The Walrus gives us a tour of how Bezos made Amazon the second richest company in the world (spoiler: off the backs of everyone except Jeff Bezos).
As of this writing, Amazon is now the second-biggest company in the world by market value (behind Microsoft and ahead of Apple, Google, and Facebook), with $177 billion in yearly revenue and a few billion in actual yearly profit, thanks mainly to its remote-computing cloud-services unit. Amazon is among the leaders of the “optimization” of business processes, using metrics to evaluate every decision and then building preferences into the algorithms that run a large part of the day-to-day activity on the platform. Today, Amazon relies on these systems to regularly “scrape” pricing data from competitors’ sites and then automatically match or slightly underprice them in order to leverage its platform power into a greater market share.
Amazon has proven itself to be a true bully of the markets, with a long history of using its huge market weight to undo client after competitor after customer. It’s a fascinating story in which the company again and again justifies its ever-growing power using the laws of the jungle whose name it took.