How Jeff Bezos earned $1 billion in one day

Amazon's Jeff Bezos on the Kindle

If you’d invested money in Amazon’s stock, you’d be a little bit richer today. Amazon’s stock price shot up nearly 8% on Thursday, reaching a new all-time high. (In just 24 hours, Jeff Bezos’ net worth increased by more than $1 billion dollars….) “The shares have risen more than 20% in the last six weeks,” notes an article at Marketwatch. Investors on Wall Street apparently loved Amazon’s latest quarterly report, which show that in just the first 90 days of the year, Amazon sold $2.73 billion more than they did in the same period a year ago!

For the first three months of 2011, Amazon’s net sales had increased a whopping 38%, to $9.86 billion. If you looked at the last 12 months, Amazon’s operating cashflow also increased $250 million from the previous year. But they’ve also spent $420 million more — presumably, to grow their customer base — so Amazon’s total “net income” was 33% lower then the previous year. Still, a majority of brokers remain positive about Amazon, according to Marketwatch, with one reminding clients about Amazon’s commitment to “long-term investments at the expense of short-term margins.”

“Amazon has doubled its business in the past two years,” advised another broker at Deutsche Bank, “and may be on pace to potentially double it again in less than two years.” And citing Amazon’s earnings call, the Associated Press reported Amazon “is seeing ‘tremendous’ growth in demand, and that’s why it’s had to invest money in more warehouses and upgrading the technology that runs its Internet store.”

“We love inventing on behalf of customers,” announced Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, “and have never been more excited about the long-term opportunities.” Then Bezos listed out everything Amazon has accomplished so far this year, “just to call out a few of the things we’ve been working on.” And it sounds really impressive when you lay them all out.

“In the last 90 days, we announced Kindle with Special Offers, Kindle Library Lending, Audible audiobooks on Kindle, Appstore for Android, Amazon for Windows Phone 7, Checkout by Amazon in both Germany and the U.K., a Kindle Store in Germany…”


There was also some interesting trivia about the Kindle buried deeper in the announcement — like the fact that there’s over 900,000 books in the Kindle store, and that 740,000 of them (82%) cost less than $9.99, “including 65 New York Times bestsellers.” Amazon’s press release also noted that there’s millions of free e-books available for the Kindle, and that last month saw the first single e-book to sell one million copies. (Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) Of course, not all the trivia was about the Kindle. In a letter to shareholders on Wednesday, Bezos also revealed that when Amazon builds a “product detail” page for a customer visiting Amazon.com, “our software calls on between 200 and 300 services to present a highly personalized experience for that customer.”

But here’s my favorite piece of trivia from Amazon’s latest round of earnings information. They revealed that they’re spending $1.6 million dollars a year just on security for CEO Jeff Bezos. Meanwhile, Bezos’s yearly salary is just $81,840 — though he also owns 20% of the company.

Which is why his personal net worth increased by more than $1 billion dollars when Amazon’s stock price shot up nearly 8% on Thursday.

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