Jeff Bezos Was Time Magazine's Person Of The Year In 1999: If You Invested $1000 In Amazon Then, Here's How Much You'd Have

Billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is the third-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $178 billion. He is also the founder of Inc. AMZN, the fifth-largest company in the world by market capitalization and one of the largest e-commerce players in the world.

At the time of writing this story, Bezos' net worth stood at $178 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is the third-richest person in the world, only behind Tesla Inc. co-founder Elon Musk, and Louis Vuitton CEO Bernard Arnault.

A year before the dot-com bubble burst in the U.S., Bezos was named the "Person of the Year" by Time Magazine, becoming the fourth-youngest person to be named as such at the time. He was praised for helping lay the "foundation of our future."

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From A Garage To Our Homes

Bezos took a gamble with Amazon . He founded it in July 1994, in the garage of his rented home in Washington with a nearly $250,000 investment from his parents.

In 1995, Bezos laid the foundation of Amazon's future when the website went live as an online bookseller. Two years later, he would take the company public.

From merely books, Amazon would expand to music, videos, video games, consumer electronics and more over the next few years.

Despite losing money early on, Bezos had set the tone for the future of online commerce, taking on Pierre Omidyar's eBay and going on to acquire online sellers in other markets like the U.K. and Germany.

The year he was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year, Amazon posted a proforma net loss of $390 million. The company's stock still climbed 33.4%, rising from $2.96 a share at the beginning of 1999 to $3.95 at the end.

Now, here's how the Amazon stock has fared since Bezos was named "Person of the Year" by Time Magazine 24 years ago. stock price from Dec. 27, 1999, till date

Amazon's stock, adjusted for stock splits and other corporate actions, was $4.056 on Dec. 27, 1999.

Its stock price today is $153.42, which is an increase of 3,683% during this period.

Value of a $1,000 investment in Amazon stock, and the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indices, respectively, from Dec. 27, 1999, till today

If you had invested $1,000 in Amazon stock on Dec. 27, 1999, today, you would have $37,823.11.

On the other hand, a similar investment in the Nasdaq index would be worth $3,771.456, and the S&P 500 worth $3,263.077.

The Risky AWS Gamble

While retail was always the core focus of Bezos and Amazon, their riskiest bet until then was yet to come. The company launched Amazon Web Services (AWS) which provides on-demand cloud computing services and infrastructure to anyone, anywhere in the world.

While investors were worried at the time about Amazon launching what looked like an unrelated business while the core retail business was making thin profits, Bezos' stuck to his beliefs and pulled it off.

Note that this was not entirely an easy task. The launch of AWS brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy, forcing it to lay off 14% of the workforce.

However, it rebounded next year and announced a profit of $400 million.

Today, AWS is the largest cloud services provider worldwide, with a 32% market share, according to data from IT research firm Synergy Research Group.

Analysts at Wedbush see "a path to $100B+ of AWS revenue in 2024, $100B+ of FCF in 2026, and $100 billion of advertising revenue in 2028" for Amazon.

The company also announced that it will invest up to $4 billion in OpenAI rival Anthropic as it seeks to get a foot in the competitive AI industry.

It remains to be seen if Amazon's AI investment will be enough or if the company will have to amp it up in the near future.

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