Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, July 15, 2024

AWS re:Invent 2021 Begins As New CEO Adam Selipsky Takes the Reins 

As the 2021 AWS re:Invent conference opens this week live and virtually in Las Vegas, Adam Selipsky, who took over the CEO position with the departure of Andy Jassy earlier this year, will begin to make his own mark on the company.

When Jassy left his AWS post to take Jeff Bezos’ old chair at the head of in May, it opened up one of the most visible positions in all of big data and AI. The job went to Selipsky, who was one of Jassy’s lieutenants when AWS launched back in 2007. Selipsky climbed to the position of COO and vice president of marketing, sales, and support before leaving AWS in 2016 to be the CEO at Tableau Software.

Under founding CEO Jassy, AWS grew into a $60 billion company by selling data storage, compute infrastructure and horizontal services. In recent years, Jassy’s annual re:Invent keynote has been a must-watch event thanks to the many data management and AI services that are introduced in fields like big data management, machine learning, and AI. For instance, last year, the company used re:Invent to add data prep, a feature store and data pipeline capabilities to its SageMaker offering. It also added hardware acceleration to Redshift and made a slew of other announcements.

There will be a lot of eyes on Selipsky when he gives his first re:Invent keynote as CEO on Nov. 3 (Tuesday) morning at 8:30 PT. AWS is streaming keynotes for its top executives, including Selipsky on Tuesday, Amazon Machine Learning Swami Sivasubramanian on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. PT, and CTO Werner Vogels on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. AWS invites the public to view the streams for free by registering for the event at

Speculation of the announcements always builds ahead of the CEO’s keynote. While the company keeps a tight lid on the unveiling of new products and services, there are some indications that Selipsky may chart a new course for AWS.

Adam Selipsky, AWS CEO

As cloud adoption booms, AWS has come under pressure to shift away from the Chinese menu approach of having customers assemble their solutions from the collection of 200 point solutions that it offers. Many have speculated that Selipsky will take a more vertically-focused approach that is marked by pre-integrated solutions.

Selipsky himself encouraged this speculation that the company will, indeed, move in this manner in an interview he gave earlier this year with the magazine Fast Company. He said: “We have to continue to, over time, dramatically improve the ease of use; come up with more abstractions; come up with higher-level services, like our call center solution, Amazon Connect; find other areas where there are horizontal or industry vertical solutions that our customers are demanding that operate at a higher level.”

Many of AWS’ announcements have involved machine learning in some way, shape or form. According to Selipsky, the company is focused on building machine learning and AI capabilities directly into other AWS services “to make them better and to make it easier for customers to accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish,” he told Fast Company. To be sure, there will be more announcements aimed at data and analytics, which Selipsky said “is still a big need.”

“If you look at that whole data value chain, I still think there’s a lot of building-block components that are left to build and a lot of abstracted capabilities on top…to make that process a lot easier, a lot faster, a lot more convenient, so you can get to better decisions faster,” Selipsky said in the interview.

This article first appeared on sister website Datanami. 



About the author: Alex Woodie

Alex Woodie has written about IT as a technology journalist for more than a decade. He brings extensive experience from the IBM midrange marketplace, including topics such as servers, ERP applications, programming, databases, security, high availability, storage, business intelligence, cloud, and mobile enablement. He resides in the San Diego area.