Only One Thing May Force Jeff Bezos to Calm Down

His own employees, worried about their stock: Columnist
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2014 12:38 PM CDT
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks on stage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone in Seattle in June. The phone flopped.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
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(Newser) – Amazon stock tanked yesterday after a lousy quarterly earnings report, and the big question is whether this reality check will change the way Jeff Bezos operates, writes Brad Stone at Bloomberg Businessweek. The company "is spending wildly on new initiatives": everything from new "fulfillment centers" to grocery deliveries to expansion in India. And then there's its forays into devices such as the Fire Phone, which was such a flop that Amazon can hardly give them away. Stone likens Amazon to "a sports car with an accelerator that is frequently pressed all the way forward, mostly because its driver-CEO believes the road ahead is clear, and there’s a lucrative race to be won."

If history is a guide, investor displeasure isn't going to force Bezos into slowing down, but Stone thinks one thing might: his own employees. "Amazon workers are compensated heavily with stock grants, which are parceled out over four-year periods," he explains. If they think great rewards lie in store, they'll stick around. Amazon, however, has been "losing key players" of late. Yesterday, Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak spoke of being selective in future investments, sounding what Stone calls a rare note of restraint. "There just might be a movement within the company to persuade Bezos to apply some brakes," he writes. Click for the full column.

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