Thursday, July 30, 2020

Worth It

FYI, Jeff Bezos has added $62.7 billion to his net worth this year.

Amazon also cut $2 an hour hero pay for its 400,000 warehouse workers and doesn't give them paid sick time off. The cost of a year of hero pay and 2 weeks paid sick time is $2.15 billion, or 3.4% of his net worth gains this year.
I suspect that you can see where this is going. Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments, goes on to note that he's drawing no salary this year. But while it's good for like farming on LinkedIn, it's not an apples to apples comparison. Note that it doesn't say that Amazon paid Mr. Bezos $62.7 billion this year, only that his net worth increased by that much. For all we know, Mr. Bezos owns stock in Gravity, and some of his increase in net worth comes from their ongoing success. Likewise, just because Mr. Price isn't taking a salary doesn't mean that his net worth hasn't increased. After all, many assets appreciate over time. Like the business he runs.

I don't know Mr. Price, but I've heard a lot about him. His pledge to make the minimum wage at his company $70,000 a year made headlines. Things have been a lot more low-key recently, the high-profile naysayers who predicted Gravity Payment's demise have moved on to other things. And perhaps this provides the motivation for Mr. Price to keep his name out there on LinkedIn.

But the disingenuous way he does so seems to be more about tapping into anti-corporate sentiment than genuine differentiation. Of course, Gravity Payments doesn't directly compete with Amazon; in that sense, there's not much differentiation to be done. Even so, it's possible to make legitimate observations about differences in business models, and compensation models, without resorting to misleading rhetoric.

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