This week, Amazon is marking exactly 20 years from its IPO. Those who only know the company by the huge success it had over the past few years might find it a bit odd, but back then, Jeff Bezos faced numerous skeptics and critics. They accused him of being a monopolist and an international tax dodger and his company won the unfavorable nickname of ‘Amazon.con’.
Even Warren Buffett was highly skeptical of Amazon in those early years. This month, in the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting, he openly admitted he was ‘too dumb to realize what was going to happen’, saying he didn’t believe Bezos was going to succeed on such a scale.
Well, there’s nothing sweeter than an ‘I told you so’.
Two decades later and Jeff Bezos is still here and today few can doubt the impact Amazon had on our daily lives. Even if you don’t shop at Amazon – or even purchase things online – the company has impacted so many industries and consumer habits that it’s simply impossible to ignore.
Bezos is even one of the powers that drove companies into storing information in cloud services. He owns the Washington Post and invested billions in the race to space via Blue Origin – his aerospace company.
In spite of early losses, Bezos found investors who were willing to bet big on Amazon. Today, the company is valuated as about $464 billion. The share price has skyrocketed by – wait for it – 48,513% [i] since the initial public offering. Yes, 20 years is a long time, but come on – 40,513%!
Jeff Bezos has expressed many times his interest in long-term planning rather than the year to year (or quarter to quarter) plans that many companies make. With growing competition and new challenges, will Amazon continue to succeed in the years to come? We’ll have to wait and see.
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