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Rich Barton (left) and Bill Gurley speak with GeekWire's John Cook at the 2013 GeekWire Summit.
Rich Barton (left) and Bill Gurley speak with GeekWire’s John Cook at the 2013 GeekWire Summit.

For every successful company out there, there is a plethora of highly-talented CEOs running great companies. But there is one person in particular that rises above the crop: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

That’s the consensus from Rich Barton and Bill Gurley, who just wrapped up a really great talk on everything from the next CEO of Microsoft to startup advice from two guys that have had their share of success as entrepreneurs.

Gurley, a partner at Benchmark who was actually a lead analyst on the Amazon IPO 15 years ago, gave a lot of praise to Amazon this morning, particularly about the Amazon Web Services business.

“It’s nearly heroic that someone would think that up,” he said of AWS. “99 out of 100 boards would probably shut that down as an idea.”

That led him to speak on Bezos.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

“He’s become iconic,” Gurley continued. “He’s clearly the most respected CEO [by] Silicon Valley, without question. If you’re running an e-tailing company, you should be afraid.”

That’s saying a lot, especially considering that Bezos does not even live in the Bay Area. Barton, the Zillow co-founder and former Expedia CEO, agreed with Gurley.

“He’s shown an ability not just to dig a wide moat around his castle, but to also scorch the earth for a mile,” Barton said.

Part of the reason why Gurley thinks so highly of Bezos is the fact that he’s open about his business philosophies and reasons for how he made Amazon so successful. 

“He shares his ideology,” Gurley explained. “You can be a fan and learn from him, and when he goes on something like Charlie Rose, it’s just awesome. You hang on to every word. He’s the real deal and he’s on top right now.”

Barton and Gurley had a lot more to say about investing, startups, consumer Internet, innovation and trends in technology. We’ll post more from their talk on GeekWire soon. 

Stay tuned for more coverage of the GeekWire Summit throughout the day. Head here for a live stream.


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