long-term goals. People who found a successful company, wrote a novel without a book deal, or made it big in show business had to put in the work to get from nothing to something. 

They didn’t know that they would make it, but they persisted anyway.  “Success develops from your willingness to try repeatedly for a breakthrough — to sweat all the way down until the salt of your soul spills out on the floor.” 

Before you commit to your goal, make sure you really want it. What means so much to you that you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to make it come true? 

7. Get inspired

You may already have a clear vision of your dreams, but not everyone does. If you feel unclear about the path forward, get out there and explore. 

Inspiration is everywhere

Go to camps, clinics, conferences and retreats. Get private lessons and read books. When you get out there and try new things, you’re more likely to find inspiration for how to be successful in life.

Approach success with a sense of curiosity and playfulness to find a vision of success that excites you.

8. Take (calculated) risks

The quest beyond where you stand today to where you want to go means stepping outside of your comfort zone. That means you’re going to have to stick your neck out there sometimes and take risks. 

I’m not saying you should quit your job this second. When you assess your situation fully, you can take calculated risks that will ultimately lead to success. 

A few tips to keep in mind:

  1. How much savings would it take to carry you through this shift?
  2. Would downsizing your lifestyle provide flexibility to explore a new direction?
  3. Do you have other people to consider when making this decision? 
  4. Assess your opportunities: Are companies actively hiring in your new field?
  5. Do you need training or education to make this dream happen?

Sometimes taking risks can mean a night class once a week to train for that new career path. Or, you might start a side hustle to see if your business idea will actually work. Maybe you just need to meet new people and network to get more information about that new direction. 

Eventually, you need to take a leap of faith to move forward. Just make sure you have the resources and information available before you take that step.

9. Learn from experts

If you want to illuminate the path to success, look for people who have already done it. Who are the captains in the industry that you admire? Find out how they turned their dreams into reality. 

Implement the habits of the successful people you want to emulate.

Study others’ success

Observe, study, and follow others who are succeeding along the same path you want to go. Spend time learning from them. Find at least one thing to avoid or one thing to adopt each time you watch others making progress toward your same target (or from those who have hit the target).

Why limit yourself to just one role model? You can draw inspiration from any number of people who inspire you. When we only learn from one master, we only know what that one person knows. When we learn from more than one expert, we have ages of knowledge and wisdom to lean into.

10. Ask a ton of questions

Many people resist asking questions because they don’t want to sound incompetent or annoying. But actually, asking questions does the opposite! “By asking someone to share his or her personal wisdom, advice seekers stroke the adviser’s ego and can gain valuable insights. People do not think less of you — they actually think you’re smarter.” Francesca Gino, Professor at Harvard Business School

Unless you ask, you never know what you might find, learn, or achieve. Ask, ask, and ask again. You’ll show experts and mentors that you value their opinion. You open up opportunities for conversations that could inspire your next idea. 

Just make sure to avoid naysayers who shut you down. People who negate your questions or chastise you for being a Curious George will only hold you back from learning and growth.

11. Get feedback

You need feedback to learn and get better. You’ll gain a fuller perspective on your strengths and habits that might be holding you back. 

Asking for feedback will also make you happier and more productive, says Sheila Heen, author of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well: “People who go out and solicit negative feedback — meaning they aren’t just fishing for compliments — report higher satisfaction. They adapt more quickly to new roles, get higher performance reviews, and show others they are committed to doing their jobs.” 

Use trusted folks who know their stuff to give you feedback. We could be getting in our own way. We could be headed down a rabbit hole. We could get our minds in a dark place, or be forming a bad habit. You get the notion.

12. Break down goals into small steps

Dreaming big starts with having a clear vision of what you want, whether you want to discover how to be successful in career, relationships, in the arts, philanthropy, and so on. Close your eyes and envision the life of your dreams. Then write down those goals.

When you look at all those grand ideas, it can feel overwhelming. But anyone who has accomplished something big started with one small step forward. 

So, what will it take to get there?

