A rocket built by Blue Origin, an aerospace company backed by Jeff Bezos, recently reached space and executed a controlled landing back on Earth, which allows it to be used again. Bezos himself joined Twitter1 this morning to announce the news. Elon Musk, whose SpaceX company has been trying (and failing) to do something similar lately, congratulated Bezos and his team on Twitter2 but also threw a little shade on BO’s efforts to reach “space” vs. SpaceX’s efforts to reach “orbit”.
It is, however, important to clear up the difference between “space” and “orbit”, as described well by https://what-if.xkcd.com/58/. Getting to space needs ~Mach 3, but GTO orbit requires ~Mach 30. The energy needed is the square, i.e. 9 units for space and 900 for orbit.
Welcome to Twitter, Jeff.
The Motley Fool collected 20 snippets of business wisdom uttered by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos over the years.
All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworth’s.
Totes agree with this, which is why I use words like “totes”. (Obvs.)
Amazon is somewhat of an unusual company for American investors because it focuses on the long-term (10- 20-year timelines) instead of the short-term (quarterly earnings).
“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people,” Mr. Bezos told reporter Steve Levy last month in an interview in Wired. “But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue. At Amazon we like things to work in five to seven years. We’re willing to plant seeds, let them grow-and we’re very stubborn.”
Like Apple, Amazon is one of those large market cap growth stocks that investors don’t really know what to do with. Both stocks are still undervalued compared to much of the rest of the market, IMO.
I don’t really have an opinion about it, but David Heinemeier Hansson does:
Groupon has filed its S-1 and hopes to raise $750M in its initial public offering. Given they’re currently losing a staggering $117M per quarter, despite revenues of $644M, they’ll be burning through that cash almost as soon as it hits their account.
At the moment, it’s costing them $1.43 to make $1, and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any cheaper. They’re already projected to make close to three billion dollars in revenues this year. If you can’t figure out how to make money on three billion in revenue, when exactly will the profit magic be found? Ten billion? Fifty billion?
To which John Gruber adds:
I feel like the Groupon IPO is an elaborate practical joke.
It was a different time and (as DHH notes) a different company, but when Amazon IPOed in 1997, they lost $27.6 million that year on net sales of $147.8 million. That’s an 18% loss for Amazon compared to Groupon’s, hey, 18% loss. Amazon didn’t report their first profit until Q4 2001. No guarantee whether Groupon will ever turn a profit but something to consider anyway. Oh, and probably not relevant but interesting nonetheless: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is an investor in DHH’s company, 37signals…and until recently, 37signals co-founder Jason Fried was on Groupon’s board of directors.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos delivered the commencement speech at Princeton this year. His remarks focus on the difference between the gifts you’re given and the choices you make.
What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.
Amazon indeed announces a Kindle with a larger screen: the Kindle DX. Available for pre-order now for $490, release date is sometime this summer.
Update: During the press event announcing the new device, Jeff Bezos said that for books that have Kindle editions, the Kindle version accounts for 35% of the sales. 35%!! Also, Merlin Mann would like you to know that if you buy a Kindle through the above link (this link right here, if you’re confused), I get a little money from Amazon. Although I’m not even sure how Merlin can tell what’s going on way down here from so far up on his horse.
I want a proper e-book reader as much as anyone, but Amazon’s Kindle sounds underwhelming (and unfortunately looks, as a friend put it, like “the Pontiac Aztec of e-readers”). Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says:
This isn’t a device, it’s a service.
That’s CEO-speak for “yay, we can charge you for buying this gadget again and again”. That emphasis makes it seem like the Kindle is less of a “read any text you want on the go” device and more of an interface for purchasing Amazon’s e-books, e-magazines, and blogs (yes, they’re charging for blogs somehow…). E-ink is a genuine innovation but until someone without some skin in the media game takes a good crack at it, e-book readers are destined to be buying machines and not reading machines.
Update: Here’s a list of all the blogs that Amazon is selling for reading on the Kindle. Subscriptions are $0.99-$1.99. No kottke.org (thanks, Amazon!!). Are the bloggers getting their cut of the subscription fees? Can I put kottke.org on there for free…or at least at cost? I suspect bloggers are getting a cut, with the rest taken by Amazon for profit and the conversion of the blogs’ text into whatever goofy format the Kindle uses. Would have been a lot cooler to put an RSS reader on there and just let people read whatever blogs they wanted.
Update: Joel Johnson has some more information about the Kindle after playing with one for a bit. The
device service (sorry!) has an experimental web browser, on which you can browse whichever blogs and sites you wish (on Amazon’s dime).
Update: Engadget says, among other things, that “blogs that are aggregated by the Kindle get a revenue share with Amazon, since it costs money to get those publications.” (thx, daniel)
Jeff Bezos invests in 37signals, making them bigger and a little less Real. But seriously, I had always wondered how 37s was going to grow and this is a bit of an answer to that question. Congrats, guys. (thx, steve)
Update: Tom has some thoughts on Bezos’ next investments, most likely 31functions.com, 25description.com, and 19options.com.
Interview with Jeff Bezos on Amazon’s current activities. “We have always tried to be very clear with people that we are an appropriate company only for long-term-oriented investors.”