Amazon's Path To The Everything Company With Brad Stone (Podcast)

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About: Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Includes: WMT
by: Behind The Idea

Summary

Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store, joins us to kick off our miniseries covering Amazon.

He describes how the disparate pieces of Amazon's business emerge from a steady pace of experimentation and sticking to Amazon's core story.

Jeff Bezos holds it all together, so we ask what it is that allows him to do that.

By Daniel Shvartsman

One of the many anecdotes that stuck with me from The Everything Store, which I would call the book about Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to date, is the path Bezos didn't take (you can read my review of the book here). He was considering naming the company Relentless.com. Relentless is an adjective, and while it is a good trait to have in life, it would have been worse as a brand for a couple reasons. I say that because Amazon evokes greatness, expanse, a little bit of mystery and magic, and something elemental. Relentless evokes scrappiness and grit and all those traits that are useful but which sometimes trick people into thinking that they succeeded in a more solitary way than they really did.

That evocation of expanse, of mystery, and of the elemental is what occurs to me after our conversation with The Everything Store's author, Brad Stone. We spoke with him to kick off our November miniseries covering Amazon on Behind the Idea. Stone knows as much about Amazon as anybody, and just published an entertaining piece about Amazon's efforts in India (which, as we discussed, might be a make-good effort for their biggest failure). So we thought it was an opportune time to speak with him.

Source: CNBC

The core themes we're going to be reviewing over the rest of the month on the podcast are:

  • Jeff Bezos and key man risk
  • Is Amazon too big?
  • Amazon's financial statements
  • Amazon - long or short?

With Brad, we focused on the first two topics, which fit together neatly. We started discussing Amazon's growth and whether there were potential limits to it in the near term, and whether they were natural outgrowth of the company's business plan. He also gave his view on the pending HQ2 news, before the latest reports came out last weekend and Monday. We then got on the topic of Jeff Bezos - how involved is he in the business at this stage, what makes him different, and how should Amazon investors understand him better. It made for a fun talk.

Topics covered:

  • Amazon’s change over the years – is this evolution or revolution? – 3:30 minute mark
  • Amazon’s sprawl, its effects, and any possible limits – 7:45
  • What’s going on with HQ2? – 12:30
  • Chaos as moat? – 19:00
  • What makes Jeff Bezos different – 22:00
  • Amazon in China and then India – 26:00
  • Bezos’s involvement and any misperceptions about Bezos? – 30:00
  • Who is Jeff Bezos? – 34:30

We hope you enjoy the podcast. Our four-part series on Amazon continues next week with a close read of the financial statements, and we have big guests planned for the rest of the month.

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What do you think about Amazon's prospects in India? Any surprises around HQ2? Is Bezos's legacy going to be Amazon or Blue Origin, and is this proof that nerds rule the world? Let us know below.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: Nobody on this podcast has positions in any stocks mentioned. This podcast should not be taken as investment advice.