Donald Trump’s online encounter with Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has had a negative impact on Amazon’s stock price in recent weeks. But the actual target of Trump’s Twitter attack is actually Jeff Wilke, Bezos’s right-hand assistant for 18 years. Wilk manages Amazon’s global consumer department, which means that he is responsible for the sales staff and is responsible for how to deliver products efficiently. Typically, companies use federal postal services. This is Trump’s time and time again to stress the arrangement, because it thinks this is not good for taxpayers.
In the first public response to the president’s accusations, Wilker stated that this is a win-win business. “We have experienced four presidents and various global leaders,” he said. “For more than two decades, we have been The cooperation of the post office, serving the customers and businesses in the United States, and creating revenues, has also created a lot of job opportunities in this process. This kind of cooperation is no better, and I also hope that we can continue to maintain in the future.”
Analysts estimate that Amazon relies on postal services to complete 40% of the last mile deliveries for all US orders. Although cooperation is beneficial to both parties, Amazon’s revenue is even greater—by abandoning higher-priced independent courier companies such as UPS or FedEx, Amazon can save about US$2.6 billion annually. Recently, President Trump ordered the review of the financial status of postal services and suggested on Twitter that he raise charges for Amazon. Wilk said that the company has other options, including UPS and FedEx, as well as the company’s own courier.
Wilke, 51, has just begun taking on more public roles in shaping the Amazon agenda, including advancing the company’s technical ambitions and responding to the president’s tweets. When he first entered Amazon, the company was still trying to establish profitable warehousing to send orders to users. Wilk took over the retail business in North America in 2007. Despite the economic downturn at the time, he still made Amazon Prime members a huge sales machine. He also introduced music and video streaming media, shortening delivery times for certain products to an hour in dozens of cities, and witnessing the company’s explosive growth.
Of course, the negative impact has never stopped. The severe storage and working environment reported by the media in 2011 prompted Amazon’s public commitment to making improvements, including spending US$50 million on new air conditioning equipment in US factories. After the 2015 “New York Times” reported on the company’s internal cruel culture, Amazon took a series of measures to ease its corporate image. All kinds of challenges, Wilk are resolved one by one. In 2016, Bezos named him CEO of the global consumer business, responsible for everything from website to customer service to Kindle and Echo sales.
Wilk is a native of Pittsburgh, at least according to Bezos’s standards, Wilk is more easy-going. Wilk graduated from Princeton and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and joined Amazon after leaving Allied Signal.
Nowadays at Amazon, the focus of Wilk’s work is on advancing the company’s artificial intelligence and machine learning tools. Competitors such as Google, Apple, and Facebook are also chasing you in these areas. All tech giants are scrambling to prove their AI sincerity, grab top researchers and computer scientists, and explore the next generation of smart, intuitive computing services.
In the field of research, Google is a worthy leader. But Amazon may not be able to apply machine learning to consumer shopping. The company developed the smart speaker Echo. In the past four years, the company sold tens of millions of Echo loudspeakers and other devices equipped with digital assistant Alexa. “I feel that defeating humans in international Go matches has never been their goal,” said Oren Etzioni, chief executive of the Allen Institute for Art Intelligence and professor of computer science at the University of Washington. “The goal is to introduce a perfect AI-based product. ”
Although Amazon’s product recommen
dations and search engines currently benefit from some of their AI developments, there are still significant deficiencies in other AI. Echo is also one of them. Wilk admits that in a long conversation, it is often difficult to make the device react smoothly. In addition to Seattle’s test model, the company has not yet opened more Amazon-free Amazon stores in other places, Amazon Go, which uses AI algorithms and a large number of cameras to track what users take from the shelves, and A smart store that automatically debits money upon departure.
Wilk said that although the testing phase of the store has come to an end, there are still some loopholes that need to be resolved. “We want to reduce loopholes as much as possible and make stores more cost-effective,” he said. In addition to saying that this cashless mode is unlikely to be applied to Amazon’s 470 total supermarkets, he did not disclose more expansion plans.
In fact, Amazon’s biggest use of AI lies in its network of 240 warehouses. However, storage networks are less eye-catching than other applications. But, anyway, this application has caused people’s anxiety, worrying that technology will replace the human labor force one day. The company uses nearly 130,000 Kiva robots in warehouses, conveyors that look like giant sweepers, and so on to carry the entire rack, eliminating the need for staff to walk several miles a day and back to find the goods. Amazon researchers are trying to train these robots to identify and take products from the shelves.
Although this may not sound sufficient to completely eliminate human workers, Wilke stated that automation will only give Amazon warehousing personnel a higher level of work. He said: “As long as we can always provide people with training and skills, this situation will remain.” Last year, Amazon added 130,000 employees worldwide, mainly in the storage area.
Despite the scale, Amazon’s retail business profit is still very bleak. Investors are more optimistic about the company’s Amazon Web Services System (AWS) – a fast-growing, highly profitable cloud computing department. This department is led by Andy Jassy, Bezos’s other great assistant. When Bezos appointed Wilker as CEO of the consumer, he also appointed Jassi as CEO of cloud computing.
Although the consumer business is more mature, Wilke does not believe that AWS will one day become a bigger business than the consumer business, even though Bezos often has this idea. Wilk is particularly concerned about expanding Amazon into markets such as India, Australia and Brazil. “We think the value of the global retail market is about 25 trillion US dollars,” said Wilke. “We currently only account for 1% of them.”