Last week, a world’s richest male became a Medium author. On Thursday, a owners of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, penned an startling minute on a site observant that a National Enquirer was perplexing to extract him. The publication had formerly published Bezos’s private content messages, divulgence that he had been carrying an affair; after Bezos systematic an examination of how a Enquirer had got his messages, a primogenitor company, American Media, Inc., threatened to recover private photos. Bezos refused to behind down, writing, “Of march we don’t wish personal photos published, though we also won’t attend in their obvious use of blackmail, domestic favors, domestic attacks and corruption. we cite to mount up, hurl this record over and see what crawls out.”
Last fall, A.M.I. sealed a non-prosecution agreement with a U.S. Attorney’s Office for a Southern District of New York, in that it certified that it bought and suppressed a story of Karen McDougal, a indication who pronounced that she had an event with Donald Trump, in support of Trump’s Presidential campaign. Now sovereign prosecutors are reportedly reviewing Bezos’s claims; if Bezos is correct, afterwards A.M.I. might have damaged a law, disregarded a agreement, and once again acted to urge Trump, who is decidedly not an suitor of Bezos or his newspaper, a Washington Post. (In a statement, A.M.I. pronounced that it “believes fervently that it acted rightly in stating a story of Mr. Bezos.”)
Bezos’s actions final week won plaudits online and in a press—a singular occurrence these days for a world’s wealthiest tech C.E.O.s. And his piece, with a personal tone, seemed to be a frank and astonishing gesticulate from a male famous for his impassioned privacy. It so seemed like a good time to get a fuller clarity of who Bezos unequivocally is, that is since we spoke by phone with Brad Stone, a author of “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and a Age of Amazon” and a comparison executive editor of tellurian record during Bloomberg News. (Bezos’s wife, MacKenzie, infamously gave a book a one-star examination on Amazon.) During a conversation, that has been edited and precipitated for clarity, we discussed how Bezos has dealt with a press, what he unequivocally thinks about President Trump, and since he doesn’t magnitude himself opposite other tech titans.
How astounded were we by Bezos’s piece, and did we perspective it as a delay or a depart from how he has customarily acted given apropos rich, famous, and intensely important?
I consider everybody was surprised. It was a unequivocally astonishing and dauntless response to an startling situation. We haven’t seen anything from anyone like it before. So, in that sense, it was surprising.
But, broadly, it wasn’t surprising, and, specifically, it was, and let me explain what we mean. we consider that, in general, Jeff has always tended to do things differently when it comes to open relations. The good instance is HQ2, that whole routine of selecting another bureau for Amazon: he incited it into a yearlong bake-off between cities. And, depending on your view, it was intensely successful in removing broadside for Amazon or kind of backfired since it finished them a target. And afterwards we go behind and demeanour during battles opposite Walmart and other viewed critics or enemies, and he always tends to do things a small differently.
Specifically, it was startling since he is a fiercely private person, and this is, we would imagine, domain that would be private and insinuate for many people, so for him to residence it was unequivocally out of character—and substantially would be for anyone.
What are some of a ways that he’s finished press or open family differently?
When he denounced a Fire Phone, giving members of a press a children’s book. You would have to go behind 10 years to some of a cost wars with Walmart and some of a ways they communicated then. He always tries to promulgate a small differently and consider creatively about public-relations challenges, and this is apparently no different.
You report one of his beliefs as always meditative about a prolonged term. How does this fit into that?
I consider that, as a owners of a Washington Post, he has unequivocally turn an disciple for a significance of good journalism, and that is what he has left to bat for here, in noticing that, allegedly, American Media, Inc., has a approach of handling and melancholy intensity story subjects. It’s in everybody’s particular and short-term seductiveness to cavern to it, though it is in a common seductiveness and a long-term seductiveness to put a stop to it. we consider he pronounced in his minute that, if anyone can mount adult to this, he can. And that’s since we found—and we consider a lot of other people found—the mount to be so impressive.
Were we astounded that he bought a Washington Post when he did, and how do we consider he sees a purpose in his portfolio?
I remember that afternoon. we was shocked. He had never finished anything like that. He had always been flattering focussed in his interests. His primary extracurricular seductiveness was [the space-flight company] Blue Origin. Other than an investment in Business Insider—which had been essentially a financial investment, and an investment in Henry Blodget, whom he knew—he had never shown many seductiveness in journalism, and had been someone who shied divided from, or didn’t seem to caring much about, coverage of Amazon or himself. And so it was shocking. We know now it transpired on a strength of his personal attribute with Don Graham.
