When Amazon first launched in 1995 as a website that only sold books, founder Jeff Bezos had a vision for the company’s explosive growth and e-commerce domination. Jeff Bezos originally wanted to give the company the name “Cadabra.” However with the help of Amazon’s first lawyer, Todd Tarbert, Bezos arrived at “Amazon” named after the largest river in the world.
Amazon got started out of Bezos’ garage and began its services as an online book store. In the first month of its launch, it had already sold books to people in all 50 states and in 45 different countries and within two months, its sales were up to $20,000 per week. Its initial business plan seemed unusual and did not expect to make a profit for four to five years. The slow growth caused stockholders to complain that the company was not reaching profitability fast enough to justify their investment or even survive in the long-term. However, Amazon survived the dot-com bubble burst which happened in early 21st century, destroying many e-companies in the process. The company moved forward beyond the tech crash to become a huge player in online sales. In 1999, the company’s success was recognized in Time’s Magazine, popularizing online shopping and earning Bezos, Person of the year.
The company’s profit finally turned around in the fourth quarter of 2001, making $5 million, on revenues of more than $1 billion. This proved to skeptics that Bezos’ unconventional business mode could succeed. In 2011, Amazon had grown to a capacity accommodating 30,000 full-time employees in the USA, and by the end of 2016, it had 180,000 employees. The company employs 306,800 people worldwide in full and part-time jobs. It progressed to building convenience stores and developing curbside pickup locations for food by 2016, as well as opening Amazon GO store for employees, of which it planned to extend to the general public in early 2017. The company also acquired a high-end supermarket chain, Whole Foods which has over 400 stores, for $13.4 billion. All these, among many other achievements and acquisitions leading to its ranking as number 8 on Fortune 500 companies, and world’s third most valuable company in 2018, with an estimated net worth of $105 billion, making Bezos the richest man on the planet.