Before facing the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee for the first time, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos released his prepared remarks for the public to see, which for the most part is a tale of how Bezos became the man he is today.
Four tech moguls are expected to attend the hearing with the antitrust subcommittee on Wednesday: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. And for the Amazon CEO, this is going to be the first.
Here’s what critics are expecting to happen: the congress giving Bezos the tough cross-examination over Amazon’s dominance in the industry, grilling him about the company’s private-label business, and even ask him which company he considers as his most robust competitors wherein Walmart may be mentioned more than twice.
As for the Blue Origin founder, he takes a familiar move by opening his remarks using his personal story. Starting from his mother’s pregnancy at the age of 17 and how his adoptive father met his mother who was attending night school with infant Jeff, to his risky investment in Amazon early on. Bezos claims “Amazon’s success was anything but preordained. Investing in Amazon early on was a very risky proposition. From our founding through the end of 2001, our business had cumulative losses of nearly $3 billion, and we did not have a profitable quarter until the fourth quarter of that year. Smart analysts predicted Barnes & Noble would steamroll us, and branded us ‘Amazon.toast.’”
As many already know, Amazon did not climb to success early, in fact, Amazon’s stock even reached its all-time low: $6. “In addition to good luck and great people, we have been able to succeed as a company only because we have continued to take big risks. To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment,” Bezos added.
The 56-year-old CEO also mentioned that “obsessive customer focus” is the best way the company has taken to get the desired results, considering customers are known to be often dissatisfied. And at the end of the day, customers are smart for which Amazon’s customer-first approach is what Bezos mentioned as their “greatest strength.”
As for its employees, “[Amazon is] spending more than $700 million to give more than 100,000 Amazon employees access to training programs in fields such as healthcare, transportation, machine learning, and cloud computing … [Amazon pays] 95% of tuition and fees toward a certificate or diploma for in-demand, high-paying fields, regardless of whether it’s relevant to a career at Amazon.”
Jeff Bezos’ full statement can be read at Amazon’s blog site.