Amazon is a company with reach and a vision like few others – and one of the most valuable companies in the world. IMD Alumni got to learn what makes it tick at the latest Lausanne Club Event yesterday evening.

To understand how Amazon ‘innovates for the future’ – the theme of the event – Mourad Taoufiki, Director of EU expansion at Amazon, went on a tour of the company’s past.

From its origins in Jeff Bezos’ garage as an online bookstore, through its many innovations such as opening up to third party sellers, web services, the Kindle, Alexa, Kindle direct publishing and more, “It’s always day 1,” said Taoufiki.

The company is still driven by what the CEO wrote in his first shareholder letters – to create value for customers.

Still, the future is exciting for Amazon, said the executive, because “None of us know where the internet will go next”.

Rafal Kuklinksi, Director of Alexa Speech, said that thanks to deep learning algorithms, Alexa lives up to Amazon’s promise that the speech application “gets smarter every day”.

With an expected 75 billion connected devices by 2025, Alexa’s future challenges are learning new languages, accents, and predicting people’s changing habits.

“Every language has its separate challenges,” said the expert.

With Alumni questions ranging from humanity and society, privacy and cybersecurity, to the company’s China strategy, Taoufiki dispelled some of the myths.

“We are competing in the global retail space; We account for less than 1% of that space. We want to sell products to customers. The channel doesn’t matter.”

Echoing yesterday’s news reports about Jeff Bezos’ pledge to introduce 100,000 electric vehicles and being carbon neutral by 2040, the experts assured that Amazon is committed to its role in tackling the climate crisis.

What a fascinating story about innovation,” said IMD Lausanne Club President Jean-Daniel Loparco wrapping up the event.

Find out more about the IMD Lausanne Alumni Club and its recently created scholarship