Determine the small steps to getting to that point of success. When you break down big goals into small steps, you’ll see what it takes to turn those dreams into a reality.

13. Take breaks

In a 2004 study published in Nature, researchers at the University of Lübeck in Germany trained participants to solve a long difficult math problem. After a good night’s rest, when participants returned for retesting, those who had slept eight hours were more than twice as likely to solve the problem in a simpler way than those who had not slept.

You need to take breaks and get plenty of rest. 

So, what will it take to get there?

Burnout will only diminish your health and prevent you from thinking clearly. And when you find yourself hitting a wall, sleep on it. You’re more likely to come up with the solution after taking a break.

14. Keep creative juices flowing

Make a habit of including creative activities into your routine. The American Psychological Association points out that routine creativity expands the mind, improves problem-solving, and increases productivity. 

Here’s how to include routine creativity in your life:

  1. Keep track of new ideas when they come up
  2. Take on new challenges that require problem solving and new approaches
  3. Expand your knowledge, through classes or reading outside of what your bubble
  4. Surround yourself with interesting people who can broaden your perspective
  5. Try interesting things that stimulate the brain, like a new hobby or a trip to a museum

15. Take care of your health

“A sick man only wants one thing; a healthy man wants a thousand things.” Confucius

Often the pursuit of success can put health concerns on the backburner. You put in the extra hours to turn your dream into reality. And that’s okay, but you should never sacrifice your health. 

Think in terms of the long game

You want to live a long, successful life, not burnout. That means checking in with your body every day and incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine.

So what should you do? When it comes to health, most of the best healthy habits are fairly simple: Eat Well, Sleep Well, Exercise Well.

Harvard Health recommends: 

  1. Eat a healthy diet
  2. Exercise daily (30 minutes of moderate exercise will do)
  3. Maintain a healthy body weight
  4. Avoid excessive drinking
  5. Quit smoking
  6. Rest and get enough sleep

Success starts with defining what that means to you, then tirelessly working toward that dream.  When you commit to making it happen, and surround yourself with supportive people, you’ll find that path to success rolls out before you. 

.

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Amazon Stock Loses $130 Billion In Market Value After $885 Million Fine And Disappointing Earnings Report

Shares of Amazon fell as much as 8% Friday after the e-commerce juggernaut disclosed a massive fine from European regulators for allegedly breaking regional privacy laws and posted second-quarter earnings results that failed to meet Wall Street expectations, putting the longtime market leader on track for its worst day in more than a year.

Key Facts

As of 11:15 a.m. EDT, Amazon stock has plunged 7% Friday to about $3,349.50, pushing the firm’s market capitalization down below $1.7 trillion and wiping out nearly $130 billion from a closing level above $1.8 trillion Thursday.

Ushering in the massive losses, Amazon posted second-quarter revenue after Thursday’s market close of $113.1 billion—up 27% year over year, but falling short of average analyst expectations totaling $115 billion.

Despite soaring more than 48%, net income of more than $7.7 billion also fell slightly short of estimates, which called for about $7.8 billion.

The stark decline also comes after Amazon disclosed a $885 million (746 million euros) fine, levied on July 16, by the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection, which claims Amazon’s processing of personal data did not comply with European regulations.

In the filing, Amazon, which in a statement asserts no data breach has occurred, said it believes the watchdog’s decision is “without merit” and that it intends to appeal the ruling and defend itself “vigorously” in the matter.

Amazon’s Friday plunge puts it on track for its worst one-day decline since the height of pandemic uncertainty tanked the broader market in March 2020.

Crucial Quote

“Consumers’ online shopping levels are returning to more normal levels as they shift some spending to other entertainment sources and offline shopping,” Morningstar analyst Dan Romanoff said in a Friday note. “Meanwhile, the company continues to add capacity [and costs] at a breakneck pace in order to meet customer demand and one day delivery,” Romanoff added, pointing out Amazon has already nearly doubled its footprint during the last 18 months.

