Let's imagine, for a moment, within a decade. The year is 2027.
By then, Amazon has become the largest online shopkeeper in the United States, and is not even close.
In garments, the e-commerce giant long ago surpassed Macy's as the largest retailer in the category, but now also has several billion-dollar clothing brands.
Amazon Alexa, the popular voice assistant, has overtaken Google as the most used search engine, or voice, as they say now. It is everywhere and feeds the brain of everything.
And in the media world, Amazon has become the preferred live streaming partner not only for the National Football League, but also for the National Basketball Association. (Adam Silver got his wish.)
After the year that Amazon is about to complete in 2017, with a stock price of up to 50 percent and a valuation of more than $ 550 billion, this imagined future may end up being a conservative prediction of domination so Amazon is currently laying a foundation.
And when it does, we can look back on 2017 as the beginning of Amazon 3.0 – one characterized by a total assault on the larger categories of food and clothing, a willingness to consummate acquisitions, and the integration of a new computing platform built on our voice, one that follows the decade of Amazon 2.0 that started with the Amazon Prime and Amazon Web Services releases in 2005 and 2006.
This year, Jeff Bezos, the architect and leader of this business during The last 23 years, he reached the heart of the grocery industry and snatched Whole Foods challenged from the sales shelf for nearly $ 14 billion.
Yes, the deal was great. Yes, it was bold. More surprising to me, however, was the rare public white flag waved by Bezos, one of the richest living humans, looking at a brick-and-mortar retailer for help; After 10 years of trying and especially failing to make the delivery of groceries a feasible business, this was a moment of "we can not do it on our own".
In one of Bezos' favorite initiatives, Amazon also launched at least seven private – tag clothing brands at prices that serious competitors can not counter. The private label is the oldest trick in the retail book, is what many competitors say. They will regret it.
Amazon also revealed a barrage of Alexa-powered devices and shocking TV campaigns, spinning the ridiculous idea of talking to a speaker about the future of computing.
And with their agreement to broadcast NFL "Thursday Night Football," Amazon tiptoed to live sports in what seemed to be just the beginning of a big push.
Then there was HQ2: the very public, very bright, albeit bright, Amazon request for cities in North America to each deploy a shame of riches to compete for the right to host a second Amazon headquarters. With this comes an Amazon vote to bless your city with up to 50,000 high-paying jobs in exchange for financial incentives that few corporations will ever see.
And we have not even discussed the innovations of 2017 in AWS or the Amazon logistics. , of which there were many. Even by Amazon standards, 2017 was a year of home run successes without ceasing. And when the company remained in the cover circle, its practice changes also caused damage; only the rumor that Amazon was launching in a new market sent the prices of the shares of potential competitors to the pit.
For Bezos, 2017 was the perfect Amazon blueprint: A wonderful experimentation frenzy focused on the long-term horizon balanced by the operational excellence needed to drive the key companies that are key to short-term success.
That surely sounds like a formula that is hard to beat. That's why, when you ask smart people what could possibly slow Amazon down, many will agree: the growing concern of some competitors, politicians and regulators that the company needs to be slowed down.
For Amazon, the scrutiny goes beyond that. In the aftermath of a sexual harassment scandal that resulted in the resignation of Amazon's Hollywood boss, there is a new focus on the leadership team that Bezos has built. Of the best 18 executives in the company, only one is a woman. For a company and leader that has "develop the best" as a principle of leadership, this remains an obvious weak point.
For Bezos personally, having a net worth that reached $ 100 billion at one point this year also has people longing to know how he will do good. Their investment company, Bezos Expeditions, funds some nonprofit and for-profit entities, and Amazon has also recently donated a new real estate space to at least two nonprofit organizations in Seattle.
After the New York Times asked him about his level of philanthropy, Bezos took to Twitter to solicit ideas on where and how to give. He has not yet revealed what ideas, if any, he would seek, but he has promised "more to come".
But Bezos also thinks about his social contributions in other ways. He sees Blue Origin, the space exploration company in which he says he invests $ 1 billion annually, as a long-term project designed to save the Earth. In his vision, one day we will move heavy industry into space, helping to ensure that this planet is not stripped of all its energy.
And his purchase of the Washington Post, he said, was designed to shore up and improve one of the most important news media in the United States. The first results are promising.
In business and technology, 2017 seems to be the apex of Bezos and Amazon. In 2027, we will realize that it was really only the beginning.