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Jeff Bezos

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Big Technology

A conversation with Recode’s Jason Del Rey

Jason Del Rey

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Overcast.

Jeff Bezos is resigning as Amazon CEO. And because 2021 is the craziest news year on record, we mostly haven’t stopped to consider this seismic story and what it means for the business world. …

The company’s $62 million FTC settlement shows ‘corporate crime pays’

An Amazon Flex driver delivers packages in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on December 18, 2018. Photo: Boston Globe/Getty Images

One of the world’s richest companies was accused of systematically shortchanging some of its lowest-paid, most precarious workers. It got sued by the U.S. government. It eventually agreed to pay back the money it had pocketed. And it came out billions richer in the end.

That’s the ugly bottom line of Tuesday’s news that Amazon has agreed to pay $62 million to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to settle charges that it essentially pocketed customer tips intended for contracted Amazon Flex drivers — conduct that FTC commissioners called “outrageous.” The money represents the amount it diverted from those drivers, and…

As small businesses closed and layoffs hit, Amazon expanded its power — despite a string of crises and worker uprisings

A photo of an Amazon package in one of the company’s fulfillment centers.
Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images

When the Covid crisis went into full swing in March, two trend lines emerged almost immediately: Small businesses were forced to close down, and Amazon started hiring. At the time, I worried that as the pandemic raged we would see an accelerated consolidation of power among the tech companies that rely on part-time gig labor and e-commerce to gain advantage while everyone else hemorrhaged jobs. That decent jobs at vital local institutions would be traded for precarious jobs at a handful of online markets and platforms. I worried that 2020 would be the year of Amazonification.

With independent businesses shuttering…

Beyond social justice, experts call it a business liability

Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images Plus

For all the advances Amazon has made, it still can’t seem to figure out diversity. The $800 billion tech giant employs more than 600,000 people and serves millions, but its leadership has one core demographic. Besides CEO Jeff Bezos, there are five other figures at the top of the company who make consumer-facing decisions, and each of them is a white man.

According to reporting this January from Eugene Kim at CNBC, of the 48 executives in Amazon’s upper ranks, almost all of them, like Bezos, are white men. (There are two other Jeffs as well: Jeff Blackburn and Jeff…

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