Source | www.cbinsights.com
Each year, Jeff Bezos writes an open letter to Amazon’s shareholders. Over the last 2 decades, these letters have become an unparalleled source of insight into how the world’s richest man thinks about efficiency, online customer experience, retention, managing through crises, and more.
Amazon is a hugely successful, precedent-breaking company. The online bookseller didn’t turn a profit for 6 years — today, it’s the second publicly traded company ever to hit a $1T market cap.
Since founding Amazon in 1994, Jeff Bezos has run his company according to an unconventional set of core principles: don’t worry about competitors, don’t worry about making money for shareholders, and don’t worry about the short term. Focus on the customers, and everything else will fall into place.
Bezos broke all the rules when he built Amazon. In doing so, he carved out a unique way of looking at the world, at companies, and at tech in general. And nowhere is Bezos’ philosophy of business, technology, and leadership better articulated than in his annual shareholder letters, which he has written every year since the company’s IPO in 1997.
Since 1997, Amazon’s stock price has risen from $5 per share to over $3,000 per share.
To read Bezos’ shareholder letters is to get a crash course in running a high-growth internet business from someone who mastered it before any of the playbooks were written.
Below, we analyze the letters and unpack the most important wisdom in each. We also include an appendix linking to each letter at the bottom of the post.
Together, these letters form a library of Jeff Bezos’ most distilled thinking on running a successful, high-growth company.