Jeff Bezos Believes Amazon Will Meet an ‘Inevitable Death’

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: May 05, 2024

Former Amazon CEO and current billionaire Jeff Bezos has explained that he believes Amazon — the company he founded — will eventually meet an “inevitable death.”

Though Bezos has explained he has assurances that the current Amazon CEO, Andy Jassy, will continue to improve the company, he’s also stated that all companies eventually come to an end. In his eyes, Amazon is no different, despite how massive it’s become around the world.

The Beginnings of Amazon

Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 in Bellevue, Washington, with his then-wife Mackenzie Scott. At its beginnings, Amazon was simply an online store where people could buy books.

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Jeff Bezos talking in 2004.

Source: JD Lasica/Wikimedia Commons

However, the company eventually expanded into selling different products. Now, the company is a huge marketplace that millions of people around the world use to shop for various items on a daily basis.

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Bezos’ Departure From Amazon

In 2021, Bezos officially left Amazon as its CEO, passing the helm over to Jassy. However, in his departure letter to shareholders from this year, Bezos reflected on Amazon’s rise — and its eventual downfall.

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Jeff Bezos sitting down in a suit and talking.

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In this letter, Bezos clearly stated that Amazon needed to always ensure it stayed innovative in a competitive e-commerce world. If it can’t stay innovative and create new things, then it will very quickly fall behind. Eventually, this will lead to Amazon’s death.

Staying Innovative

According to Bezos, if Amazon stays innovative, then it will stay alive. It’s when it finds itself in stasis that death will start to knock on its door.

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A close-up of a phone open to Amazon.

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To get this point across, Bezos quoted Richard Dawkins’ book “The Blind Watchmaker,” writing, “Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at.”

Staying Unique

Bezos also took the time to explain that Amazon also needed to stay unique. It can’t simply become a normal occurrence that many people are used to. If it becomes normal, then it could become old-fashioned and boring.

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Jeff Bezos speaking in front of a microphone with greenery behind him.

Source: Seattle City Council/Wikimedia Commons

Bezos wrote, “How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness?”

A Normal Amazon

While many consumers in the United States may feel that Amazon has already become a normal thing in their lives, Bezos apparently disagrees. However, it’s the thought of this normality that Amazon needs to fight against, according to its former CEO.

A rendering of two Amazon packages.

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“The world will always try to make Amazon more typical – to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort, but we can and must be better than that,” Bezos wrote.

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Standing Apart From the Pack

In his departure letter, Bezos also took the time to give some advice. Instead of allowing Amazon to blend in, he encouraged the company and its workers to stand out.

A close-up on an Amazon pickup and returns building.

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He wrote, “To all of you: be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings. It remains Day 1.”

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Talking of Amazon’s Death

Bezos’ letter from 2021 gave some insight into how he thinks Amazon could eventually end. However, some of his discussions from 2018 have also shed light on his thinking on this matter.

Many Amazon packages and boxes seen in a warehouse.

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Bezos explained then that many large companies eventually stumble — and this stumble leads to the death of the company.

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The Death of Amazon

This “inevitable” death of Amazon will be just as other large corporations have died in the past, Bezos said.

A close-up of a laptop screen open to Amazon.

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He stated, “If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not 100-plus years.”

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How Companies Can Change Over Time

During this discussion, Bezos also pointed out how companies large and small can greatly change over time. As an example, he pointed to many past innovators and disruptors of long ago.

A smartphone open to many apps, including Amazon.

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Today, many of these formerly unique companies are now old-fashioned. They’re nothing like they used to be — and they aren’t considered innovative at all.

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A Death in the Future

While Bezos has opened up about Amazon’s eventual fall, it appears he doesn’t actually think this demise will happen any time soon. In fact, he remains quite optimistic about the company, even if he’s no longer the CEO.

A phone open in front of an Amazon Go store.

Source: Simon Bak/Unsplash

But that doesn’t mean that Bezos thinks the company he founded will be alive forever. He has seemingly come to terms that, in the future, Amazon will likely eventually reach its end.

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A New Future

Though Bezos is no longer the CEO of Amazon, he has always said that he has full faith in Jassy, the company’s new CEO.

A portrait photograph of Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

Source: Lisi Mezistrano Wolf/Wikimedia Commons

In his departure letter, Bezos wrote, “Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical. He will muster the energy needed to keep alive in us what makes us special.”

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