Bezos wrote the company went from exceeding 1.5 million customer accounts at the time of his first shareholder’s letter in 1997 on “Day 1” — shortly after the company had gone public — to having over 200 million Prime members throughout the world.
His letter also detailed the tens of billions of dollars in value that Bezos says Amazon generates for shareholders, employees, third-party sellers and customers, while it also touched on job creation, worker safety and climate change.
In the letter released Thursday (April 15), Bezos wrote that over 1.9 million small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) now sell in its store and they comprise nearly six-tenths of its retail sales. The executive also noted that customers have linked over 100 million smart home devices to Alexa, while Amazon Web Services wrapped up last year with a $50 billion annualized run rate.
The news comes as Bezos will be handing off chief executive responsibilities at the firm he built to Andy Jassy, the head of Amazon Web Services, and Bezos will be transitioning to the position of executive chairman beginning in Q3 of 2021.
“Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical. He will muster the energy needed to keep alive in us what makes us special. That won’t be easy, but it is critical. I also predict it will be satisfying and oftentimes fun,” Bezos wrote in the letter.
Amazon began as an online bookstore when it first rolled out. In the present day, it operates the biggest marketplace on the web, a huge cloud services firm in AWS, and an increasing collection of brick-and-mortar stores such as Whole Foods and is early-stage Amazon Fresh supermarket chain.
“In Amazon’s 1997 letter to shareholders, our first, I talked about our hope to create an ‘enduring franchise,’ one that would reinvent what it means to serve customers by unlocking the internet’s power. I noted that Amazon had grown from having 158 employees to 614, and that we had surpassed 1.5 million customer accounts. We had just gone public at a split-adjusted stock price of $1.50 per share. I wrote that it was Day 1,” Bezos wrote in the letter.
Bezos highlighted Amazon’s drive to be distinctive — but cautioned that originality takes energy to maintain.
“It remains Day 1,” he concluded in the letter.
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