At the GeekWire Summit last month, venture capitalist Bill Gurley and Zillow chairman Rich Barton pointed out their belief that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is the most respected person in Silicon Valley.
“He’s become iconic,” Gurley said. “He’s clearly the most respected CEO [by] Silicon Valley, without question.”
Adde Barton: “He’s shown an ability not just to dig a wide moat around his castle, but to also scorch the earth for a mile.”
Now, it looks like you can add the New York media establishment to the list of fans. Bezos was just named No. 1 on Vanity Fair’s annual “New Establishment” ranking of the top 50 innovators, leaping ahead of Apple’s Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive (No. 3). Others in the top 5 include Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google (No. 2); Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (No. 4); and Tesla’s Elon Musk (No. 5).
Interestingly, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — No. 9 on the list last year — was nowhere to be found.
Of course, Vanity Fair is especially impressed with Bezos’ purchase of The Washington Post, a transaction that closed this week.
Here’s what the magazine says about Bezos, who was the only Seattleite to make the list.
In a dark-horse move that set both the old and new media aflutter, Bezos bought The Washington Post in August, confirming that there is no industry that he does not see as ripe for disruption. Amazon has no serious rivals in online retail, the stock price is up more than sevenfold since 2008, and the only question is how far Bezos can expand his reach, prompting The New York Times to call him “the natural heir of Steve Jobs as the entrepreneur with the most effect on the way people live now.” New ventures include putting storage lockers in cities to make it easy for customers to pick up their orders, an online auction house, and an ambitious attempt to produce its own TV shows—a direct challenge to Netflix.