UPDATED 15:24 EDT / DECEMBER 01 2021


Greylock investor Jerry Chen assesses the second act for AWS and the cloud industry

One of the many subplots surrounding AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas this week is the question of Amazon Web Services Inc.’s second act.

Now that the public cloud has reached a level of scale and maturity since AWS was founded 15 years ago, what will fuel the cloud industry’s next wave of growth? Noted Greylock Partners venture capitalist Jerry Chen (pictured) has a few ideas on the topic.

“What Amazon has as an asset that other guys don’t is an installed base of developers,” Chen said. “Developers aren’t necessarily going to build or consume SaaS apps, but they are going to consume things like APIs and primitives. What does Cloud Act 2 look like? It may not be VMs or containers. It may be APIs like Stripe in billing or Twilio in messaging.”

Chen spoke with co-hosts John Furrier and Dave Vellante of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, at AWS re:Invent. They discussed the focus of a tech investment strategy and how leadership change at AWS may influence its future direction. (* Disclosure below.)

Disrupting incumbents

Despite AWS’ resounding success and current leadership position in the cloud market, the tech industry is driven by constant waves of disruption that could ultimately affect the company. Chen has seen this model play out over many years of startup investment.

“The key to investing in the cloud or investing in general is you’re either investing in budget replacement, replacing a known market such as a cheaper better database, or a net new market,” Chen said. “It’s tricky, because startups disrupt incumbents, become incumbents, and they’re also victims of their own success. The best companies always think about the second or third act while the first act is still going.”

This year’s re:Invent represents a glimpse into AWS’ vision for its own second act, a transition highlighted by the naming of a new chief executive – Adam Selipsky – to replace Andy Jassy, who now runs the parent company.

“Adam is new, but he’s ‘old.’ Adam was early Amazon,” Chen noted. “He’s got the history and culture under Jassy, yet he’s been outside the bubble. He actually knows what it means to run a company. This is the second act under Adam.”

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of AWS re:Invent. (* Disclosure: This is an unsponsored editorial segment. However, theCUBE is a paid media partner for AWS re:Invent. AWS and other sponsors of theCUBE’s event coverage have no editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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