Is Bezos the new 'Steve Jobs'?

Is Bezos the new 'Steve Jobs'?

Summary: He has charisma, success, and a strong view of the future...

TOPICS: Amazon

Jeff Bezos is by far the most interesting of the tech industry CEOs. He's the new "Steve Jobs" in terms of being able to attract the same type of attention to his every move. 

Will he be able to guide society into a welcoming, bright digital future in the same way Steve Jobs was able to educate and show how things could become?

Mr. Bezos is a much more humanitarian version of Steve Jobs, who was an uptight hippie despite his ashram and alternate lifestyle experiences. Mr. Bezos' style is much gentler and better suited to our times.

He's a very impressive chief executive, a serial innovator with a strong sense of the future and the discipline to do what's needed to get there. And he can inspire and lead a large organization.

Like Apple, he has his fanboys but they are his shareholders, a stoic bunch that's unfazed by his stewardship of Amazon on a knife-edge of profitability, but continually reinvesting into infrastructure and customers.

It's a brilliant strategy. How can companies, with much larger profit margins to protect, compete against Amazon's shareholders? They'd be killed in the stock market if they fail to maintain their high margins. That means they can't take the same risks. But they create a price umbrella for products and services that Amazon can exploit.

I once asked him, "Shouldn't you focus on succeeding in one business instead of so many different businesses?" He answered, "Why? Why can't we succeed in all of them?" 

Amazon is a tech company but it's not a product company, it's a collection of many businesses. Here's his challenge:

Predicting the future of technology is easy, it's much harder to figure out how to be a business in that future. 

So far, so good for Mr. Bezos. His successes haven't come easily and he deserves the recognition for a hard job done well.

Reinventing the newspaper business might be a stride too far but it's worth a try and I'm glad it's not my money experimenting with business models. Who knows, he might come up with a winning formula that everyone can use. If not, then not much harm done - the $250m is only 1% of his fortune.

Steve Jobs didn't win all the time.

Topic: Amazon

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  • Hard to make such a direct analogy

    They're both designers and promoters, but Jobs was a designer and promoter of products, while Bezos is a designer and promoter of services. It's a lot easier for the American public to identify with a product than a service. So while it's fair to compare them, I wouldn't slap Bezos with that label. Comparing him to Larry Ellison might be closer to the mark, but then again Oracle isn't an all-encompassing consumer service like Amazon.
    Michael Kelly
    • Well said!

      I would add that most normal people don't know who Jeff Bezos is, but they at least know the name of Steve Jobs and associate it with Apple. Sure, Bezos has his name on amazon's front page from time to time, but I reckon those messages are read only a little more often then EULA.
    • I've been waiting about 20 years to see some

      Bezos charisma. Still have yet to see any. Amazon employees don't seem to think working there is anything more than a job either. But at least he's not such a big d**khead like Steve jobs was so that's one for his pr teams competence.
      Johnny Vegas
  • I don't know

    Has Bezos ever abandoned his children? Does he constantly park in handicapped spots? Has he ever thrown a temper tantrum where he promised to go thermo nuclear on a competitor to the detriment of consumers? Has he ever led a company in breaking the law and being convicted of anti-trust regulations?

    Answer these questions and then we'll have a better idea as to whether or not Bezos is the new steve jobs.
    • Nice first cast

      Oh sinless one.
    • bill

      I don't know if bezos did that but Bill Gates certaintly did. Bill went nuclear on his competitors, got convicted as illegal monopolist & wheel n deal in underhanded fashion

      Hey news flash, they r all not perfect coz they r human ;-)
      • You shouldn't mention bill gates or microsoft in a negative way here

        Because then the microsoft supporters in this forum will tell you to "Don't change the subject".

        But changing the subject to e.g. Apple in the comments to an article which is negative towards microsoft is perfectly OK. According to the "rules" of the microsoft supporters in this forum. (Apparently, "you just can make such rules up"...)
  • Steve Jobs?

    He's no Steve Jobs, but I wouldn't want to compete against him. Ask ebay.
    • Who would want to compete against him

      Amazon seems to not care about being profitable, and Wall street seems ok with that.

