Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of e-commerce giant Amazon, has announced that he will step down as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, effective third quarter this year. Bezos will take on the role of the Executive Chairman of the board while Andy Jassy, the current Chief of Amazon Web Services (a cloud computing platform), will take over as Amazon’s CEO.
The news of this soon-to-happen transition came close on the heels of the online retail giant’s Q4 report of 2020. Amazon amassed a solid $100 billion in online sales from October to December last year – a record figure in the global crisis of Covid-19.
Yesterday, the company’s stock recorded its market cap at up to $1.7 trillion; and Bezos, 57, witnessed his net worth soar to $197 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He remains the second richest person in the world, preceded by Tesla’s Elon Musk, at $208 billion of net worth.
A Princeton graduate, Bezos founded Amazon as a small online bookstore 27 years ago, in 1994. Initially, his staff worked out of a garage in Seattle and packed and shipped the books for deliveries to the post office themselves. Back then, Amazon’s new online services challenged its strongest competitors, Borders Group Inc. and Barnes & Noble (both, thriving book retailers in the 90s). While Barnes & Noble still continues in the business, Borders closed down due to bankruptcy in 2011.
In 1997, Amazon filed for IPO and went public at $18 per share, as per CNN. In 1998, Bezos became a millionaire, after the company raised $54 million through IPO. Soon, Bezos found himself on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list for the first time. The following year, Bezos expanded into online sale of music and other consumer goods.
In 2002, Bezos fully embraced the A to Z formula, and started retailing clothing, electronics, beauty, décor and everything lifestyle. He also launched Amazon Web Services, taking its technology farther into cloud computing and lending the web hosting services to other companies.
In 2005, Bezos introduced Amazon Prime, a paid member-loyalty program that included free two-day shipping on customer orders. After two years, the electronic version of physical books, Kindle, was launched. In 2008, Bezos acquired audiobooks company Audible for $300 million.
In a landmark acquisition, Bezos, in an all-cash deal, purchased The Washington Post for $250 million. Bezos also dipped his toes in the smartphone market, with the introduction of The Fire Phone in 2014. But, the sales of the phone fell flat and the company soon ceased its production.
In 2015, Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle. Currently, it has 15 bookstores across the US, reported CNN. Bezos forayed into the online grocery retail space by buying Whole Foods for $13 billion.
In 2017, Bezos net worth was recorded over $100 billion and that year, he became the world’s richest person for the first time, dethroning Bill Gates from rank #1.
In 2020, shortly after Amazon marked 25 years in the business, Bezos became the first entrepreneur to have a net worth of over $200 billion, according to Forbes.
Yesterday, Jeff Bezos said in his letter to his Amazon employees, “Keep inventing, and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1.”
Here are some of Jeff Bezos’ greatest, most inspiring quotes:
“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”
“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”
“You can have the best technology, you can have the best business model, but if the storytelling isn’t amazing, it won’t matter. Nobody will watch.”
“In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.”
“Failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent, you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.”