Yesterday gave us the news that Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), will buy The Washington Post for $250 million. Media outlets all over the country went crazy with the story.
A lot has been said already of what this acquisition may mean and what Bezos' angle is. I don't know the man, but having followed Amazon.com for a number of years, and being an Amazon shareholder, I've learned a little bit about him and the way he tends to look at things. Bright and early this morning, I had the good fortune to speak with the folks at Washington, D.C.'s WTOP 103.5 FM a bit more about the announcement and what it may mean for both Bezos and The Washington Post. You can click here to listen.
To say Bezos is a forward-thinker is an understatement. The man is more committed to the long term than most people I've ever seen. He says it time and again in his annual letters to shareholders, and I'll close with a telling passage from his most recent installment (emphasis mine):
Our heavy investments in Prime, AWS, Kindle, digital media, and customer experience in general strike some as too generous, shareholder indifferent, or even at odds with being a for-profit company. "Amazon, as far as I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers," writes one outside observer. But I don't think so. To me, trying to dole out improvements in a just-in-time fashion would be too clever by half. It would be risky in a world as fast-moving as the one we all live in. More fundamentally, I think long-term thinking squares the circle. Proactively delighting customers earns trust, which earns more business from those customers, even in new business arenas. Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders align.