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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos does not mess around.
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For startups, it’s becoming increasingly impossible to avoid competing with Amazon as the company branches out into everything from real estate agent listings to meal kit delivery.The Seattle e-commerce giant is a Goliath-like opponent as The Onion notes in some newly published fictional advice from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for all those plucky entrepreneurs out there.

“What many seem to want is some sort of trick, some magic set of tools that will allow them to launch a thriving startup from scratch,” The Onion story reads. “Value your customers, hire well, find a market that isn’t being served, and realize that someday I will utterly crush you.”

For those of you who haven’t heard of The Onion because, we assume, you’re living on the Blue Origin Mars Colony, it’s a satirical publication that publishes fake stories as if they are real. In other words, this was not written by the real Jeff Bezos. Don’t yell “fake news” at me in the comments.

But like all great satire, this story is rooted in reality.

“Be prepared, among other things, for my company to duplicate your product or service and sell it at prices you can never compete with, all the while turning your board members against you one by one and, eventually, buying your company for less than it’s worth just so we can shut it down,” it says. “Nonetheless, congratulations! You’ve made it further than most.”

Amazon’s road to become the everything store is littered with casualties of companies that the Seattle e-commerce giant beat at their own game. Those that do survive are often crippled by competition from such a formidable opponent.

Take, for example, Diapers.com. Amazon fought the “mom-centric” retail company in a fierce price war in which Bezos reportedly threatened to drive diaper prices down to zero in order to win. Eventually, Amazon bought Diapers.com parent Quidsi and earlier this year shut the company down. 

Amazon’s more recent forays into real estate and meal kit delivery have caused Zillow and Blue Apron shares to slump. Its initiatives in home services and restaurant delivery certainly haven’t done Porch or Peach any favors.

All that drama undoubtedly motivated The Onion to publish its “advice from Bezos” story today, which concludes with this gem:

Remember, this is your dream. You’ve poured your whole self into this one project. You’ve staked everything on it. So never lose sight of the vision that brought you to this point, and never forget that I can and will use the insurmountable powers that I wield to snuff out your dream like a candle, condemning you to a bitter darkness of misery.

Good luck!

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