How Jeff Bezos will become a Trillionaire
A lot has been said about Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. An amazing leader, customer obsessed, and maybe even the world’s first trillionaire.
In the first episode of our recent podcast about Jeff Bezos, the team at Nicebrains spent almost six months listening to every interview Jeff Bezos gave and reading every article we could find. We are convinced that he could actually become the first person in modern history to do it.
But don’t take our words for it. Comparisun, a software review website agrees with us. Their analysis showed that even though Bezos lost an estimated $38 billion from his recent divorce, he is still on track to become a Trillionaire.
Comparisun believes that he will do this by 2026 if his personal fortune keeps growing at the current rate of 34%.
Jeff Bezos and The Road To $1 Trillion
That seems like a huge number. It’s something no one else in modern history has been able to pull off. If history has taught us anything, it’s that Jeff just might be ruthless enough to get there first.
When Jeff Bezos testified during an antitrust hearing on Capitol Hill in July 2020, one of the representatives questioning him revealed an interesting battle Amazon once had.
“Mr Bezos our investigation uncovered documents that showed that Amazon sometimes doesn’t play fairly; crossing the line from robust competition to predatory pricing to destroy rivals rather than out compete them…”
Ms Scanlon, a representative from Pennsylvania questioned Amazon’s CEO in relation to an incident in 2009 where she described a situation when Amazon executives hatched a plot to take down Amazon’s largest and fastest-growing online competitor for diapers, Diapers.com
Ms Scanlon explained that uncovered documents revealed how Amazon executives came up with a strategy to weaken Diapers.com by severely undercutting them on price.
“We saw one of your profit and loss statements and it appears that in one month alone, Amazon was willing to bleed over $200 million dollars in diaper profit losses. Mr Bezos, how much was Amazon ultimately willing to lose on this campaign to undermine diapers.com?”
If you’d like to read more about it, Bloomberg did a great story about it.
Diapers.com was started by Marc Lore after identifying an opportunity to sell products to new parents online. After looking at Amazon’s inflated prices, he decided to start selling diapers online with his buddy, Vin.
He would drive to Costco, buy a bunch of diapers for a dollar per box, and sell them online at a loss for 90 cents.
He figured he’d get the traffic from parents looking for diapers and even though he was losing money on the diapers, he’d make money on all the other baby products they sold.
In the beginning, he would jump in the car, go to Costco and get the diapers himself, he did this for a while, then, expanded slowly until the company was turning over $1 million a month. He explained the story on Gary Vee’s Podcast. Here’s the video:
After a while Jeff Bezos and his Amazon executives noticed this, and according to reports, they came up with the strategy to undercut diapers.com on price. They stuck with the strategy, which reportedly cost over $200 million.
Within a few months they were struggling, and you guessed it! Amazon bought them out.
In our podcast, we likened Bezos to a rapper from the 90’s. He’s relentless. He’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants, and if his plans to colonize space are anything to go by, he needs to money to achieve that goal. You can expect that trillion dollar status to come true sooner than expected.
From Humble Beginnings
Jeff Bezos wasn’t always rich. He grew up in Texas and Miami, where he made home-made versions of toys he could not afford.
He got straight A’s in high school, was the valedictorian of his class and even got early admission into Princeton. For a while he believed he would become a theoretical physicist.
But while working in finance in New York City he came across the fact that web usage was growing at 2,300 percent per year, he got the idea of building an online bookstore, one that could never exist in the physical world.
At 30 years old, after being married a year, Jeff tells his ex-wife, Mackenzie, “I need to quit my job and go do this crazy thing that probably wouldn’t work”
Just like Marc Lore of diapers.com, Jeff identified a huge opportunity with very little competition, and even though his boss was unapproving of his idea, he went for it. He packed up and drove across the country to Seattle so that he could be closer to a book distribution hub.
After setting up Amazon, they quickly grew and within a few months, sold books to all 50 states in the United States of America.
Amazon employees were expected to work at least 60 hours per week. One employee worked so tirelessly over eight months biking back and forth from work very early and very late — that he completely forgot about the blue station wagon that he’d parked near his apartment.
Some say it’s this intensity that made him who he is today. That’s just Jeff’s Way.
Jeff Bezos Gets What He Wants
One Wednesday afternoon, Jeff Bezos sits at a table in an impressive duplex hotel suite in Kensington, England.
His guest, Simon Murdoch arrives.
Simon is an entrepreneur, and at this moment, all he knows is, he’s meeting Jeff; the CEO of the fastest-growing e-commerce company in America. What he’s about to find out is, he’s actually in a meeting with Jeff: The Smiling Assassin.
That’s a nickname Simon himself gave Jeff by the way. See, Simon was the founder of a company in the UK called Bookpages, and at their meeting, Jeff Bezos explained that Amazon would be expanding into the UK.
“Wouldn’t it be better for the two firms to work together? Might both make so much more money if Amazon bought Bookpages?”
Simon, who is now head of a London-based venture capital firm recalls in an interview with the Telegraph that he immediately recognised the veiled threat.
In his own words, one of the key points he took away from the meeting “consider this carefully or prepare to be squashed”
Simon quickly learned Jeff gets what Jeff wants. He is incredibly smart and driven, and that’s how he grew Amazon from a garage start-up to one of the biggest corporations in the world today.
When Amazon first started, Bezos would drive packages to the post office himself. They were still mostly only selling books, but they expanded by adding music and videos. He wanted to know what else their customers wanted, so he randomly selected a thousand customers and sent them an email asking them what else they wanted to buy from Amazon. And the list came back incredibly long.
One customer said, “I wish you sold windshield wipers”. “A light kind of went on in my head” Bezos says to Charlie Rose in an interview
“You know, people will want to use this new fangled e-commerce way of shopping for everything”
People are very convenience-motivated,” says Bezos. “So that really started the kind of the expansion into all categories, consumer electronics, and then apparel, and so on”
Throughout the Amazon journey, Bezos never got intimidated by a lack of expertise.
“I am never disappointed when we’re not good at something because I think, well think how good it’s going to work when we are good at it,” he tells Rose.
As they kept expanding and experimenting, one thing never changed – Their obsession with the customer. Most CEO’s are obsessed with competitors.
They’re always looking at what new innovations they have and what they’re not doing. But Jeff’s way is to look the other way.
Focus relentlessly on what the customer wants.
In episode two of our podcast series, we explained how Bezos took his entire team two hours away from their headquarters in Seattle into the mountains to brainstorm different ways of measuring Customer enjoyment. Yes, you read that right.
Every mouse click, every twist and turn through the Amazon website meant something. Jeff wasn’t only brutal when it came to taking out their competition, he was even more brutal when it came to figuring out a customer’s decision.
Becoming The World’s First Trillionaire
The Amazon story continues. By just having a look at Amazon’s share price in 2020, it’s hard to imagine a world where he does not hit a trillion dollar net worth within the next few years. He is the most driven CEO running arguably one of the most innovative companies when compared to the other big tech titans – Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft.
Jeff Bezos plans to colonize Mars, and these are huge ambitions. If history has taught us anything, It’s that Jeff gets what he wants. If you’d like to find out more about this story, listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Stream all the episodes right here.