Jeff Bezos may be the richest man in modern history and at the helm of the second company to join the $1 trillion club, but he has no illusions about Amazon’s future.
Speaking to employees at an all-hands meeting last week, Bezos said that “Amazon is not too big to fail.” According to CNBC, he went on to say that he predicts that Amazon will one day fail and go bankrupt. “If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.”
Amazon, which was founded in 1994, is already nearing 30 years old. To postpone the end of the company’s lifespan, Bezos argued that Amazon needs to focus its energy on its customers, rather than worrying too much about the internal dynamics at play.
“If we start to focus on ourselves,” he explained, “instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end. We have to try and delay that day for as long as possible.”
Bezos went on to share two other pieces of wisdom with Amazon employees. The first was to ensure that Amazon continues to differentiate itself from all the other large tech companies, emphasizing its different business model and its focus on “improving the lives of customers.”
Noting that no two of these tech giants are the same, Bezos said, “I don’t want to fight this kind of big tech impression—I want to just talk about Amazon.”
And, while a magic elixir doesn’t exist to ensure the longevity of the company he built, Bezos told those in attendance that he found that breweries appear to be the type of company that lasts the longest.
“Most of the companies that are multi-hundred-year-old companies are breweries,” he said. “It’s very interesting—I’m not sure what that says about society.”