Surprising Fact

Shares of Amazon are now down more than 10% from a record closing high of $3,719 earlier this month.

Tangent

Amazon far underperformed the broader market Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which doesn’t include Amazon, ticked down just 0.2%, while the S&P 500, which counts the retail giant as its third-largest component, fell 0.4%.

Chief Critic

“Maintaining the security of our customers’ information and their trust are top priorities. There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party. These facts are undisputed,” Amazon said in a statement Friday. “The decision relating to how we show customers relevant advertising relies on subjective and untested interpretations of European privacy law, and the proposed fine is entirely out of proportion with even that interpretation.”

Further Reading

Amazon hit with $886m fine for alleged data breach (BBC)

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I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com. And follow me on Twitter @Jon_Ponciano

Source: Amazon Stock Loses $130 Billion In Market Value After $885 Million Fine And Disappointing Earnings Report

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Critics:

With technology stocks garnering renewed scrutiny, it’s helpful to take a look back at one company that has weathered some of the most severe market downturns and serious doubts from Wall Street: Amazon. Betting on the online bookstore wasn’t always a sure thing. Amazon’s journey from tiny garage start-up to one of the most valuable companies in the world has paid off for investors, but shareholders needed a strong stomach.“Earth’s Biggest Bookstore”

In the early 1990s, Jeff Bezos walked away from a Wall Street career with an outlandish idea to sell books on the World Wide Web. In 1994, he launched Amazon.com. “I found this fact on a website that the web was growing at 2,300 percent per year,” Bezos told CNBC in a 2001 interview about his early foray into book selling. “The idea that sort of entranced me was this idea of building a bookstore online.”

The site experienced growth quickly, going public three years later with $16 million in revenue and 180,000 customers spanning more than 100 countries (according to its SEC filing). But even as the site began growing, many investors had their doubts about Amazon, instead favoring brick-and-mortar book-selling giant Barnes & Noble.

At an early meeting between Barnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio and Bezos, Riggio reportedly told Bezos he would “crush” Amazon. Barnes & Noble dwarfed the young start-up. The traditional bookseller had hundreds of stores and more than $2 billion in revenue. It was also tapping into major Silicon Valley talent to built its own sleek new website.

On top of that, it was suing Amazon over the start-up’s claim to be “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore.” But for those who took a chance and bought Amazon stock at the initial public offering, their investment has returned a compound annual growth rate of 38 percent since the IPO – outperforming the S&P 500 which had a total return of 10 percent annually over the same period.

Tech stocks have been under renewed pressure in recent weeks as the markets have experienced volatility. From September to November, Amazon stock lost a quarter of its value as the wider tech sector took major hits. Some analysts say it’s a good time to buy in. Others say Amazon’s growth rate has hit a ceiling as the company enters maturity.

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Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Could End Up Bankrupt For These Reasons, According To Specialist

Right now, Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world thanks to Amazon , his leading online sales company. However, retail expert Doug Stephens predicts that the giant could fall over the next decade, even going bankrupt.

On his Business of Fashion corporate page, Retail Prophet’s founder and advisor to some of the world’s most respected brands predicts “the end of Amazon.”

“I think that in ten years Amazon is going to decline and these are just some of the reasons,” Stephens wrote.

Amazon follows in Walmart’s footsteps

One of the reasons for the possible bankruptcy of the online trading platform would be that it is following the same patterns as other companies. Stephens gives Walmart an example.

“Between 1962 and the early 2000s, Walmart led the retail business, beating out dozens of competitors large and small. By 2010, Walmart had opened a staggering 4,393 stores, of which more than 3,000 opened after 1990, ” explains the expert.

After suffering a big drop in sales in 2015, Walmart has failed to take off in online retail. “The decline of the once impenetrable giant has shown that even the most titanic companies can fall,” Stephens said.

Amazon offers efficiency, but no shopping experience

The specialist considers it dangerous that Bezos intends to maintain the same long-term operating model. “In our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that is going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want a wide selection, “ said the tycoon in statements taken up by Business of Fashion.

