Before the coronavirus epidemic, Amazon had been consuming some 2% of all U.S. household income, a percentage that has assuredly risen since the outbreak’s onset, particularly among the company’s more than 150+ million Amazon Prime members. While 51% of American households attend church, 62% have Prime memberships. In the best of times, the company’s presence in our daily lives is inescapable. As Amazon gains many invaluable lessons from the Covid-19 outbreak, the company will only become more ubiquitous in the decades ahead. Soberly aware of Amazon’s staying power, the CEO quipped to employees in 2018: “I predict one day, Amazon will fail. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be thirty-plus years.” At the time he made that comment, Amazon was twenty-four-years-old. Bestselling Good to Great author Jim Collins says Amazon needs to build a new mechanism for growth. That mechanism—a virtuous cycle “flywheel” that used data to attract more buyers and sellers whose new data contributions could then be harnessed by the flywheel—was championed by Bezos and today has been made to accelerate even faster using Amazon’s massive AI engines. As the author argues, Amazon is a business where AI is increasingly making the decisions that humans used to make and keeps getting smarter on its own. Rivals have taken notice. This why some companies, such as Walmart and Alibaba, have chosen to steal from Amazon’s playbook while others have tried to identify the few things the Seattle juggernaut can’t do and excel at them. Bezos has built one of the most efficient wealth-creation machines in history, a juggernaut. This convenience, however, will come at a cost. It will lead to massive job disruptions and our lives being affected by technology in ever more invasive ways.
Joining us for our discussion on The Amazon Effect is Brian Dumaine who is on the phone from his New York office. Brian Dumaine is an award-winning journalist and a contributing editor at Fortune magazine. His latest book is Bezonomics: How Amazon is Changing our Lives and What The World's Best Companies Are Learning From It. Welcome to Mastering Your Money, Brian Dumaine .