Jeff Bezos Made ‘Billions of Dollars of Failures’

This year, online retail juggernaut Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) released its much anticipated Fire Phone. The company had high hopes for the smartphone, including CEO Jeff Bezos. Unfortunately for the corporation, it is now considered one of the biggest blunders coming out of Seattle, Washington.

Bezos is staying unapologetic and remains defiant in the face of investors, though. Speaking at a conference in New York on Tuesday, Bezos defended the Fire Phone debacle, and even hinted that more are on the way. The CEO posited that “it’s going to take several iterations” before he can properly assess the device and this type of judgment should occur in the next several years.

Despite investor concerns, Bezos conceded that he only spends up to six hours annually on investor relations, which is upsetting these same individuals because of the company’s reported lack of transparency over future plans, spending habits and dismal financial results – shares on the Nasdaq fell 18 percent this year.

Jeff Bezos

He further explained that Amazon is a firm that has embraced lots of failures in order to achieve immense success, something that anyone will admit it has definitely done. Bezos even joked that he has “made billions of dollars of failures at Literally.”

“None of those things are fun, but also they don’t matter,” added Bezos. “What matters is companies that don’t continue to experiment or embrace failure eventually get in the position where the only thing they can do is make a Hail Mary bet at the end of their corporate existence. I don’t believe in bet-the-company bets.”

The Amazon head likened the company to a “start-up” and said “there’s a lot of volatility in start-ups.”

Publishers dispute

This year, Amazon had a widely known dispute with publisher Hachette, and the company had removed certain titles and delayed deliveries throughout the contract negotiations. Bezos noted that publishers are better off now with e-books, but did say that they’re still too expensive.

“It’s difficult for incumbents who have a sweet thing to embrace change,” Bezos said. “Making reading more affordable is not going to make authors less money. It’s going to make authors more money.”

Consumers have complained in the past about how e-books are oftentimes the same price as a hardcover or paperback book.

The Washington Post acquisition

Last year, Bezos continued the trend of billionaires buying newspapers as the Amazon CEO acquired the fledgling Washington Post for $250 million. He also defended this purchase by explaining that he was at first apprehensive because he believed the newspaper industry was a dying one. However, he later changed his mind.

“I didn’t know anything about the newspaper business, but I did know something about the Internet. That, combined with the financial runway I can provide, is the reason why I bought the Post,” stated Bezos. “The Post was always — even though it had a national and global reputation, the product was local, and that was by design. The Post has the good fortune of being the newspaper of the capital city of the United States of America, and that’s a good starting point to be a national and even global publication, so that’s the thing that’s changing.”

The newspaper announced Tuesday it has hired Jed Hartman, a former group publisher at Time Inc., to be the chief revenue officer of the Post.