Amazon Alexa
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Always disrupting

If success can be measured in money, then Jeff Bezos tops them all. This year Bloomberg anointed Amazon’s founder as the richest man in modern history, a superlative the “centibillionaire” earned while building a company that has become a Goliath in industry after industry. Amazon consistently disrupts whatever it tackles, from retail and publishing to entertainment and cloud computing. Millions of people now chat away each day to Alexa, asking Amazon’s voice assistant to play music or remind them how to properly boil an egg. This year, the company proved it’s capable of changing the way people shop offline, too: at Amazon Go, a bricks-and-mortar store that first opened in Seattle, there are no checkouts. Sensors and computers automatically detect which items shoppers have taken off the shelves and charge their accounts. In September, Amazon became the second American company (shortly after Apple) to reach a trillion dollars in market value. “We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days,” Bezos wrote in his letter to shareholders this April, “by being satisfied.”—Katy Steinmetz

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