And how critical is it to him?
One of a things he says in his Medium post is that it is one of a things he will be many unapproachable of. And it is surprising. He talked publicly utterly a bit over a years about Amazon, and newly Blue Origin, and he has never unequivocally pronounced many about a Washington Post publicly. But, in his tenure of a Washington Post, he has been by a integrate engaging and kind of useful situations. There was a murder of Jamal Khashoggi. And, we am forgetful his name, though a Washington Post contributor who was hold hostage.
Yeah, whom he went to collect adult privately in Germany. And then, of course, all a disastrous greeting from a Trump Administration. If we take him during his word, he sees a Post as personification a flattering critical open role.
You only said, “He had never shown many seductiveness in journalism, and had been someone who shied divided from, or didn’t seem to caring many about, coverage of Amazon or himself.” Did we meant that he didn’t like coverage of himself, or that he didn’t caring possibly way?
I would contend he was vital about it. The press was a apparatus that Amazon could use to warn people of a brand. Amazon was concerned of a media over a initial 5 or 6 years. And then, substantially from 2000 to 2007, when a initial Kindle was introduced, they did unequivocally little, unequivocally little. Then, when they had inclination to market—the Kindle and a inscription and afterwards a phones, and afterwards a Echo—they have finished more. But he is someone who has privately been unequivocally private and has been rhythmical with his time, in terms of articulate to a press, and would always go into press interactions unequivocally strategically, with a summary to convey, and was unequivocally trained about what he said. Until he bought a Post, we wouldn’t have suspicion of him as a good fan, even, of a press. But clearly, by his tenure of a Post, that has changed.
So we consider he is flattering frank in holding this seriously?
Yeah. We can decider him on his word, or we can decider him on his actions. His difference are that it is important. And his actions are that a Post is a good product right now, and he has incited around an critical establishment and incited it on a essential trajectory, and incited it into one of a many widely review inhabitant news franchises. And they all seem to adore him there.
What do we consider Bezos creates of a Trump Administration and a President?
The one thing we should contend is that there is 0 justification to consider that his personal feelings or personal bulletin warn a editorial bulletin of a Post. But, aside from that, what we have to go on were some early tweets during a campaign, where he suggested promulgation a destiny President into space.
I’d lost that.
He pronounced he was saving a chair on one of a Blue Origin capsules for claimant Trump. But he has been unequivocally trained and has not pronounced many about a President during all. Amazon has a flattering large bulletin with a sovereign government, so it is not a warn he doesn’t wish to be out there holding a position. In a Medium post, he seemed to advise that maybe there was a domestic tie between a National Enquirer and a Trump Administration. But what we know is that he has contributed to on-going causes like same-sex-marriage initiatives in Seattle, and that he is a extreme entrepreneur and believes in a free-market economy. But we can’t contend we unequivocally know what his personal feelings are about a President.
It’s not a tip that he didn’t like your book. How many times did we get to speak to him?
I started covering Amazon for Newsweek, in a late nineteen-nineties, and a New York Times for 4 years, from around 2006 to 2010, and afterwards lonesome and wrote about it for Businessweek magazine, and talked to him about a book itself, and talked to him once after that, and ran into him subsequently—so maybe 5 to 10 times over a years.
Why did he dislike a book?
In a book, there was a depiction of Amazon’s enlightenment as being quite formidable or severe for employees, and quite removal for employees who essay for a certain work-life harmony. And that turns off some people and not others, and we attempted to yield a offset mural of a enlightenment and his care style, that seems to be many friendlier than, say, Steve Jobs’s, but, nevertheless, he does expostulate people flattering hard. That was positively one aspect to it.
Do we consider he would have beheld how many bad press a lot of tech C.E.O.s have had lately, and how out of hold they seem, and that he would wish to come opposite differently? Dorsey only gave an talk where he fundamentally pronounced Elon Musk had it all figured out. Is your clarity Bezos is a small reduction clueless, and smarter?
I don’t consider he measures himself during all opposite these other guys.
Yeah, we don’t consider that is unequivocally on his radar. He positively doesn’t omit them, though we don’t consider he crafts his open picture in propinquity during all to anyone else. we consider it’s a multiple of what’s best for Amazon and what’s best for him, and, in some cases, what’s a right thing to do.