However, Stephens believes that people don’t just buy because they want the products as quickly as possible. They also want the full shopping experience : getting out of the house, touching the products, comparing them with each other, trying new things or getting inspired. In that sense, the disadvantage of Amazon is limited to online purchases.

Focus on customer service will be lost

When a company has a powerful leader like Jeff Bezos at the helm, it would hardly function without him. The expert predicts that, as Amazon continues its expansion, the figure of Bezos could dissipate or disappear. Then it would be possible that you lose your initial mission, which is customer satisfaction, to prioritize the optimization of processes based on figures and data.

He also anticipates that the company will innovate less. “The energy, once directed to improving the business, will be depleted in simply working to maintain the organizational infrastructure ,” Stephens noted.

See also: See why Jeff Bezos will increase his fortune thanks to the arrival of Airbnb to Wall Street

Dough Stephens cites other reasons for Amazon’s potential downfall , such as the rumored toxic work environment and the migration of current partners to other,

friendlier delivery platforms.

The combination of these factors could cause Amazon to suffer losses over the next decade and be replaced by another similar company that offers better conditions for partners, workers and customers.

By: Entrepreneur en Español Entrepreneur Staff

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Foundation for Economic Education

Support Out of Frame on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/OutofFrameShow Watch our newest video, “The Social Dilemma Is Dangerously Wrong… Part II”: https://youtu.be/pOYxN_a7zL4 Check out our podcast, Out of Frame: Behind the Scenes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiS5… Bob thinks we should just confiscate all the wealth from all the billionaires in America to pay for government programs. But even if that were possible… would it even work? ______________________________ CREDITS: Written by Seamus Coughlin & Jennifer Maffessanti Animated by Seamus Coughlin Produced by Sean W. Malone

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The Pandemic Has Shown That Amazon is Essential But Vulnerable

1

N THE SUMMER of 1995 Jeff Bezos was a skinny obsessive working in a basement alongside his wife, packing paperbacks into boxes. Today, 25 years on, he is perhaps the 21st century’s most important tycoon: a muscle-ripped divorcé who finances space missions and newspapers for fun, and who receives adulation from Warren Buffett and abuse from Donald Trump. Amazon, his firm, is no longer just a bookseller but a digital conglomerate worth $1.3trn that consumers love, politicians love to hate, and investors and rivals have learned never to bet against.

Now the pandemic has fuelled a digital surge that shows how important Amazon is to ordinary life in America and Europe, because of its crucial role in e-commerce, logistics and cloud computing (see article). In response to the crisis, Mr Bezos has put aside his side-hustles and returned to day-to-day management. Superficially it could not be a better time, but the world’s fourth-most-valuable firm faces problems: a fraying social contract, financial bloating and re-energised competition.

The digital surge began with online “pantry-loading” as consumers bulk-ordered toilet rolls and pasta. Amazon’s first-quarter sales rose by 26% year on year. When stimulus cheques arrived in mid-April Americans let rip on a broader range of goods. Two rivals, eBay and Costco, say online activity accelerated in May. There has been a scramble to meet demand, with Mr Bezos doing daily inventory checks once again. Amazon has hired 175,000 staff, equipped its people with 34m gloves, and leased 12 new cargo aircraft, bringing its fleet to 82. Undergirding the e-commerce surge is an infrastructure of cloud computing and payments systems. Amazon owns a chunk of that, too, through AWS, its cloud arm, which saw first-quarter sales rise by 33%.

One question is whether the digital surge will subside. Shops are reopening, even if customers have to pay at tills shielded by Perspex. Yet the signs are that some of the boom will last, because it has involved not just the same people doing more of the same. A new cohort has taken to shopping online. In America “silver” customers in their 60s have set up digital-payment accounts. Many physical retailers have suffered fatal damage. Dozens have defaulted or are on the brink, including J Crew and Neiman Marcus. In the past year the shares of warehousing firms, which thrive on e-commerce, have outperformed those of shopping-mall landlords by 48 percentage points.

