Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Corporation
Two of the biggest shareholders in Amazon are Jeff Bezos and Roger Dickinson. These two are also two of the biggest contributors to the budget for the company. The other six largest shareholders are George Soros, Warren Buffett, John Templeton, Stanley Druckemiller, and Peter Thiel. Now do you see the interesting story here? It appears that Amazon may be using their investors in a way to fund their research into new products.
Now then lets go back to the original question, what is it that Amazon is doing to become one of the most successful companies in the world today? Amazon is spending their money on research, and it appears they are doing quite well, according to their latest filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Amazon has a mission to “promote the development of technologies designed to improve the customer experience.” So they are looking at all of the factors that make life comfortable and fun. Is it possible that the “life force” that Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos possesses is part of that equation?
In an article by Scott Thiel called “The Right Balance Between Dream and Reality,” he points out that sometimes it is better to focus on the “idea” than on the “real” facts. In this case, it appears that Jeff Bezo’s passion for the Amazon dream is based on a false premise: that having an online retail store will help build a diversified portfolio of assets, which will allow Jeff Bezos to leverage Amazon’s” tentacles” to compete successfully on foreign markets. As with any company, Amazon has a diverse portfolio of interests and capabilities. However, the company does not control all of its future opportunities. And as a practical matter, Jeff Bezos cannot simply throw his money into any venture, regardless of its size, thinking that doing so will improve Amazon’s stock price.
As we have seen, in this vision of the future, Jeff Bezo’s dream of a diversified portfolio of assets has led him astray. His primary business interest, media, appears only to be a part of that portfolio. And his largest and potentially most lucrative business interest, Amazon, are largely an online retailer. It is unclear what his long-term strategic goals are for Amazon. We can note, however, that no one except Jeff Bezos is looking at his vision.
The biggest obstacle to Jeff Bezo’s vision for Amazon could very well be government regulation. State and local regulatory agencies around the world have been attempting for years to impose tough regulations on businesses like Amazon. While many large retailers and manufacturers have already faced government regulations, Amazon has sought and received, far more than it required in order to open an online retail store. If it was not for the relentless pressure from regulators, it is very unlikely that Amazon would ever open its doors, and it probably would not have as large a market share as it does today.
What does all this mean to us? For business owners, it means that the current vision for Amazon is likely to change dramatically in the future. We should all be very happy if this is the case, because it means that Jeff Bezos has taken a fundamentally sound approach to business. In contrast, many entrepreneurs lose sight of their original goals and eventually give up. Instead of focusing on building their company to be so large that no one else can compete, many turn to social media, and even “gated communities” like Facebook and MySpace for information. A better approach for business owners would be to spend more time thinking about “visions” and focusing on making those visions happen, instead of wasting our time with the minutiae of day-to-day operations.