In 2021, Jeff Bezos took a nostalgic trip down memory lane by sharing a newspaper clipping from 1999 that featured an article doubting the viability of his company.
The headline boldly claimed that the idea behind Amazon.com Inc. was silly and destined for failure. Bezos, the astute business tycoon, posted on Twitter, “Listen and be open, but don’t let anybody tell you who you are. This was just one of the many stories telling us all the ways we were going to fail.”
Today, Amazon stands tall as one of the most successful companies worldwide, having revolutionized two entirely different industries.
Despite Amazon’s thriving success and Bezos’s confident reassurances to disregard the naysayers, he remains grounded in realism. Bezos has always maintained a pragmatic perspective and refuses to view Amazon as an invincible giant. In 2018, during an all-hands meeting in Seattle, an employee inquired about Amazon’s future, drawing parallels to the recent bankruptcies of major retailers like Sears.
“I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt,” Bezos said, as recorded in the meeting and heard by CNBC.
He explained that the lifespans of large companies typically span 30-plus years, not 100-plus years. Bezos emphasized that the key to prolonging Amazon’s longevity was to “obsess over customers” and avoid becoming inward-focused.
“If we start to focus on ourselves instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end,” he said. “We have to try and delay that day for as long as possible.”
For years, Amazon has stood as an unstoppable force, commanding the e-commerce landscape and instilling a sense of trepidation in other companies.
But Amazon encountered a notable slowdown in sales in 2022 after the pandemic. Its earnings faltered compared to previous periods, indicating a challenging year for the company. As a response, Amazon initiated a comprehensive restructuring effort, including plans to reduce its workforce by 27,000 employees.
In a written communication to employees, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, elucidated the rationale behind these changes.
“Given the uncertain economic climate we find ourselves in and the ongoing uncertainty in the near future, we have made the decision to streamline our costs and headcount,” Jassy said, hinting at the possibility of additional layoffs, with a particular focus on areas such as Amazon Web Services, advertising, Twitch, human resources and the company’s stores divisions.
No company is immune to challenges, including Amazon. But what sets Amazon apart is its willingness to embrace change and adapt to evolving circumstances. The steadfast commitment to continuous innovation and customer obsession has not only empowered Amazon but also fueled its ability to revolutionize industries and consistently exceed expectations.
Amazon was doubted in its early days, but the company ultimately thrived in the long run due to constantly innovating and improving. While investing in Amazon stock still gives investors a lot ot offer, much of the massive gains associated with investing in it’s early days are gone. But thanks to changes in federal law, anyone can invest in pre-IPO companies through platforms like StartEngine. For example, Gameflip is a startup raising millions from retail investors for using AI to build an innovative gaming collectibles marketplace.