With the passing of a visionary like Steve Jobs, people are asking the obvious questions about who will fill that void. What will happen to Apple? Who will lead the path to the future of technology? asks Cory Treffiletti on MediaPost.
Kaila Colbin recently wrote a great article for the Spin on the challenges facing the heir-apparent at Apple, but I want to think wider for a moment. I want to answer the question of who will be the next Steve Jobs from an industrial and business perspective.
Jeff Bezos, please step up and take your place at the head of the table.
If you think about it, Jeff Bezos is doing almost everything right. Amazon has become the poster child for innovation in online retail, with the Kindle the other “must-have” device for self-respecting digerati. The most recent announcements for the Kindle Fire, though maybe not as much of a barn burner as the iPhone 4S, definitely had an impact — and poised Amazon as a continued player in the tablet market, if not only as a loss-leader platform for its retail services.
Apple gets a lot of the credit for consumer innovation, but Amazon is not far behind. Apple focuses on form, function and design, whereas Amazon focuses on access: access to what you want, wherever you are. The company makes buying things easy, effectively turning a considered purchase into an impulse buy. For all that Apple does right, buying its products is still a considered purchase.
Amazon has risen in the ranks to become one of the most well-respected companies in the world. It dominates online retail, and it quietly owns patents like the “one-click” ordering system, as well as whatever is on the inside of the Kindle line of products. Amazon is a force in digital music, second only to iTunes. It is the leader in eBooks, it owns self-publishing platforms, and is inevitably going to push Netflix, if it can take advantage of the Netfliix/Qwikster/Netflix missteps of the last six weeks. And oh yes, Amazon basically invented affiliate marketing.
Jeff Bezos doesn’t make lots of public presentations; he only speaks when he needs to. He doesn’t make broad-sweeping proclamations from his pulpit-on-high, he just gets things done. He also doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and he doesn’t air any dirty laundry. You don’t hear too many people complaining about working at Amazon. Rather, it is a desirable destination for legions of intellectual businesspeople.
Amazon does it right, and could one day rival Apple as the leading tech-oriented company. Bezos won’t need to get fired from Amazon and return to bring the company to glory. He’s already there, and no one is challenging him for the lead reins. If you look at the five-year trend for Amazon, it keeps going up. Those are the kinds of things investors look for: stability, growth and innovation.
What kept Apple in a position of growth was Steve Jobs — his vision, his passion for the business, and his unrelenting desire to improve the world, “think different” and challenge the status quo. Jeff Bezos is cut from a similar cloth. He is constantly challenging the way things are done. He is ultra-focused on the consumer. He is obviously very passionate about his business. What is there to stop him from being that person to drive his business and become the person that others look up to?
Here’s a toast to Jeff Bezos, as we look to the future and the visionaries that will shape the world for many years to come.
Good luck, Jeff!
This post was republished with the kind permission of MediaPost.com