Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Doesn’t Want An Empire, He Wants The World

Editor’s note: John Geraci is head of marketing for innovation agency faberNovel, where he and his colleagues help organizations think and act like startups. Follow him on Twitter at @johngeraci.

Two years ago, faberNovel published a study called “ The Hidden Empire.” Detailing the strategies by which the company had gone from a scrappy startup to a world-dominating e-commerce site in the course of 17 years, the study generated a lot of discussion on the web.

We called it “The Hidden Empire” because at the time, Amazon was somewhat of a secret giant. Of course everyone bought their books on Amazon, but in 2011, the mainstream opinion was that Apple, Google and Facebook were the giants of the times. Those companies were the sexy visionaries of the day. Amazon? Well, it just sold books and stuff.

A lot has changed in just two years.

Since we published the study, a steady, ever-growing buzz has developed around Amazon as it becomes increasingly clear that they are really in for the kill with the retail industry, intending to spare no prisoners along the way. This week, faberNovel published an updated version of The Hidden Empire, to keep pace with all of these changes and make sense of them for people. Below are a few highlights from the 2013 edition:

  • The Kindle experiment has been a success, giving Amazon its own low-cost lineup of devices and making them a direct challenger to Apple.
  • Their fulfillment operations, complete with same-day delivery and pick-up lockers, reveal their intention of competing directly with local retailers, as well as large distributors.
  • They’ve started invading the B2B space with Amazon Supply, but they clearly also want corporate-accounts domination – and they might succeed in getting it.
  • They continue to experiment with new and disruptive business models, such as renting textbooks to students, to discover future paths to growth.
  • We now see that Amazon’s ultimate, bold vision is to credibly offer anything, anywhere, anytime – to everyone.
  • And finally, Bezos is – dare we say – the new Steve Jobs? Less sexy maybe (sorry, Jeff), but certainly every bit as visionary.

Where do you stand in relation to Amazon as it moves to dominate multiple industries at once? Read the study and decide, and let us know what you think.