Jeff Bezos’ Shareholder Letter

Reuters

This article is a part of my Best Reads of the Month section on my website www.mikegorlon.com. Each month I pick one or two articles or blog posts that I find on the internet which I thought were really insightful, interesting or moving. Then I share them with you. You can view the previous month’s articles by going to: https://www.mikegorlon.com/best-reads-of-the-month

June 2021: Jeff Bezos’ Shareholder Letter

Jeff Bezos just wrote what looks to be his last shareholder letter since he is transitioning out of the CEO role.

All of Jeff Bezos’ letters are worth reading since he is one of the best innovators and capital allocators of our time but I thought this letter was one of his better ones.

Here are some of the topics Jeff discuses in his last letter to shareholders:

- He shares a touching letter from a shareholder who only could afford two shares of Amazon back in 1997 but has held on since.

- He discusses all the value that Amazon has created for all its stakeholders over the last two decades.

- He commits to two big new goals for Amazon.

- He briefly addresses some of the news reports about the treatment of their employees.

- He discusses climate change

- And he finishes with a metaphor on how Amazon must never be average.

It’s well worth your time.

Have a read by following this link to the full letter:

https://s2.q4cdn.com/299287126/files/doc_financials/2021/ar/Amazon-2020-Shareholder-Letter-and-1997-Shareholder-Letter.pdf

Below is a summary that I created of the letter:

This is Jeff Bezos’ last annual shareholder letter as CEO of Amazon. He will be leaving this role but he will still be the company’s executive chairman.

Jeff says that in order to be successful in business you have to create more than you consume.

Your goal [as a business] should be to create value for everyone you interact with.

Amazon created lots of success for all of its stakeholders in 2020.

Here is the breakdown of all the value in dollars that Amazon created for its different stakeholders:

Shareholders: $21B
Employees: $91B

3rd Party Sellers: $25B
Consumers: $126B

Total Value: $301B

And here is how Jeff Bezos calculated this value:

If each of those categories had a bottom line those numbers above would be their bottom line or net income but the value isn’t exclusively dollars and cents.

Jeff acknowledges that Amazon needs a better vision of success for how Amazon creates value for their employees. The news reports paint a picture of Amazon as a company that doesn’t care about their employees and treats them as robots but Jeff rebukes that claim saying it isn’t true.

Therefore Jeff is not only committing to make Amazon “earth’s most customer-centric company” but also “earth’s best employer and earth’s safest place to work”.

Some of the ways that Jeff mentions they will begin to accomplish this is to reduce work injuries like musculoskeletal disorders (40% of work related injuries) through automated staffing schedules that rotates employees and by their Working Well program that coaches employees on body mechanics, safety and wellness.

They will also continue to pay high wages, benefits and offer good opportunities.

Climate change is real and Amazon will continue to pioneer ways to fight climate change.

According to Jeff Bezos, Amazon is making good progress on achieving 100% renewable energy by 2025, they are the largest buyer of renewable energy in the world, they have 62 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 125 solar rooftops on filament and sort-centers around the globe and these projects have the ability to generate 6.9 gigawatts and deliver more than 20 million megawatt-hours of energy a year.

They will continue to strive for near-zero carbon by 2040 as they recently ordered electric vehicles from Rivian and invested $1 billion in them to help achieve this.

Amazon setup a pledge fund in June 2020 to invest in companies that are visionary and aim to transition to a low-carbon economy.

The world works hard to make you typical but you have to work hard to be your distinct self because being atypical is hard but necessary to succeed beyond average.

Amazon must continue to work hard at not letting the world make them typical.

“To all of you: be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings. It remains day 1.”

- Jeff Bezos

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Accountant, part-time investor, reader, blogger. I use this platform to improve my thinking and writing. www.mikegorlon.com

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Mike Gorlon

Mike Gorlon

Accountant, part-time investor, reader, blogger. I use this platform to improve my thinking and writing. www.mikegorlon.com

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