It is a symbolic photo, which the creators of start-ups love to share among themselves to give themselves courage. Jeff Bezos, sitting alone in an office lit by a pale light. His computer is placed on a wooden board which serves as a table. To its right, the “Amazon.com” address has been tagged in blue, but the sign leans to the left. The air applied, Jeff Bezos – who still has hair – types on his keyboard. The man just launched his online book sales site in 1994 in the suburbs of Seattle.
At the start of 2021, Jeff Bezos is today, depending on the day and the stock market price, the richest man in the world – or the second, next to Elon Musk. At the head of a fortune of around 180 billion dollars, the founder of Amazon has decided to leave the operational management of the empire that made him so rich. In the third quarter of this year, he will give way to Andy Jassy, current director of Amazon’s cloud division, AWS, the group’s most profitable subsidiary, created in 2003.
Different from the creators of Google
Adon the occasion of the publication of the group’s annual results, this departure is not really one. While Jeff Bezos will be stepping down from operational management, he will lead the board and continue to influence the direction his empire takes. The man, who still holds around 10% of the company’s capital, remains the largest shareholder. Amazon is now worth $ 1,690 billion on the stock market. At the same time, the fortune of Jeff Bezos, aged 57, will allow him to invest more in significant projects.
It seems indeed excluded that Jeff Bezos imitates Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google who disappeared from the public domain after their departure from the operational direction of their group at the end of 2019. No, Jeff Bezos has major ambitions. In philanthropy, first, with the two Day One Fund and the Earth Fund he created. In space, above all, with his aerospace company Blue Origin. Like a certain … Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos is passionate about space. And without the media coverage of Space X, Elon Musk’s company, Blue Origin is making progress.
Two weeks ago, Blue Origin claimed to be “very close” to being able to send humans into space after having succeeded in sending, for the fourteenth time, a rocket into space. This is the great dream of Jeff Bezos: to extend the borders of the Earth to space, by regularly sending humans there for tourism. The Blue Origin capsules are intended to send six tourists into space, at an altitude of 107 kilometers. “We are very close to making people steal,” said a director of the program recently, without giving a date. By coincidence, SpaceX failed on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday to land one of its rockets in Texas, causing it to crash. In this space race, Elon Musk has other ambitions than Jeff Bezos, ultimately aiming for flights to Mars.
It is therefore the space that Jeff Bezos is now targeting after having conquered Earth. With patience, the man built an empire that could never have grown so quickly thanks to the cash provided by the AWS cloud division, which also provided him with the computing and storage capacity for its music and video streaming services. . Today, Amazon is one of the largest employers on the planet, with 800,000 employees in the United States and 1.3 million on the planet. For 2020, the group generated more than $ 386 billion in revenue, from which it made a net profit of $ 21.3 billion, nearly double that of 2019.
New markets (on Earth)
Active in e-commerce – for its own goods and also serving as platforms for millions of sellers – the delivery of dishes, the sale of cloud services, Amazon digital assistants has not finished, under the rule of Jeff Bezos , to expand its territory. The group has high ambitions in pharma. But not only. Amazon takes an experimental approach to much of its business.
“We’ve seen the company focus more on areas (like video games) or emerging markets (like India) when opportunities have presented themselves. The most important of these new areas has been digital advertising. “This is almost the entire ‘other’ segment and its annual turnover is $ 20 billion, an annual growth rate of over 40%”, notes Neil Campling, analyst specialized in technology with the Mirabaud bank.
Even venture capital in the health sector
And after that? “By looking at Amazon’s job boards, we can also get a sense of how the group is starting to focus on new opportunities. There are vacancies for a development manager in healthcare venture capital, for example, and engineers wanted for ‘Alexa Automotive’, which gives you an idea of Alexa’s next focus. , continues the analyst.
It is this Amazon impossible to slow down on Earth – except perhaps by regulatory authorities – that Jeff Bezos will no longer lead from day to day. From now on, seeing him fly away in a Blue Origin capsule with his friend Lauren Sanchez is probably only a matter of months.