All this might appear to fit the script Mr Bezos has written over the years in his letters to shareholders, which are now pored over by investors as meticulously as those of Mr Buffett. He argues that Amazon is in a perpetual virtuous circle in which it spends money to win market share and expands into adjacent industries. From books it leapt to e-commerce, then opened its cloud and logistics arms to third-party retailers, making them vast new businesses in their own right. Customers are kept loyal by perks such as Prime, a subscription service, and Alexa, a voice-assistant. By this account, the new digital surge confirms Amazon’s inexorable rise. That is the view on Wall Street, where Amazon’s shares reached an all-time high on June 17th.

Yet from his ranch in west Texas, Mr Bezos has to wrestle with those tricky problems. Start with the fraying social contract. Some common criticisms of Amazon are simply misguided. Unlike, say, Google in search, it is not a monopoly. Last year Amazon had a 40% share of American e-commerce and 6% of all retail sales. There is little evidence that it kills jobs. Studies of the “Amazon effect” suggest that new warehouse and delivery jobs offset the decline in shop assistants, and the firm’s minimum hourly wage of $15 in America is above the median for the retail trade.

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But Amazon’s strategy does imply huge creative disruption in the jobs market even as the economy reels. In addition, viral outbreaks at its warehouses have reignited fears about working conditions: 13 American state attorneys-general have voiced concern. And Amazon’s role as a digital jack-of-all-trades creates conflicts of interest. Does its platform, for example, treat third-party sellers on equal terms with its own products? Congress and the EU are investigating this. And how comfortable should other firms be about giving their sensitive data to AWS given that it is part of a larger conglomerate which competes with them?

Amazon’s second problem is bloating. As Mr Bezos has expanded into industry after industry, his firm has gone from being asset-light to having a balance-sheet heavier than a Soviet tractor factory. Today it has $104bn of plant, including leased assets, not far off the $119bn of its old-economy rival, Walmart. As a result, returns excluding AWS are puny and the pandemic is squeezing margins in e-commerce further. Mr Bezos says the firm can become more than the sum of its parts by harvesting data and selling ads and subscriptions. So far investors have taken this on trust. But the weak e-commerce margins make it harder for Amazon to spin off AWS. This would get regulators off its back and liberate AWS, but would deprive Amazon of the money-machine that funds everything else.

Mr Bezos’s last worry is competition. He has long said that he watches customers, not competitors, but he must have noticed how his rivals have been energised by the pandemic. Digital sales at Walmart, Target and Costco probably doubled or more in April, year on year. Independent digital firms are thriving. If you create a stockmarket clone of Amazon lookalikes, including Shopify, Netflix and UPS, it has outperformed Amazon this year. In much of the world regional competitors rule, not Amazon; among them are MercadoLibre in Latin America, Jio in India and Shopee in South-East Asia. China is dominated by Alibaba, JD.com and brash new contenders like Pinduoduo.

Imitation is the sincerest form of capitalism

The world’s most admired business is thus left having to solve several puzzles. If Amazon raises wages to placate politicians in a populist era, it will lose its low-cost edge. If it spins off AWS to please regulators, the rump will be financially fragile. And if it raises prices to satisfy shareholders its new competitors will win market share. Twenty-five years on, Mr Bezos’s vision of a world that shops, watches and reads online is coming true faster than ever. But the job of running Amazon has become no easier, even if it no longer involves packing boxes.

Source: https://www.economist.com

Tim Lesko of Granite Investment Advisors says it’s hard to imagine a better backdrop for Amazon, with the surge in online sales during the virus outbreak, and as for Apple, expectations weren’t very high for iPhone sales this year, even before the pandemic. Amazon reported its first-quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday, revealing the pandemic’s impact on the business that has been a rare bright spot on the stock market. The stock fell about 5% after hours after missing estimates on earnings while beating revenue expectations.
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