Today’s issue is the second of what will be a 23-part series covering each of Jeff Bezos’ annual shareholder letters from 1997 to 2019. In each issue, I plan to pull out the most important information that may have contributed to Amazon becoming one of the largest companies in the world today.
Focus in 1998: Customer and Hiring.
In our previous issue, we dove into Jeff Bezos’ inaugural 1997 shareholder letter. Similar to the format of his first letter, Bezos breaks out the 1998 letter into a recap of the year, a core message, and goals for the following year.
Entering its second year as a public company, the world’s largest bookstore received attention from analysts who were predicting a business that could have 10% operating margins. Amazon also had an op-ed piece by the Washington Post that scrutinized Bezos’ vision of creating a "personalized" shopping experience for each individual, referring to the small-town merchant experiences of 100 years ago.
Instead of such news, Bezos’ core message of the 1998 letter revolves around two themes: customers and hiring.