John Stephenson is the Senior Manager for US Public Policy at Amazon. Stephenson’s role at Amazon is to communicate with government officials at the state and federal levels to align public policies with the mission of the company. He argued that Amazon’s biggest challenge is misguided laws and regulations that do not allow companies like Amazon to continue to innovate and grow.

Stephenson detailed some of the key business areas at Amazon, including Amazon Web Services (AWS). 70% of the world’s startups run on AWS currently. AWS lowers the cost of capital in starting a new business and the Central Intelligence Agency contracted with Amazon for $600 million in services. An example Stephenson gave is a project in which the CIA uses AWS for its algorithm to predict civil unrest.