Imagine what it must have been like to be Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, having to persuade his investors that everything would be ok in the end despite making losses for the first six years from 1995 to 2001. If you have ever been involved in start-ups, you will know that everyone expects the business to lose money in the first year and then, after that, to make a profit in year two and continue to do so thereafter.
Amazon was one of the very first companies to launch themselves out into space – to boldly go (sic) where no-one had been before …. the online shopping marketplace. Critics’ voices were loud and strong. Doubters far outweighed believers. Investors shrank away from such a bold launch strategy.
With hindsight of course we can all see the success, with Amazon accounting for 27% of the books market and with high street competitors falling like flies. And now of course they are in so many other markets too, applying their principles and practices across multiple markets and across the globe.
Where did all this start? He went to Princeton and became interested in space exploration. The 18-year-old Bezos “said he wanted to build space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2 million or 3 million people who would be in orbit. ‘The whole idea is to preserve the earth’. The goal was to be able to evacuate humans. The planet would become a park.”
He graduated in 1986 and went to work in Wall Street. He founded Amazon in 1995. In 2012, Bezos was named Businessperson of The Year by Fortune.
In August 2013 he personally bought the Washington Post for $250 million in cash. As of August 2013, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos is listed as one of the wealthiest people in the world with an estimated net worth of $28 billion. He was ranked the second best CEO in the world by Harvard Business Review, after Steve Jobs of Apple.