Who Owns Amazon? The Trillion Dollar Jeff Bezos’ Empire

With  484,607,953 shares of common stock outstanding as of February 20, 2018, Amazon major individual investor is Jeff Bezos, with 16.3% of the company. That makes Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest person on earth. Other institutional investors, like The Vanguard Group and BlackRock, have the 5.8% and the 5.1% respectively. For the first time in its history, on September 4th, 2018 Amazon passed the trillion dollar market capitalization. 


Amazon customer obsession

As Jeff Bezos said in its first shareholders’ letter of 1997:

It’s All About the Long Term

We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term. This value will be a direct result of our ability to extend and solidify our current market leadership position. The stronger our market leadership, the more powerful our economic model. Market leadership can translate directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, greater capital velocity, and correspondingly stronger returns on invested capital.

The key metrics Amazon is using to measure its long-term growth are:

  • customer and revenue growth,
  • the degree to which our customers continue to purchase from Amazon on a repeat basis,
  • and the strength of our brand

What has driven Amazon along this massive growth is what Jeff Bezos calls “customer obsession.”

This customer obsession has transformed into a trillion dollar company, with Jeff Bezos seeing his wealth turning at over a hundred sixty billion dollars!

Amazon business milestones

In 2017, Amazon had reached a few critical milestones:

  • Prime – 13 years post-launch, it had exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally
  • AWS –  Amazon Web Services, a $20 billion revenue run rate business, which just a few years before didn’t even exist as a line of business
  • Marketplace – In 2017, for the first time in Amazon history, more than half of the units sold on Amazon worldwide were from third-party sellers, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)
  • Alexa – and Alexa-enabled devices among the best-selling items across all of Amazon
  • Amazon devices – 2017 was the best year for hardware sales. With tens of millions of Echo devices, and Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa were the best-selling products across all of Amazon – across all categories and all manufacturers
  • Prime Video award-winning Prime Originals, like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, winner of two Critics’ Choice Awards and two Golden Globes, and the Oscar-nominated movie The Big Sick. Those help Amazon sell more shoes
  • Amazon MusicAmazon Music continues to grow fast and now has tens of millions of paid customers
  • FashionAmazon has become the destination for tens of millions of customers to shop for fashion
  • Whole Foods – integrated more and more into Amazon overall strategy. Amazon also begun the technical work needed to recognize Prime members at the point of sale and look forward to offering more Prime benefits to Whole Foods shoppers once that work is completed
  • Amazon GoAmazon Go, a new kind of store with no checkout required, it opened to the public in January in Seattle

    Amazon compensations


    Amazon‘s compensations comprise:

    • salary
    • stock awards
    • other compensations


In 2017 Jeff Bezos earned almost $1.7, mostly made of other compensations. Jeff Bezos base salary was $81,840.

Amazon humble beginnings: a simple bookstore

As specified in the 1997 shareholders letter signed by Jeff Bezos:

From the beginning, our focus has been on offering our customers compelling value. We realized that the Web was, and still is, the World Wide Wait. Therefore, we set out to offer customers something they simply could not get any other way, and began serving them with books. We brought them much more selection than was possible in a physical store (our store would now occupy 6 football fields), and presented it in a useful, easy- to-search, and easy-to-browse format in a store open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Amazon didn’t seek to expand right away and become what we like to call today “the everything store.” Instead, it started as a bookstore. It conquered that niche, then expanded to monopolize and disrupt other niches; Until it became so big to disrupt entire industries.

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Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which he brought to reach about a million business students, professionals, and entrepreneurs in 2019 alone | Gennaro is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate and become profitable | Gennaro is an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance | Subscribe to the FourWeekMBA Newsletter | Or Get in touch with Gennaro here

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