Jeff Bezos To Employees: ‘One Day, Amazon Will Fail’ But Our Job Is To Delay It As Long As Possible

Jeff Bezos To Employees: ‘One Day, Amazon Will Fail’ But Our Job Is To Delay It As Long As Possible

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seems to see the writing on the wall. The company has been plagued by workers’ complaints. Thousands of workers in German, Italy, the U.K., and Spain walked out leaving the company stranded on what is considered the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. They are demanding better pay and labor contracts for healthy working conditions.

The announcement of Amazon HQ2 sites was also met with controversy and protests. Amazon picked New York’s Long Island City and the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., with plans to add 25,000 jobs in each location. Area residents in New York are not too happy.

So it’s no wonder that Bezos realizes Amazon will not be around for generations to come.

Jeff Bezos
Demonstrators hold images of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos near their faces during a Halloween-themed protest at Amazon headquarters over the company’s facial recognition system, “Rekognition,” Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, in Seattle. Protesters said that they were there in support of hundreds of Amazon employees who have signed a letter asking the company to stop marketing their facial recognition software to ICE and to drop its contract with software company Palantir and to law enforcement agencies. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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“Amazon is not too big to fail,” Bezos said in a meeting with employees in March that was just made public by CNBC. “In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.”

According to Bezos, the company can extend its life by working to “obsess over customers” and to avoid looking inward, worrying about itself.

“If we start to focus on ourselves instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end,” he said. “We have to try and delay that day for as long as possible.”

Still, many employees feel that the company is growing too fast. Amazon’s workforce has grown 20-fold in the last eight years to more than 600,000 employees, and the stock price has more than quadrupled since 2013, CNBC reported. Amazon is the second-largest company in the U.S.

“We’re a large company,” Bezos said in a recording that CNBC obtained. “It’s reasonable for large institutions of any kind, whether it be companies or governments, to be scrutinized.”

He company employees to “conduct ourselves in such a way that when we are scrutinized we will pass with flying colors.”

In an all-hands meeting, Bezos pointed out that there are very few companies in American that have been around 100 years.

“Most of the companies that are multi-hundred-year-old companies are breweries,” he said with a laugh. “It’s very interesting — I’m not sure what that says about society.”

All retailers eventually go bankrupt, Bezos told Amazon employees. Retail goes through cycles. Certain kinds of retailers become popular, but then they fail to adapt and their businesses decline and eventually vanish. We see that over and over again. The retailers who can change are the exceptions, not the rule.

Business experts understand why Bezos is predicting Amazon’s demise. It’s because most retail business ultimately peak and then go downhill.

As “Amazon blows past the $200 billion revenue threshold, it gets harder to find sources of revenue that will have the impact it needs on revenue growth,” wrote Richard Kestenbaum, a Forbes contributor. “You can’t, for example, double the number of Prime subscribers in the country; there aren’t enough households left to do that and the saturation is already too high.”

Amazon needs to find new sectors to bring online, like it first did with books, wrote Kestenbaum,  whose company, Triangle Capital LLC, does mergers, acquisitions and capital-raising for consumer-related businesses:

(Amazon) needs new industries, like grocery, healthcare, banking or automobiles, that have relatively low online penetration and the potential for conversion to online sales to sustain its revenue growth. But the thing about that is, it’s hard and it’s uncertain. Amazon has owned Whole Foods for well over a year and the conversion to online doesn’t appear to be happening, at least so far.”