The second half of 2021 will see Jeff Bezos step down as Amazon CEO. He has earned a fortune of $200 billion. Bezos’s career splits opinion. On one hand, he revolutionised modern business. On the other, he has not used his wealth to benefit society, and his treatment of employees is immoral.
Here at Spiela we understand that Bezos is controversial. We thought we would lay out the positive and negative actions of the Amazon CEO, so that you can evaluate his impact.
Let us start with the positive. He started Amazon from his garage, in 1994. The early days were tough. The company teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, and the Harvard Business School urged him to sell. Bezos did not give up. His relentless work ethic and innovation dragged the company through their rough patch. Bezos forged a behemoth, from humble beginnings. This is to be admired.
The billionaire’s adaptability and eye for expansion became an inspiration for startups, across the globe. Many aim to replicate Amazon’s customer obsession, which caters adverts to an individual’s preferences. It allows the company to develop services such as Amazon Prime and AWS, as they respond to market demand. The Amazon model helps many small businesses grow and advertise, which emphasises Bezos’s revolutionary business acumen.
However, Bezos demands too much from his employees. Warehouse staff work in a crucible of heat and exhaustion. Ambulances were called to Amazon warehouses over 600 times, between 2015-2018, in the UK alone. Bezos makes his staff work until they collapse, in unsafe conditions. A man of his wealth has the capital to protect his employees, but instead he sacrifices their livelihood for productivity.
Bezos also has the capital to significantly change the world, but he chooses not to. Hypothetically, he could end world hunger for 15 years, and still be the 17th richest individual on the planet. In 2019 he donated $98million to the homeless which seemed a hefty amount, until it transpired that it was only 0.09% of his net worth.
However, in 2020 he dug deeper, into his pockets, and donated $10billion to combat climate change. This still represents a meagre percentage of his net worth, but it is a significant amount of money.
So, that is the good and bad of Jeff Bezos. He has revolutionised business in many positive ways, but some argue that his treatment of employees can be unethical.
We would love to hear your opinion on Jeff Bezos. Has his career inspired you in anyway? Do you think he needs to do more to help those most in need? Let us know in the comments below.