Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has spent nearly half of his life inventing and revolutionizing e-commerce, and now he is the fifth wealthiest man alive.
His philosophy, which helped him build the online retailer into a colossus with a current market cap of about $380 billion, can be gleaned from his letters to shareholders since Amazon went public in 1998.
This side of Berkshire Hathaway CEO and chairman Warren Buffett, no American business leader stuffs his annual letters to shareholders more full of business wisdom than Jeff Bezos, who is now 53 years old. From Amazon's first annual report as a public company in 1998 to the letter he wrote in advance of the company's May 17 annual meeting this year, he's set a consistent tone: Build culture, take risk and focus on the long term.
Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist and early Facebook employee, said at the Sohn Investment conference that Amazon is on its way to becoming a $3 trillion company in a decade.
If true, it would be in large measure due to the business philosophy of Bezos. The "Amazon Way," as it has become known, has attracted some controversy, but it can be relevant to businesses of all sizes.
In honor of his birthday today, here are five lessons to take away from his success.