      Why would any sane business want to try to go against that?
  • Hmm

    Nah, if he's that much of a megalomaniac then he hides it well.

    Besides, Steve used a marketing presence and rode the coat tails of many who created the products at Apple. Did he have a vision? Yes but, ultimately others have always made it happen.

    Bezos doesn't have an original thought in his head and he's basically creating poor copies of others products.
    • So tell me?...

      ...What has he created?...and failed, and admitted??
  • No, Bezos is no comparison...

    ... Elon Musk? Maybe, but not Jeff.
  • We all knew Steve Jobs, and Bezos is no Steve Jobs.

    Bezos has not created or been involved in creating a highly profitable business, like Jobs. Bezos is the leader of a company with a lot of promises, but very little to show. Apple was at one time, where Amazon is today, a company with high visibility, but very little to show for it. Apple has graduated from that image, and it's now the most profitable tech company on the planet. Amazon will never get there. Bezos might have his billions, but, his company hasn't earned the credibility of a highly successful business. Apple was guided by Jobs, and Amazon is guided by Bezos, but, comparatively, Amazon is not in the same playing field, and neither is Bezos in the same playing field as Jobs. Purchasing a newspaper doesn't make a person a success, and in fact, it could become one of the dumbest deals ever made by anyone.
    • You're views are pretty tribal...

      Bezos has changed the content landscape forever. He has done more to move atoms to digits "per capita" than anyone. Jobs was probably a genius of design quality (in terms of his approach) and a master of niche markets. In spite of his multiple failures, he certainly succeeded brilliantly into moving his niche franchise(s) into the mainstream while staying wildly profitable (his last 10-12 years). Kudos.

      Gates was an assimilator where he would wait for a market to form and then enter with overwhelming force (the same strategy IBM used going back to the 1950s). And there is brilliance and business acumen in how he built his franchise.

      Bezos is much different but certainly a man of his times. If you look at the breadth of what he continues to roll-out (don't forget AWS; I have one of my businesses prospering from Amazon Web Services), he is building/buying the digital ecosystem more effectively than anyone on the planet (perhaps for now). There is loyalty and value that his customer base enjoys. BTW, in terms of personal wealth creation, when Jobs died his personal wealth was ~ $11-12B, while Bezos at the time was around $19B. I think the market likes Amazon's margins as they keep moving successfully in a never-ending dash to success. He plays to be number 1 in his key markets.
      • Fact remains that, Amazon is not a powerhouse profit center, even as large

        as it is. Heck, nobody has more customers than Twitter or Facebook, and they too don't make much in revenue or profits. The main goal of a company, is to build products and services which produce value to the investors and the consumers. As it is, Amazon is "barely" making it, and the size of Amazon hasn't made much difference, and the size of Bezos bank account also hasn't made for a very successful company. Heck, even Zucerberg is a billionaire, but with very little to show for it.

        Bezos might have a thicker wallet than Jobs ever did, but Jobs contributions to the tech markets were a lot more noticeable and important than what Bezos ever did.

        I don't have anything personal against Bezos, but I also won't turn him into something bigger than what he really is.
  • Bad comparison

    Tough to compare since the two companies, while similar in many ways, are also very different. Even still, when Jobs broke back on the scene he absolutely stormed the world. Steve Jobs was a household name. Even the majority of tech folk probably don't know who Jeff Bezos is. Oh and Steve Jobs wouldn't have blown a wad on a print newspaper.
  • Absolutely YES! Although different in style and character,......

    I am a big fan of Bezos. Bezos is very different from Jobs. Jobs and Bezos advocate different things, different philosophies. Bezos is strong in his pragmatism. If this does not work, try something else. He is also strong at empowering the clients. Amazon empowers its client in many different ways. As a professional computer programmer, Amazon empowers me also. Amazon does not pick fights like Microsoft does, it just moves forward in many different ways.
  • and zos

    rhymes with Woz, who made Jobs look almost clever...
  • New Jobs?

    No, he seems to be personally likeable.