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Jeff Bezos: Amazon.com's 'dread pirate' founder

07/08/2013 11:35

Billionaire's acquisition of the Washington Post follows career pursuing investment and expansion over short-term profits.
Each year, Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, writes to his shareholders, attaching the same, three-page mailshot he first sent them following the company's stock market flotation. "Amazon.com passed many milestones in 1997," the historic missive opens. "But this is Day 1 for the internet …"
In April this year, with Amazon's global sales soaring above $61bn (£39.7bn) and climbing, Bezos again composed his annual letter. The world's largest online retailer, he reflected, was once again expanding in multiple directions – Kindle tablets, video streaming and cloud computing, to name a few.
"Our approach remains the same," investors were nevertheless told. "And it's still Day 1."
It is a hungry, single-minded mantra that sets the tone at Amazon, and helps set the business apart from many of the digital innovators, such as Apple and Google, with which it is frequently bracketed. Bezos proudly retains a blinkered focus on discovering, building and dominating new markets, and not on keeping pace with competitors or chasing short-term profits. The profits, he says, will follow. Some day.
In the meantime, Amazon – which started out in books, CDs and DVDs – has expanded its listings to many millions of items. It is piloting moves into clothing and grocery delivery as well as experimenting with TV programming.
It is a leap of faith that US investors have been delighted to take, pushing the business to a stock market value of $137bn (£89bn) – three times that of Britain's largest retailer, Tesco. This is despite Amazon failing to turn a consistent profit for years, including the posting of a small loss last year of $39m. The mega-returns have repeatedly been put off by Bezos's multibillion-pound investments in new technologies such as Kindle, and in a rapidly expanding network of warehouses sprouting up around the globe.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/06/jeff-bezos-amazon-washington-post?INTCMP=SRCH