In 1997, when Amazon very first went community, Jeff Bezos wrote what may be the most significant letter to shareholders from any organization. In it, he laid out a vision for the organization he founded in his garage that appeared, at the time, quite different than what experienced arrive ahead of.

What Bezos wrote then was so essential to Amazon as a corporation that it has been hooked up to each subsequent shareholder letter due to the fact. It explained Bezos’ motivation to concentrate on the extended expression, even if it meant losing cash in the small expression. 

Amazon certainly isn’t shedding income any more. In truth, as Bezos techniques the stop of his time as CEO of Amazon, the firm introduced what can only be described as its greatest quarter ever.

From a pure numbers standpoint, this wasn’t Amazon’s most important quarter. That would be the just one that finished in December when the firm posted $125.5 billion in income. That makes perception. Not only does that timeframe include the holiday searching season, but Amazon also held its Primary Working day sale in the course of Oct final 12 months. That two-day celebration by itself accounted for $10.4 billion in income.

Very last quarter, nevertheless, experienced no these improve, but the on the web retailer nonetheless produced $108 billion, and a lot more than $8 billion in revenue–the latter of which was the optimum ever for the business. 

As I listened to Amazon discuss about its benefits, I was reminded of three phrases from that letter that, looking back, seem to be almost prophetic in phrases of what we’ve observed more than the past couple months. The three words?

“Obsess Above Prospects”

You can attract a straight line from the words and phrases Bezos wrote 24 years ago, to the company’s amazing success in excess of the past yr. As the pandemic took maintain, there was literally no business better positioned to meet up with the amazing desires of its clients than Amazon.

At the time, Bezos spelled out it like this:

From the starting, our concentration has been on offering our customers compelling worth. We recognized that the Internet was, and even now is, the World Vast Wait around. Hence, we set out to present shoppers some thing they simply just could not get any other way, and commenced serving them with publications. We brought them a lot more selection than was achievable in a physical retailer (our retail outlet would now occupy 6 football fields), and introduced it in a handy, effortless-to-lookup, and quick-to-browse format in a retailer open up 365 days a year, 24 hours a working day. We
maintained a dogged concentration on improving upon the browsing working experience, and in 1997 significantly increased our store.

Even although these words and phrases were created 24 yrs in the past, they are precisely why Amazon just experienced its very best quarter at any time. Amazon was obsessed with assembly the requires of its prospects, and has been relentless in its commitment to serving them better.

When people weren’t sure if it was risk-free to leave residence to get the easy goods they wanted each working day, Amazon experienced currently built one particular of the most successful units at any time imagined for turning a several clicks on a internet site into a brown box on your front porch. Which is why hundreds of thousands of Americans went on the net to discover every thing from rest room paper, to personal treatment products, to groceries.

Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s main monetary officer described it in the context of turning “clicks into productive gross sales. If a shopper finds what they’re on the lookout for, at a cost they are willing to spend, without owning to wait around more than a working day or so for it to be shipped, they make a invest in. That’s a effective sale. 

The basis for that failed to get started this quarter. It did not transpire previous year when the entire world arrived to a end. It transpired with an strategy laid out in a letter that arrived to define the firm’s selections for extra than two a long time. If you obsess in excess of your buyers initial, you can expect to be in a placement to generate their business enterprise. 

“We are still in the early stages of mastering how to bring new value to our consumers as a result of Internet commerce and merchandising,” Bezos wrote. “Our intention continues to be to continue to solidify and increase our brand name and customer base. This calls for sustained investment decision in programs and infrastructure to assistance remarkable consumer ease, assortment, and assistance even though we expand.”

In quick, it necessitates a firm to obsess about its clients. He could have written those people words and phrases about this last quarter. Rather, the reality that the enterprise has lived them out for 24 several years is why it just experienced its most effective quarter ever. 

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