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Image: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Jeff Bezos made headlines back in 2019 when he posted on Medium that he had been having an affair with a married TV journalist and that he was writing about it because the National Enquirer had photos and was trying to blackmail him.

But there was far more to the story, as Bloomberg journalist Brad Stone details in his forthcoming book "Amazon Unbound," an excerpt of which is being published today by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Zoom in: While the Medium post was a master stroke in shifting the broader narrative, Bezos used a personal appeal to Amazon executives to convince his team that he remained firmly in control.In the excerpt, Stone details how Bezos explained the whole affair, if you will, to Amazon executives during a lengthy Feb. 14, 2019 meeting that ran so long that it cut into executives' Valentine's Day plans.

  • Bezos' Medium post had accused the Enquirer of trying to extort him and linked the tabloid publisher to political figures hostile to him, including Saudi Arabian leaders upset with how The Washington Post — which Bezos owns — covered the murder of its reporter Jamal Khashoggi.
  • "All of this is very distracting, so thank you for being focused on the business," Bezos told the executives, as he turned from explaining his personal life to managing the corporate head count.

Between the lines: The incident shows Bezos' skill at owning the narrative, using the same skills he typically applies to Amazon product launches to protecting one of the company's most valuable assets — Bezos' reputation.

Yes, but: As Stone highlights, Bezos was actually beginning the process of loosening his once vise-like grip on Amazon, a move that would eventually lead Bezos to hand the reins to Andy Jassy, the longtime head of Amazon Web Services.

Go deeper

Cartels target civilians near border bridge

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Getty Images Photos: Guillermo Arias/Bloomberg, Guillermo Arias/AFP, Erin Clark/The Boston Globe, Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call.

Unwitting border area residents are being roped into smuggling contraband for transnational criminal groups that have operated throughout the pandemic despite border closures, as the fight over routes is again resulting in the slaughter of civilians in Mexico.

Why it matters: The cartels smuggle drugs and even people through legal ports of entry, in hidden car compartments or commercial trucks, undeterred by any border wall or COVID-related closures. Now criminals are bloodletting to control the corridor to at least one crossing.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
10 mins ago - Technology

Lina Khan's mission

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

All of the world's trillion-dollar companies (with the exception of Saudi Aramco) are reportedly having what Protocol's Issie Lapowsky characterizes as "heart palpitations" over the appointment of Lina Khan as FTC chair. But don't expect anything drastic to happen soon.

Why it matters: Khan is the most fearsome foe that Big Tech could have imagined in America's top antitrust role — and her fans in Congress are making waves as well. But you'd never guess that from the giants' share prices, which have been hitting new all-time highs since the announcement.

Exclusive: EV charging providers to allow roaming across their networks

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Greenlots, Chargepoint and several other electric vehicle charging companies will allow roaming access across their networks, a move that could help speed EV adoption.

Why it matters: Your phone works on any mobile network, no matter which provider you use. And you can use any bank's ATM machine, regardless of where you keep your money. Now the same will be true of EV charging.