How Andy Jassy, Amazon’s Next C.E.O., Was a ‘Brain Double’ for Jeff Bezos

SEATTLE – In 2002, Andy Jessie, a young executive at Amazon, began closely cinematography Jeff bezosFounder of online bookstore.

Mr. Jessie followed Mr. Bezos everywhere, including board meetings, and sat down on his phone call, Ann Hyatt, who was Mr. Bezos’ assistant assistant from 2002 to 2005. This, he said, was the idea for Mr. Jessie. “A mind double” for Mr. Bezos so that he can challenge his boss’s thinking and anticipate his questions.

“I think I had very high standards before I started that work,” said Mr. Jessie Podcast interview Last fall from Mr. Bezos about a period of 18 months. “So, in doing that shadow work, I realized that my standards were not high enough.”

Now Mr. Jassi, who is Mr. Learned from Bezos, Bezos has been accused of leading the way for more than two decades in total. This summer, the 53-year-old will take over as Amazon’s chief executive Mr. Bezos, 57, steps aside To be the Executive Chairman.

Some corporate succession Will be seen closely. Mr. Jessie should pursue Amazon – a 1.7 trillion company with 1.3 million employees operating worldwide with e-commerce, logistics, cloud computing, entertainment and devices – while under Mr. Bezos’ watchful eye, Which is the largest shareholder.

Amazon, which is riding a wave of growth, is also facing increasing challenges. In Europe and the United States, the Seattle-based company is under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers for its power. Its own work force to work with the company has become increasingly vocal and active. And with its huge size, some investors and employees wonder if Amazon can sustain its innovative methods without bureaucracy.

Mr. Jesse has not spoken publicly about his vision for Amazon, but those who know him said that what was clear was that Mr. Bezos would continue what he had created – and that would lead to an intense break. No. An emblem of an Amazon lifer, Mr. Jessie helped conceive and prosecute the company’s many mechanisms and internal culture.

“Andy is very much a part of the whole culture,” said Tom Alberg, a managing partner of the Madron Venture Group and Amazon board member until 2019, “I really think it will be a strong continuation.”

Amazon declined to provide Mr. Jessie for an interview. In one E-mail While announcing the transition to staff on Tuesday, Mr. Bezos said, “He will be an outstanding leader, and he is confident of me.”

Mr. Jessie grew up in Scarsdale, NY, with three children. His father headed a white-shoe law firm, and his mother ran a house supporting arts organizations. He studied in government at Harvard and worked on the business side of the student newspaper The Harvard Crimson.

Mr. Jessie wanted to become a sportscaster, but ended up in direct marketing after graduation. He tried to start a business with a coworker before attending Harvard Business School.

In 1997, he received a call for an interview on Amazon, while A Sean Colvin Concert in New York City. He landed the job, gave his final graduate exam on Friday and started at Amazon the following Monday, three weeks before the company went public, he said in a podcast interview.

In 2002, after taking roles in marketing and music, Mr. Jessie was tapped by Mr. Bezos as his “shadow”, a chief-of-staff-like role for key leaders.

Ms. Hyatt, Mr. Bezos’ former executive assistant, who is now an executive adviser, said “her job was to become an intellectually important partner for Jeff.” He said that Mr. Jessie had helped Mr. Bezos to debate the merits of granting membership to the Prime Fast-Shipping program to convince a skeptical board.

As Mr. Jessie followed Mr. Bezos, he also shifted Amazon’s move to a new field: cloud computing. At the time, Mr. Bezos had become frustrated with Amazon’s software development teams taking longer than anticipated to complete projects, although the company was hiring several new engineers to roll out the products . He tells Mr. Jesse to reach the bottom of it.

Mr. Jessie found that product teams spent more time designing and building their own infrastructure than developing products. Amazon eventually decided to reconfigure its technology systems to allow different groups to share the same basic technical building blocks.

In 2003, Mr. Jessie and other officials gathered for a meeting at Mr. Bezos’ home. He said he smelled a business opportunity to help other companies solve the problems facing Amazon.

But before the project could move forward, Mr. Jessie had to introduce a “six-pager” – a narrative memo that gives a vision for a new idea – to Amazon’s board and reveal what resources are needed Will be.

“I was very nervous. I wrote 30 drafts of this letter, “Mr. Jessie said Talk of 2017 At the University of Washington.

He requested 57 people, since Amazon hired about 5,000 people at that time. Mr. Bezos said, “Did not brighten an eyelash.”

Project done Amazon Web Services, Now Amazon is the largest source of profit. Companies were quick to adopt the notion of paying Amazon only for computers and storage, rather than investing large amounts to buy and build their own computer systems.

As of 2012, Mr. Jesse said, Amazon’s cloud unit was Growing so fast It almost added one day in 2003 to the amount of computers needed to run the entire company.

Amazon Web Services, known as AWS, was a start-up within the company. According to current and former employees, Mr. Jessie developed a reputation for being strict, but not a screaming or undercutting staff. At the meetings, he asked pointed questions, but also sat back and kicked others out, as he took in his arguments.

In the email, Mr. Jessie responded to the good news simply by saying “good”, with an astonishingly random number, current and former employees said. Many debated whether the number of exclamation points had any hidden meaning.

Mr. Jessie also gave time for staff activities. In an annual Buffalo Wing dinner competition called the Tatonka Bowl, he served as master of ceremonies. He provided participants with a “badge”, along with a flaming chicken, which appeared on Amazon’s internal directory.

In recent years, AWS has rolled out its own software services to run on top of its machines, often spelling doom for start-ups with competing products.

Corey Quinn of the Duckbill Group, who writes a newspaper called “Last week in AWS, Stated that the cloud computing unit demonstrated the same finesse in advancing new products and markets as Amazon’s main retail site.

“They share a common belief that the impossible is only a matter of time,” he said.

Last year, AWS sales rose to $ 45.4 billion, or 12 percent of the company’s revenue and 63 percent of its profits.

After becoming Chief Executive, Mr. Jessie’s opinion will be subject to greater scrutiny. Earlier last year, he enthusiastically talked about selling to police departments, Accreditation, Amazon’s facial recognition technology, which was criticized for prejudice against people with darker skin.

“Let’s see” if police departments somehow “misuse technology,” He told the PBS program “Frontline” in February. “They haven’t done it. To assume they are going to do that and so you shouldn’t allow them access to the most sophisticated technology is not the right balance for me.”

“Can’t Brio Taylor Go To Death With Accountability,” Mr. Jessie wrote A six part thread On Twitter about the police in September. “We still don’t get in America. If you don’t hold the police responsible for killing black people, we’ll never have justice and change, or the country we aspire to (and claim) Huh. “

At an AWS conference in December, Mr. Jessie offered a glimpse of how he could arrive at one of the richest tech companies in the world. Echoing Mr. Bezos, who has long been spying on how companies need to grow, Mr. Jessie said the key to long-term survival was for companies to consolidate themselves, while leaving It was good

Mr. Jessie then created an eight-step plan for corporate reinforcement and emphasized the importance of being “frantic, tireless and tenacious”.

“You have the guts to pull the company and force them to change and move,” he said.

David straitfeld Contributed to reporting.

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