How Jeff Bezos Built His Amazon Empire by Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist

On Friday afternoon, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos briefly passed Warren Buffett to become the world’s third-richest person. Amazon shares have been up 54% since February, propping up his net worth to an impressive $65 billion.

How Jeff Bezos Built his Amazon Empire

Today’s infographic is from Funders and Founders, and it visualizes the career of Jeff Bezos in creating his “Everything Store”.

How Jeff Bezos Built His Amazon Empire Infographic

While Bezos was ahead of Buffett by about $300 million on Friday afternoon, Amazon’s share price later dipped at the close to erase the lead.

This likely isn’t the last time that a rising Bezos will be biting at the heels of Bill Gates ($88.7B), Amancio Ortega ($73.5B), and Warren Buffett ($65.1B).

How Did Bezos Do It?

“We are willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.” – Jeff Bezos

Perhaps the most enthralling element of the Jeff Bezos story is his resolute commitment to executing a long-term vision, all while the rest of the world could not comprehend it.

The company ran 20 years without showing signs of significant profit, and it was regularly criticized in the media. Pundits saw Amazon as a growing online book store that couldn’t make money. They didn’t get the bigger picture.

And while the world debated Amazon’s aggressive expansion and polarizing nature, Bezos and his team stayed focused on execution. Even if people didn’t see the vision for the “everything store”, it didn’t mean that Amazon couldn’t build it.

They were willing to be misunderstood for a long time in order to follow the vision – one that was written down by Bezos in a famous napkin sketch:

aaaaaImage courtesy of: Amazon

Note that in this sketch, which is now over 15 years old, that there is no “take profits” offshoot. It’s a closed loop that uses free cash flow to reinvest back into the established business plan of providing low cost leadership.

And now that Amazon has executed on this plan successfully, it is finally time for profits. That’s why the company had a record quarter earlier this year, and why analysts expect Q2 to be just as impressive.

Watch out Warren, because Bezos isn’t done yet.