business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The great Steve Carrell guest-hosted “Saturday Night Live” last weekend, and one of the sketches featured him portraying Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos.

Now, I’m sure that if we took a popular vote of the MNB community, 46.1 percent would find this sketch annoying, while 48.2 percent would be entertained by it. I’m willing to take that risk…

But here’s the point I want to make about this … the fact is, no matter how you feel about Jeff Bezos, you know who he is, what he looks like, and what he does. That’s the kind of impact and influence that Amazon has on American culture … not just business.

How many Americans would know who Doug McMillon or Marc Lore are? Rodney McMullen? Jim Donald? Ginni Rometty? Mary Barra? Michele Buck? (Of course, these folks probably are thrilled that they’re not so recognizable.)

Maybe a lot would know who Howard Schultz is (but I’d still bet a smaller percentage compared to that familiar with Jeff Bezos).

Some of this is about tech execs, who tend to be more visible than their counterparts in other industries, who only would tend to have high profiles if a) they did their companies’ TV commercials, or b) were indicted.

Everybody knew who Steve Jobs was, but he was Steve freakin’ Jobs. A lot of people who who Tim Cook is, and Elon Musk, and Richard Branson. And these days, Mark Zuckerberg may be carving out a whole new category, crossing over from being famous to infamous.

I’d argue that Bezos, for better or worse, is in a class by himself these days.

Which is why the “SNL” sketch isn’t just funny (to at least 48.2 percent of the population). It also is instructive and Eye-Opening.

KC's View: